Helping It Happen Awards 2018

People across Scotland 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 here before the closing date of 13 July 2018.

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.

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.

New university scholarship to address LGBT issues in tourism & events sector

Queen Margaret University (QMU) in Musselburgh, East Lothian, has launched a new scholarship geared towards lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) studies in the tourism and events industry.

With its specialisms in tourism and events, Queen Margaret University (QMU) has teamed-up with US-based TravelAdvocates to offer the scholarship to up to two students a year over the next three years.

The TravelAdvocates LGBT Studies Travel and Research Scholarship will help selected QMU students carry out their own independent research into the current LGBT issues affecting the tourism and events sector.

QMU’s Professor Joe Goldblatt, said: “We’re extremely grateful for the generous support that TravelAdvocates is providing our students. This is the first time in the 140 year history of QMU that a research scholarship in this important area of study has been established.

“This generous and pioneering support is initially committed for up to three years and will provide much needed financial support and other resources for current and future generations of QMU students.”

TravelAdvocates is a global hotel site selection company founded in 2005 by Robert Miller in Hoboken, New Jersey. The company’s team has more than 75 years of combined experience providing personalised hotel site selection and booking thousands of hotel room nights for groups each year. They are a trusted advocate for their clients, who come from the corporate, government, association, tour and travel, athletic and social markets.

Robert Miller, CMP, Esq, President of TravelAdvocates, said: “As an openly gay member of the global tourism industry, I think it is important to explore and identify the specific needs and interests of the LGBT segment as it relates to travel and events. It is a unique market that continues to grow, and TravelAdvocates is proud to support research in this important field.”

Any undergraduate or postgraduate student at QMU can apply for the scholarship. A call for applications will be announced in September 2016 and the award will be made in November 2016. A committee chaired by the Queen Margaret Students’ Union President with members from the teaching staff and other students will select the recipient(s).

Commenting on the new scholarship, Heidi Vistisen, President of the Queen Margaret Students’ Union, said “I’m incredibly pleased and excited to see such a fantastic scholarship made available to QMU students, especially when we still in 2016 see discrimination against LGBT people to a very high extent.

“I’m honored to be chairing the selection committee and I know that students at QMU will use this opportunity to influence the community and society they live and study in.”

For more information on the Travel Advocates LGBT Studies Travel and Research Scholarship, contact the Queen Margaret Students’ Union President, E: studentpresident@qmu.ac.uk; T: 0131 474 0000.

Funding boost for ploughing championships in East Lothian

The first European Reversible Ploughing Championships to be held on Scottish soil is among 21 events across the country which are receiving backing from the latest round of awards from the EventScotland National Funding Programme, as part of VisitScotland’s work to deliver the national events strategy Scotland the Perfect Stage.

The European Reversible Ploughing Championships (19-20 October) and Scottish Ploughing Championships (22-23 October) both due to take place in East Lothian have been awarded £7,000 in total funding.

Ploughers from 13 countries will compete in the 33rd European Reversible Ploughing Championships at Saltcoats, Gullane – the first time the championships have been held in Scotland. Around 1000 visitors are expected to attend the spectacle involving countries including France, Germany, Russia, Switzerland and Scotland.

The 54th Scottish Ploughing Championships will take place at West Fenton, North Berwick, in front of an expected 2000-strong crowd. Alongside the competition ploughing there will be machinery stands, demonstrations by modern farm machinery as well as vintage machinery and a display of vintage tractors and stationary engines on site.

The ploughing championships and the other 20 forthcoming events across 13 of Scotland’s local authority areas have received a combined total of £232,700 from Round 32 of the National Funding Programme.

The National Funding Programme – which is administered by EventScotland, a team within VisitScotland’s Events Directorate – was established to enable the strategic development of events taking place outwith Edinburgh and Glasgow, with the aim of driving domestic tourism and increasing economic impact for local communities throughout Scotland.

Thanks to the funding, and in keeping with the objectives of the National Funding Programme, organisers will now be in a position to further develop by extending and enhancing its programme in order to increase attendance figures and improve the overall spectator experience.

John Tait, Chairman of the Scottish Ploughing Championships, said:

“The support from the EventScotland National Funding Programme has enabled us to promote the event to a wider audience than would otherwise have been possible.

“We are looking forward to welcoming ploughers and visitors from all over the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, Europe and Russia to East Lothian to showcase the best in modern, vintage, classic and horse ploughing.

“The European event on the 19 & 20 October will be a great contest to select the Champion European Reversible plougher, followed by the 54th Scottish Ploughing Championships on 22 & 23 October with over 200 ploughers competing to be Scottish champions.”

