SUP Newsletter – Summer 2012

Hello again and welcome to our Summer 2012 newsletter.  Not much of a Summer so far, but fingers crossed that the jet-stream sorts itself out and that August defies records in a somewhat drier way.

As ever, we’ve been working on a range of projects and activities that deliver against our stated role to keep people living and working sustainably across southern Scotland.  However, along with many other non-governmental organisations, increasing investment in seeking funds to continue what we do shows ever decreasing returns.

We are a charity whose role is to bring people together to consider land-use issues that affect us all, to encourage innovation in responses to agreed challenges and to seek to highlight successful approaches to a range of authorities and administrations in the hope that they become part of the mainstream of delivery.

The recent award of Biosphere status for south-west Scotland is a good example of what can be achieved when a wide range of organisations and individuals work together.  The SUP has developed and delivered a wide range of projects over the years, from promoting the Southern Upland Way and developing riding routes to promoting local food and renewable energy, from community development and asset audits to developing nature-based tourism, upland habitat enhancement and red squirrel conservation.  Our projects attract new funding and investment in the region as you will see in the annual report,

We believe we are making a difference.

Developing projects has a cost.  Not all our efforts are successful in getting funding and without ‘core’ funding we cannot survive.  We are most grateful to our core supporters for the funds they provide, but these are diminishing.  Last year we had to cover over 60% of our core costs from other sources, including our own reserves; this is not sustainable.

SUP membership is free for individuals.  All you need to do is request that we include you as a member.  However, if you can you make a donation to help us cover our core costs it would be gratefully received.  If you use the Standing Order form at we can claim gift aid and make your donation go further.

Group membership of the SUP costs £40 a year for a community group or local organisation, £100 for a larger group, business or national organisation.  We realise that many community groups do not have the necessary funds, so we will count you as a member at no cost if you formally request this, by letter or email.

We also have a ‘Patron’ membership category, which costs £500 a year.  We are delighted that we now have two  patrons, Banks Renewables and Scottish and Southern Energy Renewables.  We hope to increase this number in the next few months.

If you want to become a member and/or make a donation, please get in touch.  If you know someone who you think would be interested, please forward this newsletter to them.

Thank you for your continued support.

In this edition:

Upland Restoration
UNESCO Biosphere
Radical rethink on land reform underway
Rural Broadband
For your diary
Funding Opportunities

Upland Restoration
The Southern Uplands Partnership carried out the 2012 Southern Uplands Black Grouse survey between mid March and mid May.  The results found 346 lekking males, a fall of 11% on the 2011 count, largely attributable to the poor summer weather of 2011 affecting brood rearing. A total of 87 leks were found with 53 being multiple bird leks.

Efforts to broaden the search area this spring to encompass neighbouring parts of Dumfries & Galloway were held back by adverse weather.  However work to achieve improvements on a landscape scale is continuing to develop, we are currently waiting for lek data for the Dumfries & Galloway region which will allow for a continuance of the work we have done in the Borders at mapping lek data onto Phase One habitat maps to assess landscape connectivity.

This approach will create a database of Black Grouse across South Scotland together with an indication of habitat connectivity, in turn emphasising the importance of landowners and wildlife organisations acting in partnership to successfully conserve Black Grouse and their moorland habitats.

UNESCO Biosphere
It’s official, Galloway And South Ayrshire is now a UNESCO Biosphere and a member of the Worldwide Network of Biosphere Reserves.  You can see the decision on the UNESCO website at  You can also see the Galloway And South Ayrshire website at

Galloway and South Ayrshire is Scotland’s first ‘new style’ UNESCO Biosphere because of its unique combination of special landscapes and wildlife areas, rich cultural heritage and communities that care about their environment and culture, and want to develop it sustainably.

Biosphere designation will help understand, define, sustain and enhance those special qualities. As an internationally recognised marketing brand for superb natural environments Biosphere designation will offer new opportunities for individuals, businesses and communities to demonstrate how to live, work and play in a world class environment.

