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:

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

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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