January 2021 update

We’re here for you, even when our building is closed

This isn’t the start of the year we were hoping for, but we would like to let you know that we’re here for you. Due to the recent tighter lockdown restrictions, we’ve suspended all non-essential activities and events until further notice but will monitor the situation closely and will inform of any changes as soon as we can. Working with the NHS Borders, we’re ensuring that the Volunteer Hall is available to serve as a vaccination centre for local residents when and if needed.

Visit Duns Community Action Group page to learn more about what type of support we’re currently offering and how best to get in touch.

Let’s stay connected

Please take care of yourselves and those around you. We hope this is the final hurdle in what has been a very challenging time for us all. We continue to be working with local organisations and groups so do get in touch if you are looking for some support, and if we’re unable to help directly, we can put you in touch with someone who can.

Let’s stay connected, look out for one another and we’ll get through the next weeks together.

As our activities and events are on hold for now, we’ll be looking into some ideas of getting us connected online. Our next online event that is planned for January is Not The Community Quiz, hosted online via Zoom, on Friday 29 January at 7.30pm. For further information about how to sign up, please visit our website or drop us an email.

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Christmas Events

We’ve put together a couple of events for Duns & District residents to enjoy this Christmas. We hope you’ll join us!

A Heart for Duns Christmas Walking Treasure Hunt

The Treasure Hunt is open to all ages, and you can take part from 23 December until 29 December. We hope you’ll join us for a socially distanced adventure around Duns this Christmas! Find out how take part

The Big Christmas Quiz

The Big Christmas edition of Not the Community Quiz will be held on Monday 28 December, starting at 6.30pm, via Zoom. 

This free family friendly event offers a great opportunity to challenge other households of friends or neighbours. Teams can be made up of as many people as you like but please keep to the self isolation and social distancing restrictions in your location. Learn more and sign up here

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Duns Castle to host Duns’s first ever drive-in movie

Please note that this event is now sold out.

Drive-in movies come to Duns! The town’s first ever drive-in movie will take place at 8.30pm on Saturday 5th September in the grounds of Duns Castle. Specialist provider Skylight Mobile Outdoor Cinema will screen “The Greatest Showman”, the musical starring Hugh Jackman, which was a huge hit when released in 2017.

This enterprising idea was the brainchild of the Castle’s owners, Alick and Aline Hay. Duns Castle is celebrating its 700th anniversary in 2020, and two years ago the Duns Castle and Community Committee (DCC700) was set up to organise a range of activities to celebrate the anniversary and the links between the Castle and the wider Duns community. 

Aline Hay said: “The DCC700 Committee was disappointed not to be able to proceed with all the great community events they had planned for this celebratory year because of the lockdown and social distancing restrictions. Duns Castle then had the inspiration to screen a drive-in movie in the Castle park and offered the site for this fun event. This project has been enthusiastically taken up by other community organisations as well, and we appreciate their support very much, particularly the underwriting of the event by A Heart for Duns (AHFD), which made it viable. A donation from the proceeds is also promised by them to Macmillan Cancer Support.  We hope very much it will be a fun, happy and memorable evening!”

The Rotary Club of Duns is helping to plan the event. Eric Bridgewater, President, commented: “The Rotary is delighted to be part of the collaborative team involved in putting together this drive-in cinema: a first for Duns!  Hopefully, the cinema will give the Duns community something to look forward to after the cancellation of so many events over the past few months.”

Derek Janes, who is Convenor of A Heart for Duns, the third community organisation taking part, added his support: “A Heart for Duns is thrilled to be working with Duns Castle and the Rotary Club of Duns to show the drive-in movie – The Greatest Showman – in Mainsgate Park, where the Duns Show is usually held. This will be a really good event for Duns and we are all looking forward to enjoying it!”

Entry will be at the South Lodge of Duns Castle (opposite Berwickshire High School). Gates open at 7pm and close for entry at 8.10pm. Catering will be provided by Mackay’s Fish and Chips, Border Baguettes burgers and ice cream, and Really Awesome Coffee.

So, blow away the lockdown blues, come along on the 5th September, enjoy supper and one of the greatest musicals of recent years in what promises to be a fantastic and entertaining evening. Just what we all need after the past few months!