SUP continue to host the Building Opportunities in the Biosphere (BOB) initiative, which aims to work with businesses and communities in the Biosphere to raise the understanding of the designation and to develop projects that reveal what it can do for the area.  For more information on the Biosphere and the BOB initiative contact Project Officer Ed Forrest at


Radical rethink on land reform underway

Speaking in Skye where a summer cabinet meeting was convened, First Minister Alex Salmond revealed details of a new Land Reform Review Group that will oversee a wide ranging review of land reform in Scotland.   “A radical review of land reform will deliver a more successful Scotland with stronger communities and economic growth” Mr Salmond said.

Dr Alison Elliot, who has extensive experience working in the community and voluntary sector, will chair the group.  She will be joined by Professor James Hunter and Dr Sarah Skerratt as vice chairpeople, who have experience of the Highlands and Islands and rural development.

A further 10 advisers – with expertise in areas such as property and land issues, economics, legal issues, community-led organisations, landownership, forestry and access – will also be appointed to the group shortly.

It is anticipated that the Land Reform Review Group will report in a series of stages to Scottish Ministers, providing consideration of what the outcomes of land reform should be and what reforms are required.  By the end of 2013 the Scottish Government would expect a report on any legislative changes that are required to allow this to be taken forward.

Mr Salmond went on to say:
“Land reform is an important part of Scotland’s story.  From the Crofting Acts of the 1880s and 1890s to the more recent right-to-buy legislation and support for community land purchase, significant progress has been made.

“We cannot underestimate the crucial part land reform will play in contributing to the future success of Scotland for the next generation.  By improving the relationship between our land and people, we can create stronger communities and deliver the economic growth and fairer society that the people of Scotland quite rightly expect.

“I want this review to deliver radical change for both rural and urban areas, developing new ideas which will improve current legislation as well as generating even more innovative proposals.  The expertise and experience of those on the group will be key to its success and that’s why I’m delighted Alison, James and Sarah have agreed to take forward this important project.”

Dr Elliot said:
“I am delighted to take this opportunity to review land reform in Scotland.   “I want to take a look at all the opportunities that exist to promote more communities taking control of their future by taking control of their land.   “I expect it will be an interesting, and challenging job and I look forward to getting up and down the country promoting debate.”

Rural Broadband
The Carnegie UK Trust and the Plunkett Foundation have published a new report on rural broadband in the UK.

The report highlights that many remote rural communities will need to play a central role in building the superfast broadband infrastructure in their area, and calls for more action to support a community enterprise approach to delivering these broadband networks.

Go to—reframing-the-debate  to download a copy of the report.

If you would like any more information or would like to discuss the report contact:

Douglas White
Senior Policy Officer
Carnegie UK Trust
Andrew Carnegie House
Pittencrieff Street
KY12 8AW

Tel: 01383 721445
Fax: 01383 749799


Rural Broadband – POSTPONED

“Our society is changing.  A key driver is information and communication technologies – the digital revolution.  Some are part of this revolution more than others.  We need a digitally inclusive society – where all can play their part in new ways to strengthen communities and where each individual can gain the benefits of being online”.

Extract from foreword to:
Digital Inclusion
Digital Inclusion strategy: Connecting Scotland’s People (a strategy of the Scottish Government)

The Southern Uplands Partnership is holding an event on:

September 13th
1030 – 1500 at the Moffat House Hotel, Moffat

that will develop our on-going work with Scottish Enterprise, which is looking at how remote communities across southern Scotland can develop communal / co-operative ‘business’ approaches to accessing internet services, along with a look at the sort of technologies that are available and that have worked, or not, elsewhere.

Our work has been brought into particular focus by two recent publications, firstly of the Carnegie Trust and the Plunkett Foundation: Rural Broadband – Re-framing the Debate (—reframing-the-debate ) and secondly, the report of the House of Lords Select Committee: Broadband For All – An Alternative Vision ( ).

The conference is aimed at community practitioners and rural businesses, who are keen to establish themselves as community led initiatives to better their broadband access, and who are seeking knowledge and support regarding their plans.

