Successful Projects

Re Tweed

Year Completed: 


Securing three grants totalling £64,250 will enable Eyemouth-based social enterprise Re-Tweed to expand its work. ReTweed runs 11-week training programmes for women to help them back into the workplace, teaching them sewing skills and using upcycling material that might otherwise have been destined for landfill.


A series of recycling and upcycling workshops can now be developed to encourage local people to reject our throwaway culture and return to a make-do-and-mend philosophy, thanks to grants from the Robertson Trust, Blackhill Community Windfarm Fund and the Unltd Foundation.


The new workshops include creative upholstery, rag-rugging, patchwork and wool crafts using donations of textiles from Berwickshire and through Borders textiles companies, including Hawick Knitwear and House of Cheviot.

“Without the generosity of local people, community groups and local businesses we wouldn’t have achieved the success we have – women reconnecting with their communities, making progress in their lives and careers and going on into other creative learning and volunteering,” said ReTweed founder Hazel Smith.


“We are especially chuffed to get support from the Robertson Trust since it was three Berwickshire women who founded the trust to support social justice and common good.”


The latest ReTweed graduates, presented with their certificates at Foundation Scotland’s Edinburgh headquarters by Sue Robertson, chair of the Women’s Fund for Scotland, brings the number of women to complete the courses to 29.


Sue said: “It was an inspiration to give the ReTweed women their graduation certificates. I’m impressed with what the project has achieved in such a short time.”



Year Completed: 
Report on Estate Day
A hugely successful days at Hirsel Estate, Coldstream was held in November 2017 by RHET Scottish Borders Countryside Initiative working alongside Field to Fork (based at the Hirsel Estate).
RHET Scottish Borders Countryside Initiative’s main aim is to help educate children from ages 3-17 on Food, Farming and the Countryside and to create a wider understanding of the environmental, economic and social realities of rural Scotland. Field to Fork has very similar aims so working together was an obvious fit.
The whole of S3 from Berwickshire High School in Duns was transported to  Hirsel Estate paid for by RHET Scottish Borders for the whole day where the year groups were split into six groups.
RHET Scottish Borders and the Field to Fork team set up the following six sessions
Game keeping presented by Craig Birkett the gamekeeper on Hirsel estate. During this session they looked at the role of a gamekeeper in the rearing, care and sport of game birds. Also looking at vermin control. The children were privileged to a gun dog display.
An arable farming session was presented by Alistair Hodge a local farmer who often volunteers for RHET Scottish Borders. His presentation was based on general discussions of what is involved in growing arable crops including care of the soil and the huge usage of technology involved these days including GPS.
The pupils saw a seed drill up close and they
seemed to have a huge range of questions.
The Douglas fold of pedigree Highland Cattle on the Estate were shown to the pupils by Alan Telford who has been in charge of the cattle for a huge number of years and has a vast knowledge of the heard and livestock as a whole. He discussed the importance of maintaining a native breed such as the Highland cattle and discussing the care of the cattle.
Cheviot Trees very kindly came along to the day and presented a woodland management session, discussing the importance of woodland
management along with the children taking part in tree identification  and discussing careers involved in forestry.
River/lake management was delivered by The Tweed Foundation. Who discussing river life and fishing in the Scottish Borders, allowing the children to get up close to the river life.
Bread making was undertaken by the  Field to Fork team. Each child got their bread roll to take home. The story of wheat to bread was discussed to follow on from the farming session, discussing wheat grown on the estate.
The feedback from both staff and pupils was fantastic and very keen to undertake a similar event next year. The weather was kind to us on the day which helped hugely. A huge thank you was expressed by RHET Scottish Borders to Field to Fork at the Hirsel Estate and to all the other session providers. This day wouldn’t have been possible without the funding we received from the Blackhill Windfarm Trust.


