Grow Elgin – Bulletin

Bulletin 1 – early April 2020  

Welcome to the first REAP Grow Elgin Bulletin! We’ll be publishing regularly in these interesting times – we aim to give you wee ideas and inspiration to keep or start growing your own food (and composting) at home, even with limited resources, and even if you don’t have a garden!

There’s a mixture of standalone facts and tips, plus links to videos, webpages and Facebook posts, both from REAP and many other canny folk out there. If you find things here useful, let us know how you get on – photos are always welcome and we will share them on our website and Facebook to inspire others.

If you would like to download this bulletin to share with others please click here.

Enjoy and stay safe and well!

  • Nature waits for no (wo)man – we’re now right in the busy spring growing season. It’s a good time to start first outside sowings outside of certain veggie seeds – first thing of course is prepping your veg beds. Check out our super quick video by clicking here.
  • Hungry Gap?! Not for all though – you might still have veggies ready to eat right now in your garden. Our Dorothy does – check out Facebook posts here of her photos, plus ones of spring growth at Cooper Park, to bring joy to your heart (and a hunger pang to your belly perhaps…).
  • Got some seeds and a wee bit of compost? Finding it hard to get outside at the moment or just wanting to start off more tender crops like tomatoes or courgettes inside? Here’s something to do with the kids – make yourself a windowsill planter!
  • Can’t make it far at the moment? Don’t let that stop you! This blog by local naturalist Dan Puplett has great tips for nature connection for wellbeing, from inside your window or in your garden!
  • The RHS Campaign for School Gardening has some lovely accessible resources – check them out.
  • REAP Growing packs: if you live in the Elgin area and would like to get growing, we are offering a Grow Your Own kit to get you started; they’ll be great for getting started at home with children. We need to reach new people through our project, so the kits are mainly for new growers. However, even if you’ve been involved with Grow Elgin before, you can get some free seeds by introducing a friend in Elgin new to growing when they get their pack. There’ll be more information on this in our next bulletin – or call us on 01542 888070 and leave a message.


  • Sow seeds direct outside e.g. salad leaves, spinach and carrot. Need tips? Our factsheet might help.
  • Chit seed potatoes (if you haven’t already) so they’re best ready to plant later this month
  • Get into your compost bin/heap and use the free compost in your veg beds – see our factsheets.
  • Listen to relaxing birdsong – and read more about it from the RSPB.



Growing tatties in a bag

You can grow tatties in a bag anywhere, minimum mess and a lovely harvest. Use a compost bag, sturdy old shopper or any other strong bag you have. Kids love digging for buried treasure when harvest time comes. Now is a good time to get planting. Gardeners’ World has a short step-by-step guide here.

You can ‘chit’ your tatties to get a faster and better crop – this means leaving them somewhere cool and light for a few weeks to start sprouting. Gardeners’ World has more information here. You can grow them without chitting though, so if you’ve run out of time, it’s still worth planting them.

Covid Energy advice

REAP are still here to help

As the situation around COVID-19 keeps developing, we’d like to reassure you that we’re still here to help with energy advice and worries. Our team is working from home and we’re not offering home visits for the time being, but we can still help with free and impartial advice about managing fuel bills, keeping warm and referring people to other help locally where we can.

Contacting us for help

If you or anyone you know is worried about their energy bills or struggling to stay warm at home, please continue to refer them to us as normal. We won’t be able to offer them a home visit, but can respond if you phone us or email. Please be aware this may take a day or two during the week and longer at weekends or on Fridays:

Ring our land line 01542 88 8070. If we can’t answer your call, please leave a message with your phone number clearly stated in the message and we’ll get back to you. We will call you back from staff mobile phones, not from the landline.

Email Emails will be forwarded to our energy advice staff for attention – we’ll email you back unless you give us a phone number to call if that is preferable to you.