Manuela Calchini, VisitScotland Regional Director, said:

“I’m delighted that the Scottish Ploughing Championships have been selected as funding recipients in the latest round of EventScotland’s National Funding Programme. I’m sure that the financial boost combined with the fantastic programme the organisers have planned will ensure they are a superb success.

“These funding awards for regional events provide invaluable support by helping them create an even more attractive proposition to attract increased attendance – not only from their local areas but also from much further afield. That promotes the venues as excellent visitor destinations and contributes greatly to the region’s economy – which is hugely important.”

Visit East Lothian…by Public Transport!

I love East Lothian but there are parts of the county I haven’t visited because I don’t have a car and public transport can be patchy.

Recently, I was in Waverley station and noticed a Visit East Lothian banner prominently displayed at Platform 4 and I found myself pondering how many visitors to Edinburgh take the train east.

Visit East Lothian has recently produced a TV advert showcasing the county’s attractions – but how easy are they to get to on bus or train?

First to appear in the STV advert is Foxlake Adventures which looks brilliant fun but I haven’t been as I’ve always presumed it would be difficult for me to get to.  The Foxlake website has detailed instructions for reaching the award-winning activity centre by road but no mention of public transport.  So, imagining I’m a car-less visitor to Edinburgh, how do I get there?

The quickest way is to get a train to Dunbar (20 mins), walk to the bus stop, get an Eve’s Coaches 120 bus (10mins) ask the driver to let you off opposite Tynefield and walk the remaining 6 minutes.  Alternatively, you can get the Perryman’s 253 service all the way from Edinburgh and as before, getting off at Tynefield and walking.  VERDICT: Let the train take the strain.

Next up is the John Gray Centre, Haddington, home to a library, museum and the Council archives.  The website has a helpful How to find us page which lists ‘by car’ first, then public transport and finally, cycling.

For the quickest journey, take the Perryman’s 253 (39 minutes).  Alternatively you could take the Lothian Country Bus 104 (51 minutes).  FirstBus currently run both the X8 and X6 services but are scheduled to cease all East Lothian operations in August.  VERDICT: Take the bus

The National Museum of Flight is a great place to visit and their website clearly details the many ways to reach East Fortune (bus, train, bicycle, car – in that order!).

A journey combining train and bus usually takes just over an hour but if you travel on a Saturday when trains are more frequent, you might be lucky with the timings and get there in as little as 44 minutes.  Take a train to Drem and get an Eve’s 121.   If you prefer two wheels, take a look at Cycling Scot’s blog on how to reach the museum by bike.  VERDICT: Easy Train/Bus (or Bike) combo

A trip to the Scottish Seabird Centre is very easy on public transport and their website encourages you to get there by walking, cycling, train, bus, car – in that order (well done Seabird Centre).

Take the train to North Berwick.  Buses are available (until FirstBus withdraws) but the train is quicker and more pleasant.  VERDICT: Take the train!

The video also features Dirleton Castle which is owned by Historic Environment Scotland.  The website gives details of grid reference and has links to travel planners but nothing specifically to encourage people to use public transport.  The withdrawal of the Firstbus X24 will make it problematic reaching Dirleton (and other coastal towns not served by a train).  Until another bus operator takes over the route, your options are walk the 2 miles from North Berwick train station. VERDICT: Wait and see

The last attraction to star in the video is Dunbar Leisure Pool – a family favourite and free swims for children during the summer holidays.  The website has a small map but there are no directions how to reach the pool.  Fortunately, Traveline Scotland suggests taking train to Dunbar and walking the short journey from the station to the pool.  VERDICT: Take the train!

The video ends with the words “East Lothian Attractions – Explore, Play, Stay, Amazing – No Ordinary Day

The ‘Getting Here’ section of the Visit East Lothian website lists the ways of reaching the county as: Road, Rail, Bus, Air & Sea.  Let’s hope that information providers explore the possibility that visitors might want to use sustainable methods of travel to ‘Edinburgh’s playground’ – now that would be amazing.

Further Information:

I’ve only looked at whether a journey was feasible (not taking into account practicalities such as travelling with a buggy) and I haven’t made price comparisons.  You should bear in mind that FirstBus will cease all East Lothian operations in August.

Eve’s Coaches

Lothian Country Buses

Perryman’s

Scotrail – Scotrail have a KidsGoFree ticket which also offers free entry to some attractions 

TravelineScotland

Cycling Scot