Photo Gallery: 

Coming Up For Air

Year Completed: 
Our local parenting project has, through the generosity of local funders, now trained 12 licensed facilitators and run local courses as below.  We have a range of men and women who run the courses both through their work (such as Teen Challenge Whitchester) and taken it into their school settings – Haddington and Coldstream) and in the local community settings below, benefiting local parents. Some the facilitators are moving on from the area, but will take the training and courses into their localities. We have recruited one volunteer who will be undertaking the training in May 2017.
Since the training we have the following courses:
Handling Anger in the family – GAVINTON VILLAGE HALL                            Sept-Oct 2016
Taster sessions and Parents open nights – DUNS PRIMARY SCHOOL         Sept 2016
Time out for Parents – the Early years – ALLSORTS NURSERY DUNS          Oct – Nov 2016 
Time out for Parents – the Primary years DUNS PARISH CHURCH HALL    Oct – Nov 2016
Time out for Parents – the Teenage years – PRESTON VILLAGE HALL      Oct – Nov 2016
Pudding for Parents – review and social space - DUNS PARISH CHURCH HALL    Dec 2016
Facilitators get-togethers - to share learning and best practice – THE BLACK BULL Dec & Feb 2017
As funding comes from a variety of areas, you will see this reflected in the range of venues used.
We have had over 22 folks attend the sessions ranging from 4-7 weeks long. 22 attendees accounts for around 80 family members benefiting in our area.  Feedback has been excellent both in terms of content of sessions and quality of facilitation. Attendees who have attended one course are keen to attend further ones.
Our learning as a team has been:
Recruitment is the biggest issue – folk are reluctant to come along without a personal invitation – there appears to be a strong stigma associated with needing help for the challenges of parenting, despite the recognition that it is needed.  We need to do more to increase our visibility and become known in the area. We are looking at creative ways to recruit and build networks outside the schools to help address this, but recognise it will be on ongoing challenge. Small numbers in groups work best although we recognise this is not as cost effective. We are also approaching readymade groups such as toddler groups and antenatal classes as well as directly working with the schools, nurseries and health visitors to offer workshops. People’s busy and flexible working lives make it very difficult for people to commit to 6/7 weeks.
Range of offerings – Can we better convey who we are and what we offer. We decided to take a more flexible and creative approach and use some funds to rebrand in the New year see attached – “Parent Space- parents4parents”   We have clearer and more up to date look, logo, FB page and website under construction.  From May 2017 onwards Parent Space will now offer:
2hr workshops – tackling the most pertinent issues – such as “Parenting in the digital age”, “Top up your tank” – building emotional resilience. No need to sign up to 4-7 weekly sessions but may act as taster for signing up later date.
Social get togethers – throughout the year where folk can get together socially to relax – explore resources on offer, build networks and relationships
Age/Stage related series – 4-8 weeks as previously
Costs – there is a wide variety of costs associated with hiring halls - some are significantly cheaper than others, more suitable e.g with reliable wifi connection, and availability. Our costs per 2 hour workshop averages at £140 and this multiplies depending on the number of sessions ie 4 sessions £560 etc.
We hope you agree that the increased capacity that has been generated by your funding has enormous benefits in our local community. We have demand to run sessions out with the catchment of the community – although many families attend feeder schools to the catchment area.  We are hoping funders will look favourably on the funding contributing to the wider community.
Options for Future Funding:
Fund (any) number of workshops or social spaces or age/stage related sessions
per year         £140 (one off session)            £1,120 (8 week series)
Fund new training for special needs facilitators (up to 6)     £350 pp
3.Project Development
Administration & Bookkeeping 10 hours month x £10/hr x 12months   £1200 pa
Co-ordinator role – supervision facilitators, networking, speaking at groups development of material. 16 hrs month x 12 months x £20/hr      £3840 pa
Printing  flyers/advertising        £ 500   pa
Pull up Banners one off cost        £ 300
Duns and District Parish Church kindly currently provide the governance for the project although there is no religious material or content in the sessions.
Di Murray
ParentSpace Coordinator



