Scottish Borders Council

Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Via MS Teams

Contact: Fiona Walling  Tel: 01835826504 Email:  fwalling@scotborders.gov.uk

Link: Teams live event

Items
No. Item

1.

Welcome and Meeting Protocols

Minutes:

The Chairman welcomed everyone to the first meeting of the Eildon Area Partnership held remotely via Microsoft teams, which included elected Members, guests attending within the meeting and those watching via the Live Stream.  He outlined how the meeting would be conducted.

 

2.

Feedback from meeting on 27 February 2020 pdf icon PDF 150 KB

Copy of Minute attached.

Minutes:

The Minute of the meeting of the Eildon Area Partnership held on 27 February 2020 had been circulated and was noted.

 

3.

Eildon Community Fund 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 221 KB

Four applications for approval:-

 

(a)  Walks in Stow

(b) Café Re-charge

(c) Youth Borders

(d) Works+

 

(4 assessments attached plus Eildon Funding information)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Assessments of four applications to the Eildon Community Fund had been circulated, plus a summary of grant funding within Eildon in 2020/21 and the source of that funding. The summary showed grant applications awarded, those under assessment and those to be considered by the Area Partnership.  Also included were funding commitments to Community Councils, Village Halls and Local Festivals.   Before consideration of the four pending applications, Mr Kenny Harrow outlined the process of assessment of applications to the Community Fund and the criteria used for that assessment. He advised that all applications to the Community Fund would be put forward to the Area Partnership for consideration, with officer assessment advising if the criteria had been met.  He went on to give a summary of each of the following applications under consideration and confirmed that each met the Community Fund criteria.

 

3.1       Walks around Stow

This was an application from a sub-group of Stow Community Council seeking funding of £5,000 to purchase 11 self-closing gates on identified walking pathways around Stow.  The proposal was an extension of the Walks around Stow initiative which aimed to identify and promote 10 pathways around Stow.  The gates and installation cost £5,000 each. Mr Stuart Jeffrey spoke in support of the application and explained that Walks around Stow were actively working with local farmers and landowners to plan the 10 routes which would cross over 5 farms in total.  Two routes had been mapped so far and leaflets published. Another three walks would be published by early 2021.  The project was enthusiastically supported by those in attendance.  Representative of Stow Community Council referred to the importance of the Walks with Stow initiative within the wider tourism project linked to the railway station at Stow, to revitalise the area by encouraging visitors to get off the train and enjoy Stow and the surrounding area. The request for funding of £5,000 was unanimously approved.

 

3.2       Café Re-Charge

With reference to paragraph 6.2 of the Eildon Area Partnership minute of 27 February 2020, an application for a grant of £14,404 had been received from the Community Interest Company (CIC) Café Re-Charge.  The company aimed to reduce the gap between food poverty and food waste by using unsold food from supermarkets to serve in a Pay What You Can Café in Galashiels.  Ms Amy Wight spoke in support of the application and explained that the café project had been due to start operating in March 2020 based at the Focus Centre in Galashiels.  Due to the constraints of lockdown it was unable to open to the public, but the facilities were used to produce over 1,000 home cooked meals and food parcels for those in need over that period.  During this time strong links were developed with other community groups.  Due to the uncertainty around the reopening of the Focus Centre the group had negotiated a competitive lease on alternative, currently empty, premises in central Galashiels. Volunteering opportunities would be available in all aspects of the project for people  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.

4.

Other information and news for noting pdf icon PDF 53 KB

(a)   Outstanding Community Fund Applications for 2019/20 - these have been dealt with as per the report that went to Council on 27 08 20 which also contains the evaluation of Localities Bid Fund 1&2 and Participatory Budgeting (summary attached)

 

(b)    The Eildon Community Fund for 2020/21 is now open - guidance and application form is on SBC website: https://www.scotborders.gov.uk/info/20076/community_grants_and_funding/261/community_fund

(c)     Community Councils - grants are being paid as normal for 2020/21

(d)    Festival Grant Scheme – commitments re pubic liability and insurance are being met for 2020

(e)    Federation of Village Halls – grants are being paid as normal for 2020/21

(f)      VE Celebration Fund – this fund is now closed and commitments re expenses are being met

(g)    Eildon Locality Plan & Action Plans - these plans are now published and outline the priorities of the Eildon area and could be the focus of a future Area Partnership meeting: https://www.scotborders.gov.uk/downloads/download/1310/locality_plans

(h)    Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 – Currently, there are no formal Participation Requests orformal Asset Transfer requests being considered within Eildon. One Asset Transfer (the sale of former Ettrick Primary School building) request has been agreed since the Area Partnership last met.

 

Minutes:

The following information and news, as detailed on the agenda, was noted:

 

·         Outstanding Community Fund Applications for 2019/20 - these had been dealt with as per the report that went to Council on 27 August 2020 which also contained the evaluation of Localities Bid Fund 1&2 and Participatory Budgeting. A summary paper had been circulated with the agenda.

