Local projects benefit from more than £400,000 of Tyne & Esk funding

Monday April 15th 2024


The Local Action Group (LAG), including Midlothian Council’s representative Councillor Douglas Bowen second on left. LAG members are the decision makers for the Tyne & Esk Community Led Local Development (CLLD) fund.

Written by Midlothian View Reporter, Luke Jackson

Midlothian Volunteer Centre, Rural Youth Volunteering is among Midlothian and East Lothian projects to benefit from more than £400k in funding from the Tyne & Esk Community Led Local Development Programme over the past two years.

Tyne & Esk Rural Communities Development Fund is part of the Community Led Local Development (CLLD) funding stream from the Scottish Government. The funding covers all communities in East Lothian and Midlothian including Dalkeith Country Park, with the exception of the urban centres of Musselburgh and Dalkeith.

The funding aims to support local rural communities and business networks to build knowledge and skills. It aims to encourage innovation and co-operation to deliver local development objectives identified in the Tyne Esk Funding Strategy and Community Led Vision documents.

Midlothian Volunteer Centre, Rural Youth Volunteering, was awarded £9,459 to help with the costs of its Transform project, which provides a range of volunteering opportunities for young people aged 15-24 who need some additional support to volunteer. Their young volunteers can have a range of support needs and have often had difficulties in school.

Karen Downie, Operations & Development Manager, met the Local Action Group funding decision makers at a special event recently in the Stair Arms, Pathhead. She said: “It is thanks to Tyne and Esk CLLD funding that Volunteer Midlothian’s Transform Project has been able to support 19 young people to volunteer over the last seven months. As a direct result, young people are moving forward in their lives with a more positive outlook: 90% feel more confident; 95% have improved communication skills, and 95% have developed skills & experience that enhance their future employment prospects.

“Young volunteers took part in Transform’s supported and supervised volunteering sessions either within Volunteer Midlothian’s Community Garden, or within one of two sheltered housing complexes where they delivered weekly quizzes, games and social activities for older people. The activities in sheltered housing have not only brought old and young together but also encouraged those living within the complexes to make better use of their communal lounge and enjoy their neighbours’ company outside of sessions too; helping reduce the feelings of loneliness and social isolation many older people experience. Bringing the generations together has enhanced mutual respect and community cohesion. With 24 older people joining in with the fun of the sessions, many described the sessions as the highlight of their week!”

Andrew McDonald, Chair of Tyne & Esk CLLD, said: “The ‘Meet the Local Action Group’ event was a wonderful way to let Local Action Group members and representatives of funded projects celebrate some of the many ways that community led funding has successfully and effectively made meaningful impacts to local, community led initiatives. Although the programme timescales and funds so far have been limited, the local community impact has been considerable and we hope that the workshop discussions from this event will go some way to help pave the way for even greater future grant funding.”

The CLLD Programme is awaiting confirmation from the Scottish Government regarding finance for 2024-2025.

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