Not the Community Quiz

Not the Community Quiz will be held on Friday 5th June, starting at 7.30pm, directly to your home via Zoom. This free family friendly event will replace the Community Quiz organised each year by A Heart for Duns — at least until a later date.

Teams can be made up with as many people as you like. They can be from more than one household, provided they obey the new guidance from the Scottish Government: people from two different households will be able to meet, but must keep two metres apart; they must also remain outdoors, and in groups of no more than eight.

This offers a great opportunity to challenge other households of friends and neighbours.

Question rounds will be on five topics: Music, Geography, General Knowledge, TV & Films, and Food & Drink. No prizes, just fun!

For more details and to enter, please email: jim2302@icloud.com Entrants will receive Zoom login details within 24 hours of sending their email. Be quick! Entries are limited.

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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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Scottish Land Fund cash secures future of Duns Volunteer Hall

The future of a thriving community hub in Duns has been secured, thanks to Scottish Land Fund cash announced today.

A Heart for Duns manages the town’s Volunteer Hall on behalf of the community and has leased the building since 2014. Now, thanks to a Scottish Land Fund grant of £206,000, the group will be able to purchase the building, which will empower local people to be involved in its future development.

Welcoming the news, Derek Janes, Convenor of A Heart for Duns, said: “The trustees are very excited by the investment from the Scottish Land Fund into the community of Duns and district. We are delighted at the level of support we have received from community groups, strategic partners and funders, and we look forward to the next stages of development that will follow once we own the venue. Working with the community, we plan to transform this key asset for the town, making it even more fit for purpose, energy efficient, equipped with digital technologies, and with more flexible performance and work spaces. There’s a lot of work ahead but this grant gives us a solid base on which to build.”

Announcing the funding, John Watt, Scottish Land Fund Committee Chair, said: “I am delighted to see another enterprising community take control of its own future with Scottish Land Fund assistance. When considering this project for funding, the committee was very impressed with the community consultation that has brought A Heart for Duns to this point. It is clear from the popularity of the building that there is a great desire to continue developing and enhancing the hall’s facilities and in doing so ensuring that it remains a thriving community hub for people now and in the future.”

Cabinet Secretary for Land Reform Roseanna Cunningham, said: “I warmly welcome this award from the Scottish Land Fund for Duns. It shows that there are a number of routes open to local groups who want to realise the potential of key community facilities – in this case, a leasing arrangement allowed the group to manage the facility, build their capacity to take on the challenges, and then put together a successful application for support to buy outright. It shows that groups who are already involved with assets at some level can still go on and achieve outright ownership if they wish.”

Ailsa Raeburn, Head of Community Assets for HIE, said: “More and more communities are taking control of their future by purchasing land and assets that matter to them. A Heart for Duns now has a great opportunity to take the hall and create a place where the real spirit of their community can flourish.”

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A Heart for Duns appoints Development Manager

A Heart for Duns, which manages the town’s Volunteer Hall on behalf of the community, has appointed Lindsay Wood as its first full-time Development Manager. This new post was advertised in April and is funded for three years by the Big Lottery Fund. Mr Wood has a range of experience and qualifications in project management and economic development.

Derek Janes, Convenor of A Heart for Duns, said: “We are very pleased that Lindsay has been able to join us, particularly at this time: the charity has recently become a Development Trust and we are looking to buy the Volunteer Hall from its owner, the Ministry of Defence. The experience Lindsay brings to the role — including over 25 years working with the principal economic development agencies in the Borders and as an active volunteer in many local groups — should prove invaluable as we develop a business plan for the sustainable future of the Hall.”

Lindsay Wood said: “A Heart for Duns is a dynamic institution and I look forward to working with the trustees, volunteers and staff, as well as the Hall users and community members and groups. I think the power of an organised community linked to the right motivation can enable a small group of enthusiastic people to change their world.”

Contact Lindsay Wood at the Volunteer Hall on 01361 884 935 or manager@aheartforduns.org.

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Duns Volunteer Hall to benefit from Big Lottery Fund

A Heart for Duns, which manages the town’s Volunteer Hall on behalf of the community, has been awarded a grant of £88,660 from the Big Lottery Fund. This will fund recruitment of a full-time Development Manager and a part-time Finance Assistant over the next three years, increasing the organisation’s capacity and enabling it to develop the Volunteer Hall as a first-rate venue for a wide range of events and activities.

As a Scottish charity, A Heart for Duns operates with a small team of part-time staff, supported by a substantial body of members and volunteers. The organisation runs its own events in the Hall, including monthly community lunches and film nights, food and craft markets, a beer festival and Christmas parties, as well as the recent Vivaldi’s Gloria concert. It also enjoys a relationship with a core group of Hall users, who together put on a busy and varied programme of theatre, music, dance, exercise, sport and fundraising events.

Derek Janes, Convenor of A Heart for Duns, said: “This grant from the Big Lottery Fund is a huge boost to A Heart for Duns at a critical period in the development of our work. We will be able to build the business of the Volunteer Hall and work more closely with our regular users to improve the service we offer them. The whole of Duns will benefit from this grant and we look forward to more and more people, groups and organisations using this very special venue.”

Big Lottery Fund Scotland Chair, Maureen McGinn, said: “I am delighted that A Heart for Duns has been successful in securing a Big Lottery Fund grant. The funding will make a big difference where it is needed most and I wish A Heart for Duns every success as it goes on to develop and expand its project for the benefit of their local community.”

The closing date for both job applications was 23 April 2017.

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