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May 7, 2014

The awards debate

A recent trend across the Third Sector has seen the emergence of a whole slew of awards ceremonies. It seems everyone wants to be a winner these days. There may also be some practical value to these gong shows – winning awards may help attract funding.  On the other hand, as Laurence Demarco of Senscot argues, there is a compelling case for steering clear of the red carpet, suggesting it goes against the grain and ethos of what our sector should be about. His point is well made but there’s no doubt last week’s community awards at Fintry were reFREShingly upbeat.


Seven categories, a vast number of nominees, several honourable mentions but there could only be only one winner(in each category). These awards formed part of FRESh 2014. Programme here


Presented by Anne McGuire MP; Sponsored by Falck


Ardentinny Community Trust – Glenfinart Walled Garden ; Callander Community Friendship Garden Ravenscraig Community Gardens; Greener Kirkcaldy; North Kelvinside Children’s Meadow-The Children’s Wood; Ochils Landscape Partnership; Woodland Trust – save our woods; Sleat Community Trust – Forest Enterprise; Transition Stirling’s Wood for All project; Assynt Foundation


Honourable Mention

Transition Stirling’s Wood for All project. This project is working hard to engage local communities in woodland skills, including woodland management and looking at long term potential of establishing local woodfuel supply. It connects people with the environment and where their energy/heating comes from, and fosters an appreciation and respect of woodlands that will have a ripple effect through communities.

Inspiration in Sustainable Land

 Greener Kirkcaldy, Edible Landscape Project.  Our new Edible Landscape project in Dunnikier Park is the first of its kind in the UK! It’s a partnership with the landowner Fife Council and has great support in the community. We’re turning a previously neglected part of a public park into a huge forest garden, using a permaculture approach to create a system rich in biodiversity and food. Russell has been working this winter and spring with volunteers, Scouts and pupils from the local school to plant trees and shrubs, and the next work-days will involve mulching large areas so that we can plant the herb layer next spring


Presented by Glen Bennett, EAE Ltd, Sponsored by Moorcar

Greener Kircaldy; Edinburgh Festival of Cycling; Greener Leith; Sustrans; Stirling Cycle Hub, run by Forth Environment Link.  ; Transition Black Isle – Our Million Miles project ; Trossachs Areas Community Transport Ltd.


Honourable Mention

Greener Leith. We’ve given away 50 recycled bikes, trained 11 local people in accredited bike maintenance and leadership, organised bike rides and walking groups, improved local bike parking facilities, distributed thousands of local travel maps and provided free bike maintenance services to more than 100 local people.


Inspiration in Sustainable Transport

Stirling Cycle Hub, run by Forth Environment Link.  The vision of the Stirling Cycle Hub is to work towards a healthier, greener future by encouraging and supporting more people to cycle.  It opened in May 2013 at Stirling Train Station and has had over 3000 visits.  The hub acts both as an information centre for everything related to cycling, but also as a source of encouragement and inspiration to those less confident. Specifically the hub provides information on route planning, offers free maps and brochures, signposts people to local bike retailers and services, provides a bike hire scheme, and organises a range of cycling events aimed at supporting a wide range of cyclists.


Presented by Cllr Mark Ruskell, Sponsored by Burness Paull


SCENE; Applecross Energy Efficiency; Coigach Community Development Company; Huntly & District Development Trust; Harlaw Hydro; Greener Kirkcaldy; LEAP – Lochwinnoch (Scott Duncan); Lochbroom Woodfuels; Kirknewton Community Development Trust; Callander Community Hydro Project; The Factory Skatepark; Transition Stirling’s ‘Wood for All’ project; Twechar Environmental Training Project ; West Whitlawburn Housing Co-operative


Honourable Mention

Kirknewton Community Development Trust- Joint Venture WIndfarm Investment using FDT model – Kirnewton Community Development Trust – for negotiating one of the best wind farm community benefit / investment deals in Scotland for their community if the windfarm is granted (with coverage in Sunday Herald), arranging an independent community consultation on the wind farm development – showing best practice on windfarm community consulation, opening a zero energy development owned by the community and arranging for a report to be shared with all communities for potential hydro projects throughout the forestry estate

Inspiration in Community Energy

Callander Community Hydro Ltd. This projects takes community energy projects to a new level as not only does the community own the scheme and all profit generated will be invested in community projects, but the community are also raising some of the funds locally through a community bond to pay for the build stage of the scheme (along with recently announced investment from Triodos bank). Callander community hydro limited was set up to deliver an exciting community hydro electric project and has taken this from just an idea to reality!  With no developer involved the project has raised finance through 3 funders and all the profits will be gifted back to the community for local projects.  The project is being built along the route of the Stank Burn on Ben Ledi in the Trossach’s & Loch Lomond National park. The project’s turbine is being manufactured and construction work on the intake, pipeline and turbine house is about to start. Power will be exported back to the grid and the community will earn revenue from selling this and from the FIT’s tariff. Completion is expected in the autumn