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Volunteer Hall commemorative bunting

A Heart for Duns is asking the people of Duns and district to express how they feel about the Volunteer Hall, and the memories they have of it, by crafting a triangular flag. Our team of sewing volunteers will back your flag with plain fabric and then attached it to tape, creating a unique commemorative piece of bunting that will decorate the interior of the Volunteer Hall when we have our first major community event.

The Hall is a tremendous asset to our community and, like most entertainment venues during this time, is experiencing a challenging future. Our bunting will be an expression of how we feel about the Hall and how we all came together in these difficult times.

Step 1 All you need to do is think of something you love/remember about going to the Hall. It might be a physical thing, a feeling you have, a play/film/panto/community event/festival you attended. A visual image you remember, a song, incident, experience, line from a play, or part of the building.

Step 2 Now express that idea onto a triangular patch of fabric. You do not have to be an artist (although everyone is): you can draw, stitch, print, embroider, quilt, paint, stick or write it. Take five minutes or as long as you like.

Step 3 Please send your fabric triangle to: Commemorative Bunting, Volunteer Hall, Langtongate, Duns TD11 3AF, or put it in the green box provided outside the Hall, by the sentry box. Don’t forget to say who it is from and include contact details.

What you will need

Fabric(s) for base

For decorating base fabric: textile shapes, wool, embroidery silk and pens, stickers, ribbon, textile paints and pens, stickers. Anything you wish, but do not make it too bulky and make sure whatever you use is secure to base fabric.

Paper or cardboard for the triangle template.

Sewing machine (if necessary), glue, scissors, ruler, pins.


Make a template for your triangle so that all flags are uniform. Measurements: short side 19cm. Draw a 21cm line at right angles from centre of short side. Draw two lines, one from each end of the short side, meeting at the end of the 21cm line. There you have your triangle shape. Now add a 1cm margin on all three sides for seams. Now you can get creative!

If you need more information please contact lindasgray2@gmail.com and visit our Facebook page for inspiration and to see how our bunting is progressing.

Deadline 30 August 2020

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A special flower display in Duns Park

Help us make a flower display in Duns Park to celebrate VE Day and make people smile — whatever your age, artistic ability or the materials you have to hand.

Some of you may have noticed that the big square flower bed, by the Polish war memorial, is looking quite sad and empty. Our plan to create a lovely wildlife-friendly garden this spring was delayed by Covid-19.

Could you help with this new Community Planting project? What we would like you to do is to make the most colourful and durable artificial flower on a stick or cane, to be 30–50cm high when pushed into the earth. Use whatever you want but do remember it could rain and we don’t want your hard work to disappear too soon! What about using recyclable materials: plastic, wood, polythene? Paint in bright colours and decorate how you like. As long as you can stick it into the earth to create a great collection of colour it will be fabulous.

This art collection will be taking place over the VE Day bank holiday weekend of 8–10 May. Come any time, push the stick into the earth while passing, avoid busy times, keep 2 metres apart. If you are self-isolating, perhaps someone could pick up your flower from your doorstep and ‘plant’ it for you?

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Duns Community Action Group

Elderly? Self-isolating? Vulnerable?

If you are any of the above and worried about the current coronavirus situation and how it may affect you, your family and your life in the coming weeks then we are here to help.

There is a team of willing volunteers who are offering their help and support as and when it is needed. Ways they could help:

  • Grocery shopping / delivery
  • Collecting prescriptions
  • Dog walking
  • Making a phone call to you if you just want to have a chat with someone.

If you feel you could benefit from any of the above services, or you have another need that we could assist with, please do not hesitate to get in touch:

Email: admin@aheartforduns.org

Phone: 01361 884 935 and leave a message – these will be checked daily

Facebook: go to the Duns Community Action page and you can leave a message there.

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Message from A Heart for Duns

In light of the current Coronavirus situation and acting on the advice from HM Government about minimising social contacts, the Board of A Heart for Duns is cancelling all bookings and events at the Volunteer Hall with immediate effect for an indefinite period.

All future events and all activities within the hall are cancelled until further notice.