If you are interested in communal and co-operative approaches to the provision of high-speed broadband services, and want to know more about the technologies available for communities that are considered ‘too difficult’ to reach by the mainstream broadband providers, then make September 13th a date to come and hear more of what can be achieved from some of the UKs most successful rural broadband projects and what support can be expected from a variety of the agencies that exist to support community based efforts.

Community-led Health and the Community Empowerment and Renewal Bill: Engage with the Consultation

Dumfries and Galloway Third Sector Forum in collaboration with the Community Health Exchange (CHEX) invite you to attend a discussion of the proposed Community Empowerment and Renewal Bill (CERB) currently under consultation.

The meeting will take place at the Douglas Arms Hotel, Castle Douglas, on Wednesday 22nd August.

Tea and coffee will be available from 12.45 and the meeting will be from 1pm – 4pm

Below is a CHEX summary of the issues relating to the proposed Bill.  If you are unable to attend the meeting the summary below contains a link to the CHEX online survey.

Please register you intention to attend, as soon as possible, with Alison Hamill who will confirm your place.

If you require any further information about this meeting please don’t hesitate to contact either Joyce Harkness or Elspeth Gracey of CHEX

CHEX Summary 
The Scottish Government is planning to develop legislation that will help people to get involved in decisions about the services in their community, and that will make it easier for communities to use buildings, land or resources that are not currently in use.  As community-led health organisations are working with many different community groups on local health outcomes, the proposed Bill is of real significance and has implications for future ways of working and influencing local services.

Community-led health organisations may be particularly interested in the development of allotments and community gardens, but all elements of the Bill are of interest and Scottish Government are inviting organisations to think about how they will support and work with community groups in the future.

In its consultation Scottish Government is seeking responses in relation to key aspects that affect communities such as:

  • delivering services in the community
  • deciding how funding is allocated
  • right to buy land
  • passing public land and buildings to the community
  • making the best use of buildings and land
  • use of private land or buildings for a short-time
  • arranging for land or buildings to be sold
  • development of allotments and community gardens
  • role of Community Councils

The consultation process started in June 2012 and ends on 26th September 2012.  Updates and news on events relating to the development of the Bill are being shared on the Scottish Government website.  Dedicated community empowerment pages are being developed and Scottish Government is encouraging organisations to share stories and experiences as well as submit formal responses.  For those who like engaging through twitter, they can follow the Bill via @CommEmpower and keep track of discussion on the Bill by using #scotCERB.  The full consultation document etc. can be viewed

CHEX is meeting with local community-led health networks to discuss their views and will incorporate these in a CHEX response.  We will post a draft response on the CHEX website at the end of August which will offer the opportunity for others to comment and build on the response before the final submission at the end of September.  You can respond to the CHEX survey directly here

If you would further information on CHEX’s response, please contact Janet Muir on


The Steel Charitable Trust Grants (UK)

The Steel Charitable Trust is a grant-making trust supporting general charitable purposes.  Grants of between £1,000 and £25,000 are made to registered charities in the UK within the areas of; arts and culture; environment; health; education; disadvantage.  Grants are made at regular intervals during the year and the total level of grants is approximately £1,000,000, 30% of these grants will be made to organisations in the Luton and Bedfordshire area.

Applications can be made at any time as there are no application deadlines.

Customer Donation Fund (UK)

Organisations that bank with the Co-operative Bank using their Community Directplus Bank Account, have the opportunity to apply for funding through the Bank’s Customer Donation Fund.  The Customer Donation Fund grows directly in relation to customers’ deposits.  For every £100 increase in collective balance held in Community Directplus accounts, the Co-operative Bank will add 20p to the fund.  Then, twice a year, in April and October, the Bank will judge customers’ applications for project funding and distribute a minimum of £5,000 amongst those customers that are successful.  Every Community Directplus customer is entitled to make an application for funding for up to £1,000.

The next closing date for applications is the 30th September 2012.,CFSweb/Page/Business-CommunityBanking

Healthy Hearts Grants (UK)

Heart Research UK has announced the next funding round under  its Healthy Heart Grants Scheme opened on the 1st July 2012.

