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Local fund reaches half million-pound milestone

The Drone Hill Wind Farm Community Fund is celebrating a half million-pound milestone, marking years of support to projects across East Berwickshire.

The Fund supports local community projects and organisations across the four community areas of Grantshouse, Reston and Auchencrow, Cockburnspath and Cove, and Coldingham, as well as the surrounding Berwickshire communities.

The Fund, which is provided by Wind Farm owners Schroders Greencoat and administered by Foundation Scotland, launched in 2012. Since then, the Fund has provided 156 grants through the main grant making scheme, and a further £40,000 has gone to Community Councils, enabling them to make small ‘micro-grants’ towards activities benefiting their local communities.

All awards are determined by a panel of residents from the four Fund areas. The Drone Hill Panel Members use their local knowledge and passion to ensure that awards are making a direct impact in the communities. In the latest funding round in November last year, the Panel awarding just over £24,000 to four projects which will provide benefits right across the area.

Awards included a £9,180 grant to local social enterprise Re-Tweed and their “International Tartans” project, which support vulnerable local women to gain Level 2 Maker qualifications and access self-employment opportunities.

Other awards included a grant of £3,500 to Borders Youth Theatre to support Reston and Ayton Primary School pupils to take part in an intergenerational play, with help from older people in the area. And Berwickshire Swap SCIO received £2,040 to provide additional storage for the growing volume of clothing and equipment being donated, keeping it safe and sorted to distribute to local families affected by the cost-of-living crisis.

Finally, the Panel agreed to award £10,000 to contribute to the overall project costs for Cockburnspath Playpark Association, to support the rejuvenation of the playpark within the village. These four awards will have positive environmental, health, wellbeing and cultural impacts for the local area, illustrating the breadth of impact that the Fund has had over more than a decade.

Over time, the Fund has acted as a catalyst to provide support for many projects that would not have otherwise taken place. The area has seen a range of projects blossom and grow including the Eyemouth High School Parent Council’s Horticultural Garden, located close to the Drone Hill Fund area, where most of the pupils from the area of benefit attend. The school was awarded a Gold Beautiful Scotland, Young People Award in 2022.

Dr Katherine Lymer, a teacher of Physics, Science and Horticulture within the school has been a driving force for this project:
"This has a been a brilliant project from our point of view. It is teaching our young people about real, practical sustainability as well as the joy of growing your own fruit. It links in with our local economy and is helping grow important skills which are much needed where we live. The project has garnered enthusiasm in both the horticulture group and a wider group of students. It has helped us in working in partnership with our community through joint projects and close working together, as highlighted in our recent Christmas Showcase. We’d like to thank Greencoat Drone Hill and Foundation Scotland for their ongoing support."

Projects also come in many shapes and sizes. Borders Pottery was awarded funding to purchase an additional tabletop pottery wheel which has provided opportunity for the pottery sessions to become mobile and accessible, allowing classes to be delivered within the area of benefit.

Katie Forsyth, from Borders Pottery CIC in Coldingham, says the funding will make a huge difference: “The funding has enabled Borders Pottery C.I.C. to deliver on its social enterprise objectives. We have been able to deliver pottery sessions to a wider range of people signposted to us from professional agencies supporting mental health. They have been able to benefit from a regular interaction in a warm, welcoming, and supportive environment. The funding has also supported us into the future by providing equipment. It has had a wonderful impact on people within our local area. Many thanks.”

Stephen Lilley, a Partner at Schroders Greencoat said: “Greencoat UK Wind is invested in 49 operating wind farms, and is rooted in the local communities where our wind farms operate. It’s not only fundamental to our business model to support these communities, through amenities, infrastructure and education, but is also one of the most rewarding areas of our work. Supporting local communities through initiatives like “Re-Tweed”, intergenerational plays, or area rejuvenation, are some of the ways we can make a tangible positive impact on these areas.” 

Niome Lucjan, Community Funds Advisor at Foundation Scotland, said: “As a grant making charity with expertise in community benefit, Foundation Scotland has worked in partnership with everyone involved in the Drone Hill Fund over the past 11 years. The combination of Panel members’ strengths, knowledge and commitment has proved a successful recipe for the Fund and the communities involved.”

Congratulations are due to all the successful applicants who have helped reach this milestone, making sure that every penny of the half million pounds has made a real and lasting difference to the local communities.

Grants of £500 to £10,000 are available again in 2024, with the next application deadline on 3rd March. 

For more information on the Fund visit