Successful Projects

Interest Links

Year Completed: 
2015
Interest Link Report to Blackhill Windfarm Fund on the grant of £1,500 made in December 2015.
 
1. Aim
We aimed to benefit 10 people with learning disabilities in Duns and Gavinton, and achieved exactly that (all live in Duns) through the 1:1 links and the four befriending groups we run. Over the whole of Berwickshire, 48 children, young people and adults with learning disabilities benefited, along with over 70 carers.  This report covers all our activities in Berwickshire, not just the ones specifically funded by the grant.
 
2. Activities included:
People linked 1-1 have gone fruit picking, to the beach, swimming, walking, making stop animations, going to the cinema, visiting Dunbar, having lunch, drawing,  dancing at a Country & Western Club, lunch at Carfraemill, visiting the the Hirsel, visiting Edinburgh Dungeons and going on train journeys o the new Borders Railway.
The three youth groups (Children’s, Young people’s and ACE groups) did a great range of activities, including: bushcraft and wild play sessions; scrapbooking, Halloween and Christmas parties, going to the panto, group games, film nights, arts and crafts, Decoupage sessions, bingo, parachute games, sock tig, and pottery sessions.
The Children’s Group and Youth Group both had large drama/film projects, which can be seen on the Videos page of our website at www.interestlink.org.uk
2016 Berwickshire Art and Evaluation, with two spin-off films. This was a children’s art project, but with a strong evaluation angle with input from children, volunteers and parents.
2016 Interest Link Through The Ages and 2016 Interest Link News: these were entirely for fun, with heavy use being made of green screen to insert backdrops.
Both sets of films were premiered to group members’ family and friends.
The adult Coldstream Group had BBQs, played croquet, giant jenga, tried archery, went to the beach at Berwick-on-Tweed where they paddled in the sea, collected shells and flew kites. They enjoyed scrapbooking, a quiz, crocheting, decorating mugs, darts and table football. Something for everyone!
 
3. The difference made:
The main intended outcomes for the project included (as per Section 3.b. of our application):
It will foster the social networks of people with learning disabilities and increase their community engagement with local organisations, activities and initiatives.
It will overcome the barriers that can prevent them from enjoying a high quality of life, improving their confidence, self-esteem, life skills and physical & mental wellbeing. 
It will provide high quality respite for carers, improving their wellbeing and making family life more sustainable.
We work to create true and equal friendships and social networks, in the firm belief that these are essential for human happiness. The more specific outcomes we are looking for (happiness, confidence, self-esteem and lifeskills) flow as a natural result of these friendships, and the evidence below hopefully illustrates them in all their diversity.  Benefits for carers are also reliable: parents can really enjoy their respite because they know the person they care for is enjoying themselves with trusted friends.
An independent evaluation of the Coldstream Group is attached: this is structured round the outcomes we aimed at for people with learning disabilities, with sections on Happiness, Self-belief and confidence, Lifeskills and Friendship 4 recent case studies are also attached, and look at the benefits to people with learning disabilities and carers.
 
Quotes from recent evaluation workshops illustrate the wide range of impacts, including those on volunteers.
The parents quotes are probably the best perspective on benefit, for example:
“She feels (one of the volunteers) is the best thing ever, she has made friends here. It’s difficult for her to try new things, this has helped her confidence to try. I remind her how she didn’t want to come to this group to start with and how much she loves it now – so I use it as an example and she’s more likely to try something else.”
 
“I’d like to say how much I appreciate the brilliant work you guys do and the positive effect you have on S.  He really enjoys the group and looks forward to Tuesday nights. He comes home happy and relaxed which has a positive effect on the whole family. S has benefited in so many ways.  The group has given him a chance to experience activities with people his own age group – developing his confidence and social skills. A huge “Thank You” to everyone!”
 
The short evaluation films made by the Children’s Group can be seen at http://www.interestlink.org.uk/videos.htm  (Titles are “2016 Berwickshire Art and Evaluation” together with “Parent Interviews” and “Bonus Animation”).
 
An Impact Report, with quantative data on how many people across Berwickshire experienced each of the outcomes in our application will follow in the New Year.
 
4. Financial report,
The grant was fully spent on the areas intended (though none was spent on salaries).  The breakdown is as follows:
Item £
1:1 Volunteer Activity Costs 356
1:1 Volunteer Travel 718
Group Activity Costs 231
Group Travel 123
Venue Hire 72
Total 1,500
 
5. Changes to staff
In August 2016 , the role of Berwickshire Co-ordinator was split as it was too large for one person.  Judy Kay stayed on to manage the Adult Service, and was joined by Kate Borthwick, a longstanding volunteer who now manages the children and young people’s work
Andrew Findlay, 06 December 2016
 
 
 

 

Abbey St Bathans, Preston & Bonkyl Community Council

Year Completed: 
2015

Grant Recipient: Abbey St Bathans, Preston & Bonkyl Community Council
Grant Awarded: £1000

In 2014 Abbey St Bathans, Preston & Bonkyl Community Council began an extensive  community consultation exercise to help us develop a collective vision for future community led regeneration in our area. Following a series of community events, stakeholder interviews and focus group meetings a Community Action Plan was produced which outlined the key  projects & activities people in the community wanted to see happen over the next 2-3 years, including a playpark in Preston, a community broadband scheme and a new village hall in Abbey St Bathans. The grant from the Blackhill Community Windfarm Fund contributed towards the cost of printing and distributing a copy the plan to every household in the community council area.  A new community organisation, the Preston & Abbey Community Trust has been established to lead on the delivery of these projects and new volunteers, identified through the consultation process, have been recruited onto the board of the Trust. Work is already progressing on a broadband project and a new village hall for Abbey St Bathans.