Heart Research UK Healthy Heart Grants support innovative projects designed to promote heart health and to prevent or reduce the risks of heart disease in specific groups or communities.  Grants of up to £10,000 are available to community groups, voluntary organisations and researchers who are spreading the healthy heart message.

The types of projects supported in the past have included:
The Ross-shire Bravehearts project in Inverness which educates adults with learning difficulties about heart health so they can take part in physical activities.

There are two applications rounds per year.  Applications are only accepted during January and February for the May round of grants and July and August for grants awarded in November, each year.

The closing date for this funding round is the 31st August 2012.

Climate Challenge Fund (Scotland)

Keep Scotland Beautiful, has announced that the next deadline for applications to the Climate challenge fund is the 7th September 2012.

Through the Climate Challenge Fund, Communities across Scotland can apply for grants of up to £150,000 per year to help reduce their carbon footprint and become more energy efficient.  Nearly £30 million in total will be awarded to communities who come forward with innovative ideas to tackle their carbon emissions.

Previous projects supported in the past have included:
Barra and Vatersay Community Ltd which received £62,000 over two years to develop their community led action plan for the first practical steps to carbon reduction.
St Matthew’s Primary School Cycle Club (East Dunbartonshire) which received £18,000  to promote cycling to primary children of all ages, their parents and teachers.

MacRobert Trust (UK)

The MacRobert Trust which makes grants to organisations in the United Kingdom (but preference is given to organisations in Scotland) has announced that the next application deadline is the 31st August 2012.  The MacRobert Trust makes grants to registered charities in the areas of:

  • Services and Sea
  • Education and Training
  • Children and Youth
  • Science, Engineering and Technology
  • Agriculture and Horticulture (including the support of organisations conducting horticultural therapy to aid mental, physical and emotional recovery and wellbeing)
  • Tarland and the Local Area.

Grants can range between £5,000 and £25,000 and occasionally the Trustees make a recurring grant of up to three years.  In addition a small grants programme facilitates awards of up to £5,000.

Funding for Individual and Small Groups to Improve their Local Communities (UK)

Groups of individuals as well as small community and voluntary groups within the UK that want to improve their communities can apply for funding through the Wakeham Trust.  The Trust are particularly interested in supporting neighbourhood projects, community arts projects, projects involving community service by young people, or projects set up by those who are socially excluded.  The Trust also support innovative projects to promote excellence in teaching (at any level, from primary schools to universities), though we never support individuals.  The Trust normally give grants to projects where an initial £75 to £750 can make a real difference to getting the project up and running.  To be eligible, applicants need to be registered charities or have access to a registered charity that will be willing to accept funds on their behalf.

Applications can be made at any time.

Food and Health Re-opens for Applications (Scotland)

Community Food and Health (Scotland) has announced that its annual small grants scheme is now open for applications.  Through the small grants scheme grants of between  £500 to £3000 are available for groups and agencies in Scotland who wish to improve access to, and take up of, a healthy, varied and balanced diet.

Previous projects supported through the scheme include; Turning Point Ayr, which received a grant of £3,000 to run healthy eating workshops within its substance misuse/recovery service; and New Horizon, Borders which was awarded a grant of £2,223 for the development of gardens for a support group for adults with mental health support needs.

The closing date will be the 10th August 2012.

Biffaward Flagship Programme Opens for Applications (UK)

Biffaward, which is one of the largest Landfill Communities Fund schemes, has announced that its Flagship programme is now open to applications.  Biffawards provides grants to support a range of community and biodiversity project.

Through the Flagship programme grants of between £150,000 and £500,000 are available to support projects that have a regional or national impact. The Flagship Scheme supports Rebuilding Biodiversity and Cultural Facilities.  Projects must be site-based, within 25 miles of a Biffa operation and ten miles of an active landfill.  The organisation making the application must be eligible to enrol with ENTRUST as an Environmental Body.

The deadline for expression of Interest is the 20th August 2012.

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