Bursary Groups across East Lothian Benefitting from Grants

by Chris Fairbairn

Thursday, January 18th, 2018

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TWENTY groups improving the lives of people in East Lothian were awarded a share of a £20,000 bursary in July 2017.

Funded and organised by CALA Homes (East) and run in partnership with the East Lothian Courier, we have once again taken the opportunity to catch up with a further four inspiring beneficiaries – to learn of their progress since receiving a grant.

Bronx Boxing Gym in Tranent is a club and gym, which is run inclusively to get kids off the streets and benefiting both in terms of their health and fitness as well as socially.

The club was faced with the problem of worn-out equipment, limiting the number of courses it could offer the community – and received a £2,000 grant from the bursary.

John McCallum, Head Coach, said: “The Bronx has a proud tradition of producing some of the country’s best boxers.

“The bursary has been absolutely fantastic in enabling us to keep providing a great standard of training and facilities for everyone here at the gym.

“We’re delighted at the support we’re being shown by CALA which will enable us to keep the equipment in the gym up to date and give the kids who train here the best shot at fulfilling their fantastic potential.”

Also receiving £2,000, The Hungry Hatch by The Ridge Café is a volunteer-run initiative in Dunbar that works together with local social workers and the food bank, to offer a completely free dinner to those in the community who need it the most. Funding has been allocated towards months’ worth of food supplies.

Sue Mitchell, who organises The Hungry Hatch, said: “The funding that we’ve received has been absolutely instrumental in keeping our café alive – it has kept us going for eight months.

“The Hungry Hatch regularly caters for 30 to 40 people – though we cooked for 52 on Christmas day!

“We mostly use food from local businesses that would otherwise be going to waste, and so our spending is minimal. But donations such as CALA Homes’ are nonetheless vital in allowing us to continue to serve our community.

“The Hungry Hatch doesn’t just provide food and nourishment to the most vulnerable in our area – it’s also a place where friends are made and spirits are built. We’ve been running for a year and a half now and the difference that we see our efforts make to people’s everyday lives feeds our drive to keep going.”

£1000 was awarded to Dirleton School Partnership, with supports the village primary school and acts as a combination of PTA and school governing body.

Bob Waddell, Chair at Dirleton School Partnership, said: “The Dirleton School Partnership are delighted to be selected for a CALA Bursary.

“This will help us to improve the playground, with the creation of an outdoor classroom and the completion of an excellent playpod. The pod will contain random everyday objects, providing the facilities for the children to use their imaginations.”

Finally, a welcome £250 donation was made to Prestonpans Brownies to provide a new pack flag and pole, for the group to proudly display during meet-ups, parades and events.

Joanne Burns, Brownie Leader, said: We are part of Girl Guiding unit which has been around for 40 years.

“We have 35 Brownies between the ages of 7 and 10 who all enjoy interacting with other girls, learning new skills and being part of a team.

“The girls love taking part in community activities, such as Gala days, Remembrance Sunday, Christmas celebrations as well as doing good deeds to earn their badges.

“With CALA’s bursary, we will be able to buy a new flag and pole which hasn’t been replaced since Prestonpans Brownies started.”

Philip Hogg, Sales and Marketing Director with CALA Homes (East), said: “Reflecting back on this initiative has been a great experience.

“We simply did not expect the response we eventually received – and once again these four causes highlight the diverse and incredible work taking place in East Lothian.

“What has been evident throughout however, is that this is a special part of the world built around its ever-evolving communities.”

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Chris Fairbairn of Scottish public relations agency, Holyrood PR in Edinburgh

Chris Fairbairn

Chris Fairbairn is an Account Director with award-winning public relations agency Holyrood Partnership. He is part of an expert PR team delivering PR services to a wide range of clients from headquarters in Edinburgh, Scotland.

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