New home for Community Larder

Duns Community Larder has moved into a permanent home outside the Volunteer Hall, thanks to a group of hard-working volunteers, lottery funding and the support of local businesses. The Wee Green Shed, as it is affectionately known, was officially opened by MP John Lamont on Friday 4 June. The larder’s move from its temporary spot in the Hall entrance follows the success of the scheme over the last year.

When the first lockdown was announced in 2020, communities across the country began to focus on how to help people, particularly those shielding and isolating.  Emma and Jim McDevitt, from A Heart for Duns, had the idea of starting a Community Action Group to offer help with food shopping, prescription collection, or even just a reassuring chat on the phone.

Group volunteers then set up a table in the foyer of the Volunteer Hall as a place for sharing garden produce throughout the community. Hubbub, a charity with a network of community fridges across the UK, provided two community fridges which helped establish a Community Larder with the objective of reducing food waste.

It was well used by the people in Duns and the larder flourished, with generous support from Duns Co-op and FareShare – a network of organisations which distribute surplus food to nearly 11,000 frontline charities.

However, the hall foyer was only seen as a temporary arrangement and, after discussions with the National Lottery, funding was made available to create a dedicated space for the larder, with Fleming Homes and John Thorburn and Sons donating materials.

People in Duns have watched the Community Larder being built and equipped over the past few months. A Heart for Duns acknowledges that this could not have happened without the tireless efforts and enthusiastic input of a brilliant team of volunteers. Special thanks are due to Gordon Forbes, Kevin Simpson, Dave Philip and Stuart Renton.

As life returns to ‘almost’ normal we need more volunteers if we are to continue our ongoing essential community work.  We also need help as we begin to open up the Volunteer Hall as a venue to host events and continue its many pre-pandemic activities.

If you would like to join our team and become a volunteer please contact Emma McDevitt; email admin@aheartforduns.org.uk or telephone 01361 884935. You can also register directly on our website.

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Update – 24 April 2021

With easing of Covid restrictions we want to update you with some information from the Volunteer Hall and A Heart for Duns.

Due to COVID restrictions, our building has been closed for non-essential activities for over a year. However, we have still been working hard to involve and support the community throughout this challenging time.

We have already had 24 socially-distanced events this year – including Covid vaccinations, socially distanced training sessions, and a few online events such as quizzes and workshops.

Over the past year we  have organised:

  • a hugely successful online quiz for 10 months, with participants from all over the world!
  • online cake decorating and sugarcraft demonstrations
  • online beginners’ knitting and crocheting classes
  • a Christmas Treasure Hunt
  • an Easter Egg Hunt
  • an outdoor film at the end of last summer — and we are hoping to host another outdoor cinema again this year (watch this space for more details!)

We have successfully opened a zero-waste outlet (Community Fridge & Larder) helping to reduce the amount of food going into landfill.  Our new Community Larder’s shed is nearing completion and we are looking forward to the opening and providing a bespoke home for the Community Fridge and Larder.

We also run the Sentry Box swap, which provides an ever-changing supply of books, puzzles, children’s games and toys to the local community, all free of charge.  Now that restrictions are beginning to lift, we will be looking to recruit some volunteers to help look after these services — if you are interested in finding out more, please email admin@aheartforduns.org.

We will be hosting our annual plant sale at the beginning of May; this will mainly be online but check back to see what dates you can visit the polytunnel and view and purchase plants — all proceeds going to Blooming Marvellous — our wonderful sub-group that looks after all the planters and borders in Duns.

Once restrictions are lifted even further, we look forward to welcoming you back inside the Hall for our regular events such as:

  • monthly community films
  • monthly community lunches

We already have some dates booked into the diary for the autumn months to host the following:

  • Northumberland Theatre Co
  • Acoustic Bowie & Queen
  • Our regular Christmas events are scheduled to go ahead (fingers crossed!)
  • Christmas Market
  • Christmas Crackle — with Sneaky Treacle
  • Family Hogmanay Ceilidh

We hope to see our partner organisations back in the Hall performing live too: Duns Players and Duns and District Amateur Operatic Society.

There is so much to look forward to — we just must hang on in there for a wee bit longer and hopefully all the above activities will be able to take place.

And remember if you are looking for a meeting space for your club or organisation, or even if you are looking for a venue for your small wedding, then please get in touch – the Hall is ideal for a socially distanced meeting space.

We hope to see you all very soon — stay safe!

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Easter Egg Hunt

Duns Easter Egg Hunt

Friday 2 April – Monday 5 April

Looking for something egg-stra special to do with the family this Easter?

Our Easter egg hunt, available from Good Friday until Easter Monday, is a great way to have lots of fun and get outdoors with your family or friends. Easter Bunny has scattered 30 eggs around Duns – follow our trail and try find as many eggs as possible.  

If you find all the 30 eggs and submit your completed sheet by noon on Tuesday 6 April, you’ll be in a chance to win an egg-straordinary family Easter egg.

Hop on over to see our Easter Egg Hunt Rules and download Easter answer sheet.

You can also download Word versions here:

Easter Egg Trail Rules

Easter answer sheet

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Covid-19 Community Testing in Duns

Covid-19 Community Testing is available at Duns Fire Station by appointment on 24-26 March, from 10.30am to 3pm. It will also be available on 11-13 April.

Anyone who lives, works or volunteers in the Borders can book a Covid test by calling 01896 826370 or emailing ATS.Service@borders.scot.nhs.uk

Daily locations will vary so please check the timetable and book your test in advance of attending a testing site. Test bookings can be made up to 24 hours in advance.

More information

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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.

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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.

Template

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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