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Funding can put a spring in your step!

Spring 2019 has got off to a great start for 14 local community groups and organisations who have shared over £121,000 of grant funding in April and May. The Hill of Towie Community Benefit Fund and Edintore Community Benefit fund are made available by developers RES and Edintore Wind Farm Limited. Applications providing social and or environmental benefit to the fund areas are welcomed.

The next deadline for the Hill of Towie Community Benefit Fund is Thursday 10th October and the next Edintore deadline will be in early 2020. If you are looking for funding, you’ll find details of the fund aims and application forms on the Community Grants page. Grant applications can be submitted at any time before the deadline.

If you have any questions or are new to applying for funding, please get in touch for an informal chat. REAP will check your application form for completeness ahead of application deadlines and we always urge applicants not to leave it until the last minute. 

Both funds aim to provide social and/or environmental benefit. Full criteria and eligibility are in the guidance notes. You can also read our ‘Top Tips’ advice on what makes a good application. Each fund has an area of benefit. The Hill of Towie Community Benefit Fund covers Keith, Newmill and the parishes of Boharm and Botriphnie. Applicants must be based in this area. The Edintore Wind Farm has a primary area of benefit of a 5 mile radius of the wind farm, and a secondary area benefit outside this area. Priority is given to applications benefiting people in the primary area of benefit.

Hill of Towie Community Benefit Fund Area of Benefit

Edintore Community Benefit Fund Area of Benefit









The list of successful applicants for the 3rd round of Edintore Grant funding and the 14th Round of Hill of Towie funding is as follows:

Edintore Community Benefit Fund

  • Keith Roller Bladers & Skaters was awarded £7,780 towards the final stage of refurbishing the skate park
  • Dufftown Royal British Legion was awarded £20,000 towards the costs of refurbishing the toilets
  • Keith Royal British Legion was awarded £7,000 towards the costs of refurbishing toilets
  • Keith Golf Club was awarded £10,000 for a replacement mower    
  • Strathisla Pipe Band was awarded £5,000 towards the costs of a Massed Pipe Band even to celebrate their Centenary
  • Keith Trefoil Guild was awarded £700 for a laptop and projector     
  • Longmore Hall was awarded £15,000 towards costs of upgrading the hall

The Hill of Towie Community Benefit Fund

  • Keith Royal British Legion was awarded £7,000 towards the costs of refurbishing the toilets
  • Drummuir & Botriphnie Community Trust was awarded £7,551.54 to resurface the hall car park and £1,716.99 to purchase and install a defibrillator
  • Drummuir 21 was awarded £700 for a St Fumac Statue
  • Boharm Public Hall was awarded £17,742 to replace the hall railings and gates
  • Sunshine Developmental Playgroup was awarded £200 for being seen out and about
  • Keith Country Dance Club was awarded £200.00 to help with running costs
  • The Loft Youth Project was awarded £997.50 for an Awards Group
  • Keith Country Show was awarded £10,000 towards the costs of phase 2 of power distribution phase throughout the show ground
  • Longmore Hall was awarded £10,000.00 towards the costs of upgrading the stage

Energy Advice

REAP is currently running the ENERGY ADVICE MORAY project offering free energy advice to households across Moray. This work is funded by Moray Council through their HEEPS scheme (Home Energy Efficiency Programmes for Scotland). We’re sending invitations to households that have had improvements under the scheme offering free and impartial advice, but anyone who lives in Moray may be eligible for advice. This may be extended to a home visit if necessary.
Please call us on 01542 888070 or email info@reapscotland.org.uk and one of our trained Energy Advisers will get back to you. This service is currently funded to the end of March 2018, but REAP is urgently seeking funding to extend this beyond March, especially to those who are spending a large percentage of their income on heating their home – defined as being in ‘fuel poverty’.

Wind Farm Community Benefit Funds

Deadlines for the next funding rounds for the Hill of Towie and Edintore Community Benefit funds have been set. Please not that applications can be received at any time before the deadline and applicants are urged not to leave it to the last minute. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Support is available to complete applications if needed and you are welcome to discuss your application and check eligibility with REAP staff before applying.

Edintore Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund closing date for applications is Friday 15th March 2019
Hill of Towie Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund closing date for applications is Friday 5th April 2019

Details of the criteria and aims of each fund, the areas of benefit each fund covers, and application forms and guidance notes are available on the Downloads page. Paper copies are available from the REAP office. 