Presented by Chef Neil Forbes, Sponsored by Vegware


Ardnamurchan Garden Produce and Community Garden; Bruntsfield Dig-In; Bute Produce, Fyne Futures; Earlston Orchard Town  ; The Seed Truck – Fife Diet; Grow Forth Stirling, Forth Environment Link; Greener Kirkcaldy; Kirknewton Allotments Association ; Neil Forbes – Cafe St Honore; Pillars of Hercules Organic Farm; The Fintry Inn; The Mondo Loco Foundation


Honourable Mention

The Mondo Loco Foundation –The Mondo Loco Foundation is a new charity which is encouraging sustainable growth within communities through food, sport and education to promote health, advance learning and fight poverty in Scotland. They also link with the Scotland Malawi partnership to share agricultural knowledge and skills. Based in Midlothian, they are currently working to establish edible gardens within primary schools in Bonnyrigg, and are leading a youth community garden project in Gorebridge in order to educate the younger generation the importance of food security. They lead their projects with amazing energy and enthusiasm which has inspired many young people in the community.

Inspiration in Sustainable Food

The Seed Truck –Fife Diet is a hands on, innovative approach to inspire community groups, schools, start up growing groups or indeed anyone with an interest in sowing and growing. The project aims to ‘sow the seeds of a better food system’ offering practical workshops based on food sovereignty and climate change. The team involved is a diverse group of gardeners, artists, designers and storytellers who are all passionate about growing, inspiring and educating. The Seed Truck is a national initiative and does regular tours the length and breadth of Scotland, such as the current ‘Silver Bough- a cultural conversation about apples’.


Presented by Bruce Crawford, Sponsored by Fintry Development Trust


Action for Change (Scotland) Ltd ; The Ochils Landscape Partnership; Dunbar Local Resilience Action Plan and Household & School Canny Challenge; Save Our Woods – (Hen Anderson); Greener Kirkcaldy; Beith Trust; Kirknewton Community Development Trust; Oban Phoenix Cinema; The Children’s Wood; PEDAL- Portobello ; Transition Stirling


Honourable Mention

PEDAL-Porty – Tom has refused to give up on his dream of securing ownership of a community wind turbine for his community of Portobello, Edinburgh. His relentless volunteered effort has seen him on his third attempt as PEDAL attempts to develop a project on private land, in partnership with Greener Leith. Tom deserves great credit for his perseverance and unstintingly positive attitude.

‘All-Round Good Egg’

The Ochils Landscape Partnership aims to increase access to the hills and glens of the Ochils, improve the quality of local rivers and restore parts of the historic built landscape. The project provides opportunities for community involvement and volunteering to tell the story of the area’s cultural, social and industrial heritage. It aims to enhance the lives of people in the Hillfoots and also to increase visitors to the area.  The OLP has over 370 regular volunteers and has successfully run the “Ochils Festival” for the past two years with the 2014 event this coming June bigger and better than before.  They have an ongoing programme of projects and activities involving Hillfoots Primary schools, community groups and individuals including geo-caching, guided walks, establishment of The Hillfoots Diamond Jubilee Way, Kirkyards trail and Devon trail, mobile app, online Virtual Visitor Centre, control of non-native invasive species, river bank stabilisation, seminars, craft demonstrations, pond dipping and foraging.  This year sees the return of the Tartan Ball which was originally held in the 1840s and will offer an opportunity to experience and savour authentic Scottish hospitality in a stunning setting at the foot of the Ochil Hills.  The OLP is now looking to the future and hope to expand their activities to maintain local community engagement, promote the the Ochil Hills and River Devon locally, nationally and internationally to provide a lasting legacy for generations to come.

FRESh Egg (Newcomer)

Presented by Alyn Smith MEP, Sponsored by Alyn Smith MEP


Factory Skatepark; Balerno Harlaw Hydro – Balerno Village Trust.   ; Bruntsfield Dig-In; Dingwall Wind Energy COOP; Jura Community Stores ; Creative in Callander, ; Recyke-a-Bike; Scottish Wild Beaver Group ; The Himalayan Centre for Art and Culture.


Honourable Mention

Balerno Harlaw Hydro – Balerno Village Trust.   For facing the challenges of the hydro project, overcoming those challenges and sharing good practice.


Scottish Wild Beaver Group – “Scottish Wild Beaver Group, was founded to support the campaign to save the beavers on Tayside from being trapped and removed from the wild. With strong local and international support, working through the use of social media and the press, especially the Blairgowrie local newspaper , it succeeded in overturning the official policy, and saving the beavers which are now being monitored by SNH. SWBG has also launched an education programme making presentations to dozens of Tayside primary schools and local groups, raising awareness of this beneficial and charismatic native species returned to our countryside.”