Home Energy Scotland are still running their free advice line too – call 0808 808 2282

See our Coronavirus info page for information on

  • Support for people on pre-payment meters
  • Saving energy when you’re stuck at home
  • General Coronavirus advice
  • Coronavirus scams and fraud

Take care and keep warm, best wishes REAP

REAP Office Closed

In light of the most recent UK Government advice, all REAP staff will be working at home/ remotely from Wednesday 18th March.
As a result, all home visits and public events are suspended from today and our office closed to the public.
However, we are still working to promote our aims of environmental awareness, tackling fuel poverty and connecting the community. We’ll be working in safe, creative ways to further those aims during these unusual times – do keep in touch via our website, email, Facebook and by telephone.
We will be able to provide free and impartial energy advice by telephone and email and will be checking the office number regularly. You can leave a voicemail by calling 01542 888 070 or getting in touch by emailing
Let’s keep safe, keep positive and look after each other!

Cooper Park Bi-monthly 14th March 10.30am-12.30pm

We’ll be tending to the edible beds in Cooper Park behind the tennis courts, beside the play park, this Saturday. Feel free to drop in any time to see what’s going on and find out more about the beds, or lend a hand and learn some practical gardening skills. All are welcome.

We run these sessions every other month so please keep an eye on our Events calendar or Facebook to see when the next one is and what else is going on. Events are free to attend.


This week is Big Energy Saving Week 2020 and REAP are holding various drop in sessions to offer free and impartial energy advice at the REAP Office in Keith, Moray Citizens Advice Bureau in Elgin and at a pop up café in Burghead.




For tips on how you can save energy, click here.

Hill of Towie Community Benefit Funding applications

The latest round of funding is now open, thanks to Hill of Towie wind farm developer, RES. 

Applications from constituted groups in the fund area of benefit are welcome and the next closing date is Thursday 12th March. Applicants must meet at least one of the fund aims, which are:

  • to improve the social and community life within of the area of benefit
  • to safeguard and improve the natural environment and promote its proper use

If you’ve never applied for funding before and need some help, or if you just want to check your plans or projects are eligible, please contact REAP for an informal chat. We’re happy to answer any questions you have about the application process or how to fill in forms. You’ll find all the paperwork you need on the downloads page and paper copies are also available, just ask. 

Area of benefit map

The Hill of Towie Community Benefit Fund Area of Benefit

The area of benefit encompasses the parishes of Botriphnie (around Drummuir), Boharm (around Mulben) and Keith and Newmill. 

Festive Opening Times – and Waste Less this Christmas!

REAP would like to wish everyone a great festive season. Our offices in Mid Street will be closed from Thursday 19th December at 3pm until 9.30am on Monday 6th January. To help reduce waste this Xmas, have a look at our fun guide to less waste at this time of year. Best wishes to all!

Save waste at Christmas – All the joy without the guilt!

Did you know that across the UK at this festive time of year:

  • 6 million Christmas trees end up in landfill;
  • 2 million dinners are scraped into the bin;
  • Enough gravy is chucked to fill an Olympic swimming pool;
  • Enough tin foil is used to almost cover Perthshire;
  • 300,00 tonnes of card packaging gets used and often not recycled
  • 9 million slices of turkey (= 263,000 turkeys) get binned.

Wow!! But worry ye not – we can all do our bit for the planet without making it a Scrooge-like Christmas, in fact having more fun and getting creative. Here are some wee ideas that all the family can get stuck into!


  • Keep and use leftovers – turkey samosas, mince pie ice cream or trifle, Christmas dinner pie, Christmas pudding crumble and Brussels sprout soup are just a few of many ideas! Check out these links:
  • Freeze leftovers – gravy into ice cube trays for future stews etc.; you can even freeze cream if you whip it first.
  • Cook less meat and veg but better quality (e.g. organic, local) – you’ll spend the same but get more goodness for you and the planet.
  • Brush don’t peel your veg (lots of nutrients are in the skin) or if you do, make veggie crisps from the peel!
  • Make sure food waste goes in your brown bin so it doesn’t go to landfill ; or better still compost it – contact us for help with this.