A Heart For Duns

Year Completed: 
2015

Blackhill Wind Farm Community Grant

 

A Heart for Duns (AHFD) was awarded £4,750.00 in a letter dated 22 August 2014. The grant was for:

Professional Support                                       3,250.00

Subscriptions and Travel expenses                    500.00

Training and Development                               1,000.00

In late August 2014 AHFD achieved SCIO status (SC045056). In the period from September to December 2014 AHFD continued to offer a range of events in the Volunteer Hall, Duns while developing its ideas for the future, with a Feasibility Study and Business Plan funded by Big Lottery.

AHFD was also negotiating with Scottish Borders Council (SBC), the tenant and operator of the building, and the Lowland Reserve Forces and Cadets Association (LRFCA), the owners, to take on the lease of the Volunteer Hall, following SBC’s decision to focus on premises that it owns and to withdraw from leased venues. Agreement was reached in principle for AHFD to take on the lease with effect from 6 April 2015, with financial support from SBC and in kind support from LRFCA, both for an initial period of three years.

Although the lease has yet to be signed, its terms have been agreed and AHFD did take responsibility for the operation of the Hall on 6 April. In order to achieve this AHFD has appointed an Administration/Events Support Officer, funded in part by the Wind Farm grant, and a Housekeeper, funded from earned income.

In addition volunteers have received a range of training, primarily related to the operation of bars and catering facilities. In addition further training is planned in first aid and for scaffolding safety. The Convenor undertook a media relations course at Carlisle.

Volunteers have also participated in the work of the Borders Touring Network, including attending meetings, visiting theatre groups and performances.

This grant has been crucial to giving AHFD the confidence to take on the operation of the Hall and to safeguarding this popular facility for the people of Duns.

Derek Janes                                                                                     January 2016

Photo - 'The Scratch Choir performing Handel's Messiah in the Volunteer Hall to mark the Hall's 120th anniversary in February 2015'

 

Borders Talking Newspaper

Year Completed: 
2015

We are most grateful to the Trustees of Black Hill Wind Farm Community Fund for the £3408 grant for rent, rates and electricity for our premises in Duns Working Men's Institute.  This support has helped enable us to continue to provide our much-valued, reliable service .

Every week, a team of local volunteers produces a free digital audio recording of edited news items from the local papers, which is distributed to anyone who can’t see to read or can’t hold a newspaper.  Our service promotes the well-being of our listeners  (mostly elderly) by giving them access to news of local events and activities. Being well-informed of local issues helps reduce their social isolation and increase their quality of life.

With over 70 volunteers, we also offer opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds to become socially involved and make a contribution to their local community. Retired people share experience gained while working, those who are unemployed benefit from increased self-esteem, and all volunteers develop new skills.

In addition, our regular use and rental payments help to sustain a historic building in Duns.

With many thanks on behalf of our listeners and volunteers from

Wendy E Moss

Wendy Moss  (Ms)

Manager, Borders Talking Newspapers

 

 

Photo Gallery: 

Longformacus & Lammermuirs Heritage Centre

Year Completed: 
2015

The Longformacus and Lammermoor Heritage Centre officially opened on 12 September 2015. The project was running slightly behind as we struggled at times to synchronise the various tradesmen that were required in the refurbishment. However the final result is excellent and we are most grateful for the funding from the Blackhill Windfarm Community Fund towards the project - without it this unique project simply could not have happened.

In the lead up to the opening we held two community events aimed at two things - some fund raising to help us with ongoing running costs and to spread the message of what we were trying to achieve as wide as possible. The first event was a whist drive attended by 60 people and the second an evening of memories of the lammermuirs from two
" weel kent" faces in John Elliot and Andrew Pate who regaled an audience of around a 100 people with tales and memories of  some of the characters who had made their own unique impressions on Longformacus and beyond. The evening was thoroughly enjoyed by all who attended. At both meetings we asked people to dig around and see what archive material - documents and or photographs they might have that they would be prepared to share with us to exhibit in the Heritage Centre.
The response from people was amazing and the volume of and spread of material staggering.

For the official opening ceremony on 12 September we asked Andrew Pate as the doyen of the lammermuirs to give a short speech. The committee laid on teas in the Longformacus village hall and the generosity of people in making donations on the day was quite astonishing. The opening ceremony was attended by over 120 people including members of the Brown family formerly of Longformacus Estate who had travelled all the way from Melbourne in Australia. They very generously provided a photograph album with memories of Longformacus House from around the turn of the 19 the century.
Since then visitors have continued to visit on a regular basis and the venue has been used for a women's guild  service and the annual Christmas carol singing.
Further events are planned over the next few months to continue the momentum and indeed includes a wedding to be held in September.

Thank you once again

Ian Davidson