COMMUNITY projects which benefit young and old alike are celebrating thanks to the legacy of one of Scotland’s most successful business couples.
The Gordon and Ena Baxter Foundation, which awards money in memory of the Speyside husband and wife team who took the Baxters name to the global stage, has announced its latest funding round.
Groups from across Aberdeenshire, Moray and the Highlands and Islands which champion a wide range of local projects have benefitted.
Highland’s and Islands
A grant of £560 has been made to the Lochaber Camanachd Club for the purchase of new playing helmets. Shinty equipment can be expensive and the club, which is based in Spean Bridge, wants to make sure the game is open to everyone. Trustees were delighted that co-funding from the club came from pitch board sponsorship and local fundraising events.
Just 10 miles south in Fort William, another Association is celebrating a successful application. Shopmobility Lochaber has received £1500 to purchase a new accessible scooter which can be used in a rural environment. It can be used by any member of the community over the age of 18 with a mobility issue. The scooter, which the charity has named Baxter, will help residents to get out about about, reducing isolation while increasing independence and helping with mental well-being.
In Inverness, a £7000 grant has been awarded to The Drummond School towards a £40,000 project to install easy access swings, roundabouts and other specialists outdoor equipment. The school’s 85 pupils, as well as after school groups, will be able to use the equipment to manage sensory overload. Time spent on the equipment can help people to calm down, feel safe and manage their senses and emotions, which in turn allows them to join in with other activities.
Elsewhere in the city, an award of just over £3100 will enable publishing charity For The Right Reasons to buy a second-hand electronic guillotine for the charity’s printing shop. The social enterprise helps people recovering from addictions by encouraging a positive routine. Along the way, they acquire increased self esteem as well as new skills and confidence. Figures show that around 75% of those who volunteer with the charity continue their sobriety and move on to further education or training.
Nairn Coastal Rowing Club received £980 to purchase timber for building oars and a rudder for its new St Ayles Skiff, which should be completed later this year. The club has already attracted a wide range of volunteers from across the Nairnshire community and more are likely to become involved as construction is completed and the skiff enters the water.
Amateur swimmers in Nairn are also celebrating after the Foundation agreed to a £3790 grant to provide new starting blocks for the club’s 80 swimmers. The current blocks are at the end of their lives, with slippy and unstable surfaces rendering them unsafe. With recent success at national level, the new equipment for training will help to give participants a competitive chance.
In Moray, outdoor charity Wild things! has received £4850 toward a three-year programme to help isolated and vulnerable older people take part in gentle, intergenerational, nature-based activities. A 2014 study by Age UK found that two fifths of older people say the television is their main company. Wild things! wants their Silver Saplings to have access to green spaces in the company of others. It follows a successful pilot, during which one participant said: “The company and whole experience has been something out of the ordinary. To be taken to these wonderful places in safety is great.”
Aberdeenshire voluntary group, the Friends of Turriff Cemetery received £2000 towards a project to bring new life to the community’s Millennium Garden. Following on from its successful work in the town’s cemetery, the group is planning to bring the adjoining garden up to a high standard, with a seating area, sensory garden, wildflower area, remembrance garden and raised beds. The new haven will be accessible, ensuring it is open to all.
The Foundation manages personal legacies left by Gordon and Ena Baxter and awards funds five times each year to charities and community organisations seeking to benefit their local community. They can be working in education, health, social welfare, sport, arts, heritage, conservation and the environment. The next funding round will take place in June and anyone interested should visit www.gebfoundation.com for further information.