Presents and decorations

  • Make presents – show your love by making your own biscuits, jams and chutneys (reusing jars too) or craft There’s loads of recipes and ideas online. The personal touch goes down a storm!
  • Pre-loved presents loads of barely used second-hand gadgets and kitchenware are out there online – save your wallet and
  • Reduce packaging – look for presents with less packaging and with no non-recyclable packaging (e.g. polystyrene inserts)
  • Or buy someone an experience, whether it’s gin tasting, theatre tickets, whale spotting or a massage.
  • Unwanted gifts why not sell or donate something that’s sat unused in your cupboard from last Christmas
  • Wrapping paper – scrunch it and see – if it unfolds when you open your hand it can’t recycled. Avoid glittery and metallic paper
  • DIY wrapping – have fun reusing your favourite magazines and comic books or even funny newspaper Use ribbon or string rather than sticky tape. Reuse gift bags and boxes.
  • Cards – make your own , buy cards made from recycled paper, or send e-cards – especially your own design with a lovely photo
  • Christmas crackers – 40 million get pulled and go straight in the bin, with non-recyclable plastic toys and glittery Do we really need them? Or search for retailers (e.g. John Lewis ) with greener ones.
  • DIY decorations – get creative! Look online for ideas like bunting from old Xmas cards or baubles from old light bulbs, and natural decorations rock! Deck the halls with boughs of holly…and ivy, mistletoe and pine Make a wee tree from twigs and decorate with orange slices. Let your imagination run riot! Check out Pinterest
  • Keep reusing decorations and artificial trees as they can’t be recycled. There are loads of second-hand bargains on eBay etc
  • Recycle – your real Christmas tree (or buy a pot one) and batteries as well as the cans, bottles, wrapping, cards and packaging!

More Ideas!!

Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund generates more local grant funds

The Hill of Towie Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund has awarded almost £50,000 of funding for local projects and groups in the Keith area. The latest round of funding saw 10 local organisations boosted by grant awards totalling £44,585.02

Applications must benefit community/social life or the natural environment of Boharm, Botriphnie, or Keith and as usual, applications covered diverse projects and plans. This round featured funding for a defibrillator, health & wellbeing sessions, Christmas lights and summer flowers, as well as other improvements to community spaces.

One of the beneficiaries of this funding round is the Loft Youth Project in Keith, who received money for sessional youth worker time. Their application made a strong case for the social benefit of investing in young people

Project Manager Sharon Duncan said, “We are over the moon to receive this much needed additional funding. The services we provide are in greater demand than ever. They range from running small groups for young people who need some intensive support, to transition groups that have proved to be very effective in helping primary seven pupils with the move to secondary school. Being able to fund extra staff hours will help us meet all these needs and continue to invest in our local young people.”

Beneficiaries for this round of funding were:
Mulben Picnic Committee – £7,920 to remove a derelict building from the playpark site
Keith 50+ Group – £500 for health and wellbeing outings and activities
Drummuir & Botriphnie Community Trust – £17,428.38 to level and resurface the hall car park and £900 towards plants and additional planters for ‘Drummuir in Bloom’
Rrrrallye Team – £344.00 towards venue hire for their annual Fun Day and Car Show
Keith in Flower – £3,700.00 for additional planters for ‘Keeping Keith in Flower’
Boharm Public Hall – £1,866.99 for a 24/7 public access defibrillator at the hall
Keith Golf Club – £3,750.00 for a rough cutting roller mower
The Loft Youth Project – £6,012.51 for additional sessional staff
Keith Community Council Christmas Lights Committee – £2,163.14 to refurbish lights

The Hill of Towie Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund was set up by RES, operator of the 21-turbine site near Drummuir, to support groups and projects that benefit Boharm, Botriphnie and Keith. Since it was established in 2012, the fund has awarded 148 grants totalling £ 637,395.

The deadline for the next round of funding is Thursday 12th March. The Decision Making Panel is always keen to hear from new applicants. You can talk through ideas and check eligibility, with the friendly staff at REAP. Get in touch by calling 01542 888 070 or emailing Fund application forms and guidance notes are available for download on the REAP website and paper copies are available on request.

Energy Advice drop in sessions

Jenni from REAP is out and about the next few weeks. She’ll be on the Information Bus in Elgin and at 2 Quarriers Carers’ Cafes – one in Elgin, one in Forres. Details are on the Events page or you can keep up with us on Facebook

We can offer free and impartial energy advice to households in Moray- from understanding your bills, checking you’re on the best deal, help with your heating controls, energy saving at home and advising you about any grants and loans.