 

·         The Eildon Community Fund for 2020/21 was now open - guidance and application form was on the Council’s website: https://www.scotborders.gov.uk/info/20076/community_grants_and_funding/261/community_fund

 

·         Community Councils - grants were being paid as normal for 2020/21

 

·         Festival Grant Scheme – commitments re pubic liability and insurance were being met for 2020

 

·         Federation of Village Halls – grants were being paid as normal for 2020/21

 

·         VE Celebration Fund – this fund was now closed and commitments re expenses were being met

 

·         Eildon Locality Plan & Action Plans - these plans were now published.  They outlined the priorities of the Eildon area and could be the focus of a future Area Partnership meeting: https://www.scotborders.gov.uk/downloads/download/1310/locality_plans

·           Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 – Currently, there were no formal Participation Requests orformal Asset Transfer requests being considered within Eildon. One Asset Transfer (the sale of former Ettrick Primary School building) request had been agreed since the Area Partnership last met.

 

5.

Fit for 2024: Review of Area Partnerships & Community Fund and actions for Eildon Area Partnership pdf icon PDF 59 KB

(Summary of the reports attached)

Minutes:

5.1       A summary of reports to Council, on 27 August 2020, on the Reviews of Area Partnerships and the Community Fund, had been circulated with the agenda.  Mr Harrow,       gave a slide presentation which highlighted the main findings of the reviews and outlined the next steps.  Based on the findings of the review some immediate changes had been made to the Community Fund from 1September 2020.  As part of the Council’s response to the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015, and from the findings of the Scottish Community Development Centre report, Area Partnerships and communities could now make recommendations to Scottish Borders Council by the end of January 2021 about how they would like their Area Partnership and Community Fund to operate in the future. These recommendations would then go out for further public consultation that would take place in February 2021.  At the end of the public consultation, a report would go to Council in March 2021.

 

5.2       The Chairman asked for views about how Eildon Area Partnership could establish a way to review the findings and make recommendations at a local level for further public consultation in February 2021.  He referred to the suggested questions which were included in the paper circulated, as an aid to developing these recommendations. A discussion followed about the most effective and fair way of engaging with groups and communities and how to collaborate in the provision of a list of recommendations. It was accepted that a variety of ways could be used to consult with people, even through the current restrictions, including by remote meetings, email and group telephone calls.  It was agreed that it would be useful if a brief communication, containing a list of the suggested questions, could be sent out to Eildon Community Councils and other partner organisations to initiate a response.  It was also suggested that, as all five Area Partnerships were involved in the development of recommendations for their local area, it may be appropriate for a generic communication to encourage engagement be put out from Corporate Communications and through local media. The Chairman asked for responses within the next two weeks about how to take this forward.

 

6.

Date of Next Eildon Area Partnership - 28 January 2021

Are there any items you would like to propose for the agenda?

 

Minutes:

The next meeting was scheduled for Thursday 28 January 2021.  Suggestions for agenda items could be sent to the Locality Development Co-ordinator at kenny.harrow@scotborders.gov.uk. 

 

7.

Any other formal business

Minutes:

No items were raised.

 

8.

Open Forum

Minutes:

Heriot Community Council representative, Mrs Sue Sharp, wished to raise two matters as follows:

 

8.1       On behalf of communities in Heriot, Fountainhall and surrounding area, Mrs Sharp emphasised the need to sustain and improve the X95 bus service.  This was the one and only public transport service for the local population and was the key access to Borders Railway, other public transport, medical services etc.  Before the opening of the railway the X95 was a half hourly service.  Frequency then dropped to hourly and was now two-hourly with no bus service on a Sunday.  Mrs Sharp added that the right to public transport was highlighted within the Locality Plan. The Chairman explained that a question had been raised by Councillor Harry Scott at the recent meeting of Scottish Borders Council.  In the response it was explained that since the arrival of the Borders Railway, the X95 (previously operated by First Scotland East) sustained a reduction of £12k in revenue per week. In order to keep the route sustainable, changes were made based on travel patterns which were identified from data derived from the ticket machines. Since the onset of Covid-19, bus services had been under constant review and services had been reduced to cope with a reduction of patronage which was currently in the region of 40% of where it was pre Covid. Borders Buses were currently surveying their passengers in order to try and gauge what level of service that they could put back in when restrictions started to ease with a view to building services up as passengers started to return. The Council’s Transport Team were in constant discussions with all operators including Borders Buses regarding the local transport network and service changes. The Team would continue engagement with communities and local bus operators including Borders Buses to ensure that all communities were served by a sustainable transport network which met the needs of the communities they served whilst remaining within the allocated budget.  In further discussion Councillors recognised the importance of the X95 communication link to local communities and also emphasised the need for a Sunday bus service.  It was suggested that a letter from the Area Partnership, on behalf of communities, be sent direct to Scottish Government to request an extension of subsidy post Covid.  The Chairman confirmed that he would pass the views of the Area Partnership to the Transport Team.

 

8.2       In terms of the second issue raised on behalf of Heriot Community Council, Mrs Sharp referred to the Eildon Locality Plan, noting the priority given to: increase learning opportunities and skills development across a wide range of subjects and vocations and ages; and to invest in local, sustainable employment opportunities.  Mrs Sharp asked Scottish Borders Council and South of Scotland Enterprise to given consideration about how local people could benefit more from employment in the renewables sector, particularly windfarms – be that in planning, engineering, construction, maintenance etc.  There was a need to create jobs in growth sectors, of which renewables  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

 

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