Successful Projects

RHET Scottish Borders

Year Completed: 
2016
I am writing this report after two hugely successful days at Longformacus Estate. With the help of the grant Blackhill Windfarm Community Fund so kindly gave RHET Scottish Borders we were able to educate over 180 children during the two day event!
 
Mr Charles approached RHET to help arrange an event with Duns Primary School which soon turned into us suggesting with our help he could have a much larger event.  Therefore on Monday 6th June we had out onto the Estate the whole of S2 from Berwickshire High School in Duns around 125 children. On Tuesday 7th June both primary 6 classes from Duns Primary School came out for a farm tour.
Mr Charles and his three staff with our help and support came up with five sessions for the S2’s to undertake during the day. The year was split into 5 groups and they sent around 45minutes on each session. 
 
Sessions were as follows:
General Introduction – Estate Management
The owner of the Estate gave a brief back ground on the Estate and some information on Estate management.
 
Session 1 High Ground Management & use. 
In this session they discussed the management of the heather ground covering area such as heather burning and the importance of this land for the birds and other wildlife it supports. The gamekeeper went go into detail of his main roles and what his job entails. Discussions were be had about the working dogs used, breeds and uses.
 
Session 2 Low Ground Management & use
This session looked at the differences between high and low ground management. The gamekeepers went into details about the rearing of the birds and vermin control, including different traps and reasons for controlling different types of vermin. Woodland management was also discussed. Discussions were had about the working dogs used, breeds and uses.
 
Session 3 Farming on the Estate
They looked at the livestock on the farm, fields being rented out for sheep. The life cycle of the sheep and the care required. A clipping demonstration and foot trimming demonstration were under taken .The main machinery used in the farming enterprise was looked at.
 
Session 4 Estate Maintenance
The maintenance on a large estate was looked at covering a wide range of topics. Forestry, gardening, care of old buildings using the traditional skills and the use of up to date technology. A huge focus was on careers.
 
Session 5 River Life – Tweed Foundation
Tweed Foundation discussed the life of the river, using electro-fishing to show the species present and the care the river requires. Children got up close to the fish and learned about their life cycles.
The feedback from both staff and pupils was fantastic and very keen to undertake a similar event on an annual basis. The weather was very sunny on the day which helped hugely but there was concerns that if the weather had changed there was no indoor areas to carry on the sessions in. The village hall was used for lunches a short walk away but this would be too small for teaching.
 
On the second day we had two P6 classes out to the estate each for around two hours. During their time on the estate they were split into two groups and one half spent time with the Tweed Foundation and undertook a very similar session as the High School did but at a lower level. The other half of their time was spent having a farm walk where they saw the tools used to maintain the buildings and gardens on the Estate, they had a session on the sheep, care, usage etc. Then they discussed gamekeeping as a career covering all aspects and seeing the working dogs, traps and young birds. Again these visits were enjoyed hugely by staff and pupils and we hope to be able to arrange similar in the future.
 
RHET Scottish Borders is hugely appreciative for the grant funding supplied to us and without that support this event would have not be able to take place with the huge amount of man hours it takes to arrange visits like this, between communicating with the schools, volunteers, carrying out risk assessments, having pre visit to meet the teachers and show them around and evaluating the project at the end.
 
Blackhill Windfarm Community Fund was recognised as much as possible with your logo being on all the flyers and handouts. We have emailed a report to the Berwickshire News and hope this may be printed to further acknowledge all the support we have had.
 
Mr Charles is keen to have this event again in future which is this best news RHET Scottish Borders could ask for.
I

 

Berwickshire Family History Society

Year Completed: 
2015
AITCHISON - A Berwickshire Family
 
Through one of our local members we made contact with Pam Ray who had published in Australia a very well researched book in 2 volumes on the AITCHISON family. The problem was that the cost of postage from Australia to the UK was almost £50 which was restrictive.
After email contact was established we obtained consent to publish the books locally and market it through our own organisation. On my last visit to Australia in early 2015 we met the author and she presented me with a copy of the Australian version plus a USB stick containing the content of the books. On my return to the UK I obtained quotes for publication and set about seeking funds for the printing.
Since the area central to the books was the area around Grantshouse and Abbey St.Bathans it seemed that Blackhill Wind Farm Community Fund was the logical choice and  a successful application was lodged.
As soon as the grant was awarded the printing was instructed and the books are now available and are selling steadily. We visited the Grantshouse Local History Fair a few weeks ago and there was considerable interest from members of local families who had Aitchison connections.
The proceeds of our sales will be used to fund the publication of further local history books by the Society, indeed we have recently published “To Follow the Dogs and Carry the Stick” an interesting book by Bob Jaffray of his experience as a shepherd in the Lammermuirs, we have also recently produced a CD of Memorial  Inscriptions for Bunkle and Preston and that for Edrom is nearing completion.
The Society is indebted to the Fund for the  support received.
 
Bill Stewart
Membership Secretary
Borders Family History Society

 

Berwickshire Agricultural Association

Year Completed: 
2015

Berwickshire Agricultural Association were successful in obtaining a £2500 grant from Blackhill Windfarm Community Fund in autumn 2015, which enabled the replacement of a considerable proportion of the wooden sheep hurdles that are used for Berwickshire County Show and other events.  The stock of hurdles were 30 + years old and had been repaired in many cases.  As prevention of disease at sheep gatherings is of paramount importance and a regulatory responsibility, it was becoming increasingly difficult to justify repair of the wooden hurdles because they were difficult to clean to an acceptable standard.  Further, our stock of hurdles is loaned out to the local pony club and farmers for lambing so it made sense to try to raise funds to replace the stock with metal hurdles. 

 

The award from Blackhill Community Fund allowed us to replace the wooden hurdles with 254 5ft hurdles, and we were also able to purchase 4 metal stacking pallets with which to store and more easily transport the metal hurdles before and after the show period. 

 

Berwickshire County Show attracts a significant number of both local and farther travelled sheep to the breed sections held on the 1st Saturday of August.  Last year’s event saw nearly 300 individual sheep entries and over 50 different exhibitors from as far afield as East Lothian, Northumberland and Roxburghshire, and this number is increasing year on year.  Good quality, easily assembled sheep accommodation for the show is essential to make best use of time during set up and on the day, while ensuring that animal health standards are met.  We are very pleased and proud to have a stock of sheep gates that are useful for show purposes, but can be of use to other groups and farmers during the rest of the year.  Many thanks to Blackhill Windfarm Community Fund for making this happen. 

 

Natalie Cormack

 

Photo Gallery: 

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.