Cash boost for Ayton hall

RBS Community Fund winners and runners-up received their cheques.
RBS Community Fund winners and runners-up received their cheques.

Ayton Community Hall Association has been awarded a £3,000 cash donation from The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) thanks to an enthusiastic voting campaign by local residents.

Ayton Community Hall Association (ACHA) was set up in 2005 to provide a modern, small, centrally situated hall for the villagers of Ayton and the people in the surrounding area.

The Association took on the job of renovating an old Victorian hall and transforming it into a facility which will benefit people living in the area for many years to come. The refurbishment work has now been completed and the hall will be officially opened next month.

In July, following the launch of their Customer Charter, RBS and NatWest announced details of a new Community Fund to support local charities and projects and invited customers and local people to decide who should benefit from this new community initiative.

A panel comprising representatives from the local community reviewed the original applications and short-listed three Borders charities to benefit from the fund. When voters were asked to pick their favourite it was ACHA that scooped the top prize.

Nationally, over 300 individual funds were created and over 1,100 local organisations will receive a donation.

Hazel Anderson, senior bank manager for RBS, said: “We’ve had an overwhelming response to the Community Fund and its clear that the people in Ayton are passionate about ACHA and we’re delighted to be able to make this donation and support the work that they do.

“We have had so many worthy causes nominated which is why it was important to give the opportunity to our local community to decide who should benefit.”

Bill Black, chairman of ACHA, said: “I am absolutely delighted that ACHA topped the poll and I would like to publicly thank everyone who took the time to vote for us.

“We raised a good deal of money locally and were fortunate to receive grants from various awarding bodies for the hall upgrade work. However, the RBS award will allow us to provide some further facilities including a PA system, catering equipment, crockery and cutlery.”

Two runners-up will also receive £1,000 each. They are GYP Borders and the Borders Talking Newspaper.

Mags Powell, business development manager for GYP Borders, said: “It was fantastic news when we heard we had been nominated to the Community Fund and we are delighted that we have been awarded £1,000.

“Our organisation relies heavily on funders and this award will help us to continue to support the young people we work with. We would like to thank RBS and also the people who voted for us. It is very much appreciated.”

Wendy Moss, Borders Talking Newspaper organiser, added: “We are grateful to everyone who supported our application and to the RBS Community Fund, whose money will help BTN to continue to keep local blind and partially sighted people in touch with their community by providing, free of charge, a weekly audio version of news from local papers.”