Low Carbon Living

The day to day choices we all make can help to fight climate change, save us money and make us feel good. Lots of local people are already doing their part with greener shopping, cooking, eating and growing. If you want to check how you’re doing, or see what other simple changes you could make, take a look at the new Grow Elgin ‘Low Carbon Living Leaflet’ – available on the Downloads page here and Scottish Government’s Climate Challenge Fund ‘Guide to Climate Change’ here 

If you’d like to know more about why Climate Change is happening and what we can all do, here is a short video from Keep Scotland Beautiful.



Community Growing in South Lesmurdie

South Lesmurdie folk – Local residents are keen to get growing and have been working with REAP to get things started. We’d really love to hear from everyone in South Lesmurdie about their ideas for community food gardens and activities.What would you like to see? What do you want to grow, pick and eat? If you’ve not seen the proposals, please contact us to get more information and a simple feedback form

Hill of Towie Community Community Benefit Fund Deadline and Elections

Funding Applications
The next deadline for funding applications for the Hill of Towie Community Benefit fund is

Friday 28th September 2018.

Applications must come from groups that operate in the fund area of benefit and must fit at least one of the fund social or environmental aims. Forms and guidance notes are available on the website downloads page and hard copies are available on request. You are welcome to contact REAP for an informal chat about your application or for any support you need in completing the application process. 
The fund is available thanks to RES UK who operate the 21 turbine site at the Hill of Towie. Since being established in 2012, the fund has made 119 grant awards totaling just over £521,000.

Community Representatives
This year, nominations are open for the two community representative positions on the Decision Making Panel. One representative is from Botriphnie (Drummuir area) and one from Boharm (Mulben area). Community representatives must live in the are they wish to represent and have two nominees who also live in that area. They will typically be asked to assess applications and attend decision making meetings twice yearly and will sit for three years before standing down. Forms are available on the downloads page and hard copies are available on request. The deadline for nomination forms to reach REAP is 15th September 2018. If there are multiple nominations, elections will be held on 15th October in Drummuir Hall and 16th October in Mulben Hall. If you need any more information or want to have an informal discussion about the role, please contact REAP. 

Grow Elgin events and courses in June

A two-part Gardening course for Beginners is starting 6th of June and a composting workshop on 27th June where you can learn how to turn your waste into garden gold! Both are free but booking is essential and places are limited so don’t delay. See details and the link to book on our events page or contact REAP.

There’s also a drop in session at the community beds in Cooper Park on 16th June – no booking needed, just come along for as long as you’d like – details on the Events page.

Dorothy has Royal (Horticultural Society) Approval

After 3 years of blood, sweat and study followed by fingernail shredding exams, oor Dorothy has achieved her Level 2 Royal Horticultural Society Certificates in Principles of Horticulture and Principles of Garden Planning, Establishment and Maintenance.

She said, “It has been hard work but totally worth it. It has been great to study then go out and deliver my new knowledge to the public at our sessions and workshops. It really reinforced my learning and it was great to pass on information.”

We are all very proud of Dorothy!

REAP seeks Board Members!!

We’re looking for Board members to help oversee REAP’s work and support our staff and volunteers. No previous Board experience is required. The Board meets about 8 times a year, refreshments and travel expenses are provided and as our current Chair Elizabeth says, “You get more out of it than you put in!”

We are looking for reliable people with an interest in any or all aspects of our work:

  • helping people grow their own food, compost more, cut food waste and carbon emissions
  • therapeutic gardening
  • providing free and impartial energy advice to households in Moray
  • administering local community benefit funds
  • Working with community groups, carrying out research, developing our social enterprise and overseeing the business of being a local environmental charity

If that sounds like something you’d be interested in, please get in touch to arrange an informal chat by calling 01542 888070 or emailing info@reapscotland.org.uk You are welcome to come and visit our office, some of the places we work and meet the Board without making any commitment.

Busy Winter with Grow Elgin 2

Community Gardening in Cooper Park

We’ve had two of our bi-monthly community gardening sessions in Cooper Park, at the end of January and end of March. Individuals and families joined us to plant soft fruit bushes in a new bed next to ‘our’ raised beds in the park, as well as weeding the existing areas and harvesting herbs and kale still growing in the beds. These sessions are always great opportunities for volunteers to get involved with REAP’s work and community food growing and harvesting as well as learning new gardening skills and ideas for more sustainable lifestyles.

