New Berwickshire community projects open their doors to all

Coldingham residents are enjoying new age kurling sessions and others are invited to join them.
Coldingham residents are enjoying new age kurling sessions and others are invited to join them.

Berwickshire residents are being encouraged to get themselves out and about, whether its to a new kurling club or a soup club.

Scottish Borders Council’s community capacity building team has been working on creating partnerships across Berwickshire to encourage people to participate in their own or nearby communities and the latest projects to get underway are kurling at Coldingham and lunch at Leitholm.

Sarah McLean is waiting to welcome you to the Tuesday soup social  at the Plough Inn, Leitholm.

Sarah McLean is waiting to welcome you to the Tuesday soup social at the Plough Inn, Leitholm.

A new age kurling club at Coldingham is one of the innovations they came up with and the first session was held las month when around 20 people from the village and surrounding area made good use of the kurling kits that were kindly lent by Leitholm and Grantshouse village halls.

The activity was so well received that the community decided that they would like to see it happening on a regular basis.

Generous donations from the Coldingham Second-Hand Bookshop and the community council enabled the group to purchase their own equipment and they are now keen to attract new members.

The club meets in Coldingham Village Hall with the first session due to take place on Wednesday, February 14, from 2-4pm. People of all ages and abilities are welcome.

Local resident, Norman Wood, said: “Coldingham Village Hall appreciates the prompt help and generosity of both the community council and our local bookshop for their support with our new venture.

“Hopefully it will mean that we can establish a group of people who are keen to meet for a sporting sociable and regular event which will be good for both individuals and the community. It should be great fun too.”

Councillor Tom Weatherston, SBC’s executive member for adult social care, added: “This is a wonderful example of a community coming together and showing real initiative by setting up an activity which they know will provide real benefit and enjoyment to everyone who comes along.

“I wish them well with their new venture and hope as many people as possible heed the call to come along and join in the fun.

“It also sends out a strong message about the generous community spirit that exists in east Berwickshire and will maybe encourage more people to visit Coldingham and the surrounding area, not just for a game of kurling but to enjoy the many other attractions that the area has to offer.”

The council’s community capacity building team would like to hear from any other communities who may be inspired by Coldingham’s example to get in touch and see what could be set up to promote engagement and participation in their locality.

Leithom soup club

Another new community capacity building team initiative is a lunch time soup club that meets at the Plough Inn in Leitholm.

The Leitholm soup social meets every Tuesday from 12 noon to 2pm, until Easter initially, offering soup and a sandwich followed by something sweet, plus tea or coffee. Special dietary requirements can be catered for

It operates on a pay-as-you-feel basis rather than a fixed price where people are encouraged to pay what they feel the meal is worth or what they can afford.

Councillor Tom Weatherston, said: “This is an innovative and exciting way of giving people the opportunity to get out of the house and enjoy some delicious, affordable food.

“The Plough is a wonderfully comfortable place for anyone to come on their own, as a couple or in a small group where they can catch up with existing friends or maybe make some new ones over a hot meal or perhaps a game of dominoes or cards.

“I would encourage as many Berwickshire residents as possible to enjoy the Leitholm Soup Social on a regular basis with all the benefits that this will bring them.”

Sarah McLean, co-owner of the Plough Inn Leitholm, said: “Having been single until I was over 40, I understand the isolation that closing your front door can bring and it can be the same whether you live in a city, town or village.

“We are offering a safe, warm place for adults of all ages to come to have a bite and a blether. The stove will be burning away, unless of course the weather turns exceptionally warm!

“Each week there will be a choice of two sandwich fillings, two homemade soups, something sweet and bottomless tea or coffee. If folk have a small appetite they’re welcome to just have soup and a hot drink.”

Councillor Weatherston added: “Small businesses like this play such an important role in a community, not only in terms of encouraging social activity and connection between people, but also in relation to economic regeneration. The Plough Inn Leitholm is to be commended for being so open to supporting the project and I wish them every success with the venture.

“I would also hope that other businesses across the Borders will look to follow their generous example by reflecting on the contribution they could be making in their own area, whether that is setting up their own soup social or through some other way of encouraging community involvement and engagement.”

The pay-as-you-feel concept is being used to create an honesty and generosity system where people pay what they feel the meal is worth, or what they can afford. It does not mean that the meal is free but customers are asked to contribute what they can according to their individual circumstances.

For more information, contact the Plough Inn on 01890 840 408. Transport can be organised: dogs are welcome.

Contact the team on 01835 825050; communitycapacity@scotborders.gov.uk; or Facebook page: SBC Community Capacity Building