Staff will be monitoring emails, phone messages and Facebook messages, so if you need to contact us please do so via these methods.  Contact admin@aheartforduns.org or phone 01361 884 935 or go to the A Heart for Duns Facebook page.

We will endeavour to continue to keep you updated and hope this difficult situation for all passes as soon as possible.

We will be in touch again soon to seek ways of supporting our community at this difficult time.

Please stay safe and be well in the coming days.

Derek Janes
Convener, A Heart for Duns

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Duns Citizen of the Year

Candy Philip has been chosen to be Duns Citizen of the Year 2019, through a public nomination process organised by the town’s Rotary Club. The award recognises Candy’s work in spearheading the ‘Blooming Marvellous’ project, which sets up and maintains community planting schemes around the town and is supported by A Heart for Duns.

When Scottish Borders Council gave up responsibility for the maintenance of the flower beds in town, Candy took on the role and has worked tirelessly to secure funding and to recruit volunteers, both individuals and groups, to assist. She has even managed to fund a polytunnel, a community garden and an electric vehicle based at the Volunteer Hall. The result is that through her leadership and organisational skills the town now has blooming flower beds to be proud of.

Candy was surprised but delighted to receive the award. She was keen to point out that this was very much a team effort and without the assistance of all the helpers she could not have achieved it.

Rotary Club of Duns President, Ricky Amos, said that he was very pleased with the number of nominations submitted this year and thanked all members of the community for their continuing support for this project. He went on to say that all nominees were unsung heroes in the community, but Candy had won by a clear margin.

Rotary Club of Duns President, Ricky Amos, presents Candy Philip with the award of Citizen of the Year


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A Heart for Duns is recruiting …

Climate Change Project Manager: full-time post to 31 March 2020 (£26,000 pa)

Are you passionate about addressing the challenges of climate change? Do you have the expertise, skills and experience to initiate and lead complex projects? Are you an excellent communicator with creative and practical ideas to share?

A Heart for Duns is building a project team to deliver real impact in a local community setting. One task for the new Climate Change Project Manager will be to recruit Home Energy Advisers, on an hourly contract basis. See the full Job description. This position is funded through the Scottish Government’s Climate Challenge Fund and is based at the Volunteer Hall in Duns. Closing date for applications: noon on Wednesday 11 September 2019.

Contact the Manager, Volunteer Hall, Langtongate, Duns, TD11 3AF (manager@aheartforduns.org) for further details.

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A Heart for Duns celebrates purchase of the Volunteer Hall

A Heart for Duns, the charity which manages the town’s Volunteer Hall on behalf of the community, became the new owner of the venue on 12 April 2018. It had leased the building since May 2016 and last September was awarded a grant of £206,000 from the Scottish Land Fund to support the purchase.

Derek Janes, Convenor of A Heart for Duns, said: “We are grateful to the Lowland Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association for offering to sell us the Volunteer Hall, and to the Scottish Land Fund for providing the necessary funding. The Hall has had a long association with the British Army, particularly the King’s Own Scottish Borderers. But it has a parallel tradition as a hub for the local community and, with the support of our many volunteers and members, we are privileged to build on this legacy. Bringing the Volunteer Hall into community ownership should enable AHFD to secure enough investment to transform it into a vital multipurpose hub that will benefit all residents of Duns and district.”

AHFD already has separate funding in place to convert the former caretaker’s flat into offices for non-profit groups, and to install an energy efficient heating and ventilation system for the main hall; work should be completed by the end of the summer. Further plans include a proper foyer and bar, another small hall, a better kitchen, and improved dressing rooms and storage.

To celebrate the purchase, two events for charity are planned at the Volunteer Hall for the weekend of 28 and 29 April. AHFD is joining with Duns Rotary Club to sponsor a concert by the Spatz & Co Showband on Saturday 28 April, at 7.30pm. Then Duns Film Club will host the Scottish première of Through Our Eyes on Sunday 29 April, at 4pm. This documentary about Syrian refugees is by award-winning filmmaker Samir Mehanović, who will attend the event. Entry is free; donations can be made to a charity for refugees.

See also Origin and ownership of the Hall

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