Work with schools …

Our growing and composting work with schools around Elgin continued through the end of the winter. Classes in New Elgin Primary School and the Eco group in West End Primary school made windowsill planters and newspaper pots from recycled materials so each class could start to grow vegetable seedlings indoors  to be ready for planting out in Spring. A large raised bed in Moriston Road  outside Bishopmill primary school has been adopted by their Eco-group and planted up with herbs and soft fruit bushes (picture below), and next door at Elgin Academy, their Eco-group and a lunchtime youth group have been busy clearing their raised beds for spring, planting more fruit bushes and installing a compost bin (picture below)  to take compostable material from two caddies sited in the school. Seafield Primary School have had a refresher course in composting and have been out sowing veg seed, and Linkwood primary school, Elgin’s newest primary school which consists of one P1 class in temporary  accommodation without permanent garden space have also started growing veg seed in homemade recycled windowsill, as well as outdoors in two whisky barrel planters kindly donated by Speyside Cooperage. St Sylvester’s primary P1s have been busy sowing vegetable seeds in their raised beds and the P4s have taken responsibility for a new wormery to compost  organic waste from the classroom and staff room. And speaking of worms, we arranged a couple of performances of an eco-drama group from Glasgow’s play ‘The Worm’ which held youngsters from VIP childcare and a P2 class from New Elgin Primary enthralled with a lively story supported by imaginative props and music and two enthusiastic actors, as well as a chance to get up close to real worms in their wormery at the end (see picture below)


… and in the community

At the Elgin Youth Cafe we started to re-establish a food growing garden outside their new kitchen extension, by building and planting up a herb spiral with the help of some enthusiastic youngsters, as well as installing some large and decorative plant pots with vegetable seedlings. And on a  beautifully sunny Saturday morning we planted 18 soft fruit bushes (red and black currants and gooseberries) with local residents in the South Lesmurdie area of Elgin. The bushes will nicely occupy the small round vacant spaces left in some decorative cobbled banks, and provide a healthy snack for any passing residents come the summer and autumn.

Food garden at Arrows

Arrows is the Drug and Alcohol support service  of the Quarriers charity in Elgin, and during a very busy and physical day REAP staff and volunteers, assisted by Arrows service users, turned an garden area overgrown with heather and pampas grass around the back of the Arrows offices into four 2m2 raised beds planted with herbs and vegetable seeds, as well as a rhubarb plant and soft fruit area with currant bushes and raspberry canes. Not only will this new garden produce healthy local food, it will also be a great resource for Arrows service users to benefit from the therapeutic effects of gardening and learning new skills. One of REAP’s volunteers will continue to work with Arrows to keep the garden there going too.

Composting with individuals

As well as working with schools, charities and community groups we have also been supporting individuals to reduce their CO2 emissions by, for example making their own compost. As part of our work with primary schools we offered families a free compost bin and kitchen caddy. When we delivered the compost bins to these families we installed the bin in their garden and gave them a little workshop about composting, why it’s a good idea for the planet, and how it will benefit them, as well as the basic ins-and outs of composting such as what can and cannot be composted and how to keep the composting process in the bin active and thriving. We’ve now installed 20 compost bins in private gardens.

Learning new skills

As well as up-skilling people in all the above activities we also ran two more specialised introductory workshops. Nine participants learned all about apple tree pruning under the experienced and expert guidance of Chris and Vicky from Woodland Wanderer. Amongst a lovely small orchard of venerable old apple trees on a small farm just outside Elgin we learned about the theory and what specialist tool to use, and practiced and discussed pruning first hand on apple tree branches pruned from the orchard’s trees.

We ran an Introduction to Permaculture workshop for 11 participants ranging from novice  to experienced gardeners. As well as discussing the basic principles of Permaculture, participants learned about forest gardening, a low-maintenance sustainable plant-based food production and agroforestry system based on woodland ecosystems. Tutor, Jonny Barton spoke from personal experience of building a straw bale house. In the afternoon we visited the Gardenshare community garden to look at community food growing and composting locally, and how Gardenshare ideas and practices related to Permaculture ideas.