Year Completed: 
Face PR C.I.C. is a social enterprise based near Duns. It provides a range of communications services to enable community groups, charities, social enterprises and other non-profit groups to promote the work that they do, at affordable rates. 
We received a grant from Blackhill Windfarm Community Fund in 2017 towards the costs of establishing a website that community groups, charities, social enterprises and other voluntary sector organisations can use to promote what they are doing, advertise events and jobs, request volunteers and share information - all free of charge. 
Working with a local website developer, based in Duns, we began creating the site shortly after our grant was received. The website – – went “live” in August 2017.
Since then, it has been updated on a regular basis, offering news and features on the activities of third sector organisations across the Borders. The stories that we feature on the website are promoted through our social media channels, particularly the Link News Facebook page, which was created to coincide with the launch of the new website. It also allows organisations to highlight job opportunities free and to publicise their events.
The Blackhill grant allowed us to pay for a website developer to work with us to create the site, and also to provide free training for representatives of local organisations in Berwickshire in Wordpress (the content management system), allowing them to upload their own content to the site if required.
We are very grateful to Blackhill for the grant, without which we would have struggled to find the costs to develop the site. 
Our contribution has been to continue to update the site as part of Face PR’s community benefits.
Feedback on the website has been very good, from both the public and those organisations we seek to promote. 
We realise that online magazines are not for everyone, so in the coming months we will look at potential ways of providing information in a hard copy format if possible, given increasing print costs.  
There is still much to be done to promote the site as a free vehicle for charities, community groups and social enterprises to publicise the vital work that they do. Much of our staff time is spent updating the site, leaving little time to go out and market it to those organisations that could be using it.
The website includes advertising space, but we have done little to promote this and hope to do more in 2017. The idea behind this space is that advertisers can featured in a prominent area, for more time than a news post would usually appear on the site. We have managed to obtain some advertising income and again this is something we wish to try to increase in 2019. It would allow us to pay for ongoing maintenance and domain costs.
 We have used the prominent advertising space on occasion to promote Blackhill Windfarm Community Fund as a way of saying “thank you” for your grant and your support of the project.



Year Completed: 
The three month pilot of shared youth activities was great fun for our young folk and staff team. We started off with a trip to Dunbar Pool with a coach load of young people from across our service.... and across Berwickshire. This was also a memorable trip as the photo below is considered by our staff to be one of the best of 2017. We ran youth sessions in Duns, Coldstream and Eyemouth where we put on transport between the three youth centres and this enabled our young folk to come together, share activities and get to know each other and what goes on in each youth centre. It wasn’t long before a group of young folk were planning a sail training voyage with Ocean Youth Trust Scotland. Money from Blackhill Windfarm Community Fund contributed to the costs of this week of adventurous sail training in our beautiful Western Isles. Our crew of young people represented Berwickshire well and included young people from Coldstream, Duns and Eyemouth, as well as Auchencrow and Burnmouth. The sailing conditions and group dynamics meant that this was one of our more challenging to date, however, strong friendships were made during the week and when our young folk set sail again in the summer of 2018 with Cirdan Sailing Trust around the Channel Islands, we were able to include 2 young people as leaders/mentors to those that were on their first voyage.
After the funding period finished with our Blackhill grant, we made a successful bid to Scottish Borders Council Localities Bid Fund for the same type of funding that Blackhill provided. We used the Blackhill project as evidence of success and we were eventually awarded over £6,000 to carry on where we left off.  This enabled us to fully support travel costs for the whole summer programme including our Holiday Club children in Coldstream.  We were able to run our most ambitious programme to date including the above mentioned voyage to the Channel Islands, an Outward Bound adventure at Loch Lomond, trips to the 5 sisters Zoo and Blair Drummond Safari Par, Wet n Wild in Newcastle.
This winter we have already enjoyed shared activities between our centres and we have been able to make these less of a ‘one off’ and more a part of our core work.
All the young children and young people who took part in this project certainly made the most of the opportunities that this funding provided. Our staff team deserve much credit too, for making the activities so diverse and enjoyable.... and for seizing the initiative to continue to work ‘in the spirit of the grant.’
Steve Wright
Manager, Connect Berwickshire Youth Project


Photo Gallery: