A Men’s Shed in Duns?

You are cordially invited to a public meeting to look into setting up a Men’s Shed in Duns. The meeting will be held at the Volunteer Hall at 7.30pm on Wednesday 15 February.

What is a Men’s Shed? It is a place where a man who has time on his hands can go to make things, use tools, relax and make friends. The aim is to help men improve their health, address issues such as social isolation, and play their part in community development. Some 1,500 such projects have been set up around the world, with over 70 in Scotland, including in several towns in the Borders. You can find out more at the website of the Scottish Men’s Sheds Association and in an article from Volunteer Centre Borders

This initial meeting is to explore possibilities and to form a plan to set up a similar project in Duns. It would be great to have your input and help!

If you would like to attend the meeting (or if you can’t attend but would like to be involved) please send an email to Eddy Richards at admin@aheartforduns.org

Lastly, please feel free to pass on this invitation to anyone you think might like to see a Men’s Shed in Duns.

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Thanks from A Heart for Duns

Many thanks to all who supported and voted for the Duns Community Theatre bid in The People’s Millions competition.

Although we did not win the head-to-head with the Peebles music project, we did gain the bonus award for the runner-up among the six contestants in the ITV Borders region. This means that Duns still gets the full £43,000 that we requested in the original bid.new-peoples-millions

The award will be used mainly to equip the Volunteer Hall with new lighting, sound, projection and staging systems. This will make film nights and theatre performances much more enjoyable, and we hope that many people of all ages will benefit from the new facilities.

We could not have done it without you, so once again, thank you!

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Duns Community Theatre in bid for lottery funding

A bid from Duns has been shortlisted for the People’s Millions competition, which could secure funding to turn the Volunteer Hall into a vibrant community theatre for Berwickshire. The effort is being led by A Heart for Duns, with support from Duns and District Amateur Operatic Society and Duns Players.

The People’s Millions is a partnership between Big Lottery Fund and ITV, where the public help decide which local community projects get up to £50,000 of National Lottery funding. For ITV Border viewers, the Duns project will be screened during the Border News on Wednesday 26 November. Viewers will be asked to vote for their preferred bid, in this case either Duns Community Theatre or a musical project in Peebles.

The Duns bid is for £43,000 to equip a professional quality space for theatrical performances. According to Peter Lerpiniere of Duns Players, “The Volunteer Hall facilities are fairly basic, so we are aiming for a new lighting rig, a projection and sound system, and blackout curtains. These upgrades would also bring benefits for concerts, film nights and other events at the Hall.”

For the Duns bid to succeed, it will need full support from the town and surrounding area. Emma Taylor from Duns Operatic Society said: “A first class community theatre in the centre of Berwickshire would attract people from far afield, whether simply attending a show or pursuing a career in the performing arts. We hope that everyone in the county will support our bid.”

Derek Janes, Convenor of A Heart for Duns, said: “We are very excited to get through to this stage. Having up-to-date equipment will allow us to run a full programme of activities at the Volunteer Hall, which will in turn allow it to become fully sustainable. Please galvanise your friends, relations and work colleagues, in person and through social media, to vote for Duns Community Theatre.”

To support the Duns bid now, please visit The People’s Millions website.

On 26 November, People’s Millions will release telephone numbers for voting and the lines will be open from 9am until midnight. Mobile and BT landline votes cost no more than 15p; other landlines may vary.

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Volunteer Hall survey launched

A Heart for Duns has launched a survey to find out what services and facilities the local community would like to see in the Volunteer Hall. We want to ensure we develop what the people of Duns and Berwickshire want, as well as build a strong business case for the improvement of the Hall to support applications for grant funding.

Please take a few minutes to complete the online survey

Paper copies of the survey are also available in Duns, to be completed and handed in to Nairn’s/the Post Office.

This research is being carried out by Community Enterprise (01506 862227) on behalf of A Heart for Duns. All information is gathered in the strictest confidence.

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New phase in the campaign to revive the Volunteer Hall

Our campaign to reinvent Duns Volunteer Hall as a modern, vibrant community venue has shifted gear and has entered a critical and exciting phase. The Ministry of Defence, which owns the hall, has pledged significant funds for an initial refurbishment. This will help considerably, but the hall requires very high levels of investment that can only be secured through grant funding. Our Grants and Applications committee, working with Scottish Borders Council grant aid professionals, is making good progress through the complex and demanding application process. The journey might take three years, but we hope to access grant funding at levels that align with our ambitions for the hall.

In the meantime, it is vital that the Volunteer Hall be used fully, so that revenue from events can offset its significant operating costs. For this we need the support of the community of Duns and outlying areas. You can help by attending the events at the hall and by volunteering: please see our call for help later in this programme.

A Heart for Duns events are varied and popular. In May over 220 people visited the Food and Craft Market and over 100 came to see Philomena. Our June programme included the first annual Duns Community Challenge Quiz, sponsored by Aitchison’s Garage, and The Lego Movie.

We hope you will find much to interest you in this programme, including American Hustle (July), The Butler (August) and an evening Food Market (September). Other events, updates and photos are posted on our website: www.aheartforduns.org

To help us deliver an outstanding community facility in Duns, please be part of our campaign and continue to attend and enjoy events in the Volunteer Hall.

Jim Cook, Chairman, A Heart for Duns

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Edging closer to long-term certainty for the Volunteer Hall

I open this statement with grateful thanks from A Heart for Duns to Andrew Lester, who has relinquished his position as Chairman of the AHFD Committee. Andrew has led the effort to galvanise the people of Duns and surrounding territories behind the campaign to return the Volunteer Hall to the centre of local community life. Through Andrew’s skill, hard work and commitment, significant progress has been made toward ensuring that the Volunteer Hall will endure long into the future. Thankfully, Andrew will remain on the AHFD Committee in the role of Vice-Chairman.Our campaign has gathered momentum and achieved much in recent months. The number of events held at the hall has increased by 12% over the past 12 months. Over the same period, the number of people attending events has increased from 4,400 to 7,000 — a 59% increase!

Four monthly Food and Craft Markets have attracted on average almost 30 stallholders and over 240 visitors. The showing of Gravity in February drew 80 people, whose responses indicate that the Film Night will become a regular feature of our events calendar. This edition of Volunteer Hall Events reflects our full and varied programme.

The Committee is relentless in its effort to ensure that we meet the social need of providing a sustainable facility for use by the community. We have engaged other stakeholders, canvassing their moral and financial support: Scottish Borders Council management team, Mid Berwickshire Councillors Renton, Moffat and Greenwell, and the landlords, The Ministry of Defence. All parties are working in close liaison to achieve our common aim that the Volunteer Hall endures as a fully funded and fully utilised facility for use by the community of Duns and surrounding areas.

May I thank the public of Duns and the commercial community for the immense support you give to the AHFD Committee and to this campaign.

Please visit us at www.aheartforduns.org

Jim Cook, Chairman, A Heart for Duns


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One year on – Notes from the Chair

It hardly seems possible that it was a year ago we were preparing the bid for the ‘Big Lottery Investing in Communities’ initiative. The bid process was intensive and involved a huge amount of work which involved quite a few people in a large amount of time. The bid was unsuccessful but in true style we picked ourselves up, dusted ourselves down and started all over again.

We learned a great deal and one thing we realised was that we had no experience of running a Community facility such as the Volunteer Hall. Indeed we didn’t know if the community of Duns and surrounding area would support such an initiative.

Now, a year on, we have run several events and we are planning a Ceilidh in March. We will also be running the bar at several events in the Hall.

All this is aiming to ensure that the Volunteer Hall is available as a fully utilised, fully self-funded centre for the community.

We need your help. You could join our committee or one of the sub-committees, become a “Friend of the Volunteer Hall”, come along to the events that we are running and support A Heart for Duns, or just be interested and get our newsletter. The more support we get the more we can say that Duns needs the Volunteer Hall and the more chance we will have of obtaining grants to improve the facilities.

Your support now will be appreciated for generations to come.

 J Andrew Lester

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A Heart for Duns

A forum for you to have your say on future community development and keep in touch with progress

  • A Heart for Duns”: WHAT would that be? A multi-purpose community building; a place that belongs to our community; a place where lives are enriched; a place where Duns can offer more opportunities than ever. A strong and thriving Heart that will energise, inspire and support fulfilling living, right here in Duns.
  • HOW can I be involved? We need you to let us know what sort of activities, some of which may already exist, YOU want to see in Duns. WE need YOUR feedback! This Heart is a community thing and needs to beat for everyone, whatever your age or interest.
  • WHERE it would be situated is a matter for serious discussion: a newly renovated Volunteer Hall; an extended Southfield; a new build; a combination. All possibilities need to be investigated – once we know what Duns wants.
  • HOW can we do this? That depends on WHAT we want and HOW well Duns can pull together to form a vision for the future. Then we work together to make it happen. Decisions need to be made; money has to be raised, with all avenues of funding being explored from coffee mornings to large lottery grants.
  • HOW LONG will this all take? Very probably, a long time. But every journey starts with a single step and “A Heart for Duns” is keen to have Duns take the initial steps, with the community all “in step” and united in its desire to create something very special in our town.

WHAT’S THE FIRST STEP? To gather views from our community – YOU!


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