NOMINATIONS OPEN FOR 2018 ‘HELPING IT HAPPEN’ RURAL AWARDS

People across East Lothian are being urged to highlight the work done by local estates and land-based businesses to help their surrounding communities flourish, as nominations for the Helping It Happen Awards 2018 get underway.

Following a successful inaugural year in 2017, Scottish Land & Estates has declared the Helping It Happen Awards 2018 open for business. The national awards, which aim to recognise the role of estates, farms and rural businesses in enabling and supporting success in rural areas, will once again be sponsored by The MacRobert Trust, with entries being considered in the following nine categories:

  • Rural Business Award
  • Tourism Award
  • Rural Housing Award
  • Education Award
  • MacRobert Trust Award for Working with Communities
  • Conservation Award
  • The Iver Salvesen Green Business Award
  • Innovation in Farming Award
  • Enhancing Our Environment Award

    To nominate, people are being asked to share how their local estate, farm or rural business has made a positive contribution to their area.  Entries can be submitted via the Helping It Happen website – www.helpingithappen.co.uk – before the closing date of 13 July 2018.

    To celebrate the launch of the 2018 awards, David Johnstone, Chairman of Scottish Land & Estates, visited Luss Estates at Loch Lomond.  Together with Drimnin Estate, Luss Estates were joint-winners of the Rural Business category at the 2017 Helping It Happen Awards.

    David Johnstone said:

    “We want to highlight and celebrate the significant positive contribution land-based businesses make in rural areas throughout Scotland – in particular, the ways in which they add value to the local economy and the environment for the wider benefit of the community.  We were incredibly pleased with the success of the augural awards in 2017 and are building on this in 2018 through the creation of additional categories to celebrate innovation in farming and environmental enhancement.

    “We urge people up and down the country to submit their entries for this year’s awards – the quality of entries last year was exceptional, and we are looking forward to receiving this year’s crop of stories. I am sure the judges will have a tough task in narrowing down the shortlist once entries close in July this year.”

    Simon Miller, Luss Estates Chief Executive Officer said:

    “Our main task is to preserve and enhance the area for future generations. Crucial steps in order to achieve this are to provide economic and employment opportunities and create new family housing. This is at the forefront of what we do, by investing in and developing our own enterprises, and encouraging others to invest in the local area and live here.”

    Entries for the Helping it Happen Awards 2018 will be reviewed by an independent judging panel with three finalists selected in each category.  The winners will be announced at the Awards ceremony which will take place at The Balmoral Hotel, Edinburgh on 3 October 2018.

Spotlight on…Recharge Bike Project

Local charity, Recharge, has recently launched a bicycle project to promote cycling in the Fa’side area.

The bicycle project has been running for several years and was originally set up to upskill young people on bike maintenance. The project was in high demand and has now seen it set up as a social enterprise thanks to funding from the Fa’side Area Partnership. In addition, Scottish Caravan Storage has provided storage space for bicycles over the last few years and Ormiston Station Growers have also provided an additional space for the project beside the main cycle path in the area.

Recharge bicycle project provides safety checks, bike maintenance, services and repairs. The project also takes donations of bicycles and sells them at affordable prices. However, Recharge can gift bicycles to community members who wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to purchase them. As a social enterprise, all profits will go into supporting Recharge activities.  Other initiatives include the establishment of a register of local bikes to combat theft and partnership with local schools and groups to help educate and build up skills on safe cycling locally.

Recharge Bicycle Project is open on a Monday and Friday from 1.30pm until 4.30pm both days. It runs in the charity’s Church Street premises by bicycle project worker Kyle Munro (shown below right) and Recharge Manager Alan Bell.

img_6995Simon Davie said

“Fa’side Area Partnership were delighted to support Recharge to create a bike project for the Fa’side area. Two of our key priorities are to improve travel options for our residents and increase opportunities for physical activity in our area.”

“To achieve this there are a range of projects within our area plan which we hope to implement. These are all being supported by Recharge and their bike project. One current example is a project to improve the quality of our core paths for use by cyclists. Alan, Kyle and young people from Recharge will take part in our audit of core paths, with a view to rating them from a cyclist point of view. We will then seek to improve core paths following the audit.”

Mr Davie added

“The service provided by Recharge is excellent (speaking first hand as a customer!), especially as a novice cyclist! I got excellent advice and the after sales service was fantastic.

There are a number of other Area Plan projects which are cycling related, which Alan and the project are working on for the Area Partnership and we look forward to continuing our positive relationship with Recharge Bike Project.”

Recharge Project Manager Alan Bell said

“It is fantastic to get the Bicycle project up and running it has been an aspiration for a long time and has been a project which was driven by the needs of the young people and community. It was fantastic to get the support and funding from the area partnership to make this project finally happen.”

Recharge bike project worker Kyle Munro was equally enthusiastic: “I am really excited to be working on this project and I hope we are able to provide new cycling opportunities to the local community as well as helping improve the local cycling infrastructure”

Councillor Tim Day East Lothian Council Cabinet Spokesperson for Community Wellbeing added his support for the project:

“As a keen cyclist I am delighted that Recharge are launching their new bike project. Cycling is a great way to get around, and it’s also a really good way of keeping fit and healthy, so having a project that promotes cycling is an incredibly important initiative. It’s also a good way of recycling old bikes, and giving them a new lease of life. They also offer a repair service and safety checks to keep young people on the road”

March Organisation of the Month: Roots and Fruits

Roots and Fruits is a Tranent based social enterprise which aims to engage with local people and promote the benefits of healthy eating through access to education and affordable fresh produce.

You can find them roots and fruitsat a number of community venues throughout the week as detailed in this table.

Additionally, the group offer to a delivery service of their £5 and £10 fruit and veg boxes.  Orders can be placed via their Facebook page, through their website or by telephone 01875 811003