25 May 2020Green Hive move closer to their community hub

Green Hive

We were delighted to receive the end-of-project report from Green Hive recently, who used a Pebble Trust grant to carry out a feasibility study, working towards their long term vision for a permanent community hub in Nairn. It turned out to be a really worthwhile exercise, with plenty of community engagement, and they now have a 10 year growth plan. 

As a result of the study they plan to retain their two premises model - one for a workshop and the other as a welcome hub for locals to drop by and meet up. They are on the lookout for a more centrally located welcome hub.

Their waste repurposing activities were identified as having great potential for generating income and their focus for 2020 is to create decorative and reusable products from waste plastic. Have a look at their newly redesigned website to find out about all their activities and how you can get involved.

23 May 2020Nudging children outdoors during lockdown

Congratulations to Nature Nudge for securing Pebble Trust funding. 

Based in Shetland, Nature Nudge is an educational project which produces short nature learning videos with accompanying activity sheets, to support and inspire curriculum linked outdoor learning for pupils, parents and teachers during the lockdown period due to Covid-19.

The aims of Nature Nudge are to:

  • Connect children and families with Shetland nature.
  • Improve skills – in food growing, identification, physical agility and fitness, noticing and mindfulness.
  • Provide a sense of community for learners in lockdown.
  • Boost physical activity and health and wellbeing
  • Increase an awareness of climate change issues such as plastic pollution, seabird population declines, peatland restoration and local conservation efforts.
  • Support existing curriculum learning outcomes.

Find out more on the Shetland Digital School Hub

23 May 2020Scottish Farm Land Trust - Providing access to land for agroecology

The aim of the Scottish Farm Land Trust is to increase access to land for small-scale, ecological agriculture by purchasing land to be held in trust and rented fairly to new entrants and young people. The Pebble Trust are delighted to have contributed funding to help the Trust develop their experience and expertise in access to land, before making their first land purchase.

Their work in the next year will include employing a Development Coordinator to deliver their business plan; outreach to new entrants and landowners;  mapping the training and advice network for new entrant agroecological farmers; brokering their first tenancy agreements between landowners and farmers; and last but not least raise the profile of agroecological farming.

Agroecological farming looks beyond a focus on yields and considers the social and environmental benefits that farms can deliver, such as rural employment, community development and education, developing local supply chains, resilient ecosystems and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

Find out more about the Scottish Farm Land Trust on their website or follow them on Facebook.

29 April 2020Renewable heating system successfully installed in Glenurquhart Care Centre

Drumnadrochit was one of four communities chosen to pilot the Local Energy Plan and the Glenurquhart Care Centre was identified as a building with the potential to reduce energy consumption and make savings.  With help from a Pebble Trust grant, the Care Centre has now successfully installed a Air Source Heat Pump (air to water) as well as an air recovery system moving hot air from the kitchen to other parts of the building. The overall aim was to reduce energy consumption and costs as well as improving conditions for staff and clients who are vulnerable members of the community.

The outcomes include anticipated savings of £3000 pa as well as warmer and more comfortable environment for staff and customers. Monitoring and findings on energy consumption will be shared with Care Project  members and local and national energy organisations.

30 March 2020Sustainable community garden for Helmsdale

Congratulations to Helmsdale Kitchen Garden for all they have achieved since they took over an empty piece of land with a vision to create a sustainable community garden. The garden now includes a polytunnel, shed, orchard and a solar powered irrigation system. 133kg of veg was produced in 2019 and they hope to expand this in future years.

The garden also provides education, with skills and information workshops, helps reduce social isolation and provides local employment.

The Pebble Trust grant covered a range of work including completion of the access road, provision of topsoil and a sustainable water supply for the polytunnel.

24 March 2020Bike Revolution in Moray

Getting more people cycling is never easy so we were really encouraged to hear back from Outfit Moray about their Bike Revolution project. We granted funding for:

  • Installing bike lockers on their forecourt to facilitate collection and return of bikes for weekend hire
  • Sending two volunteers on a Velotech Mechanics Silver training course.
  • Running additional subsidised bike maintenance classes with local partner organisations. 

Outfit Moray's CEO Tony Brown summarised:
"This project has been a fantastic injection of resources into our Bike Revolution project, not only brightening the forecourt with the eminently useful bike lockers, but also enabling us to get out and about into the community, meeting new customers and training local people up in essential bike maintenance skills. Furthermore, supporting our volunteers to gain new qualifications has not only benefitted the capacity of the workshop, but has also enabled us to give something back, showing how valued they are to the organisation."

23 March 2020Energy in motion in the Western isles

The Outer Hebrides experience high fuel costs, high rates of fuel poverty, high dependency on personal car use (as the public transport is limited) and low uptake of electric vehicles and active travel.

To help change this, we were delighted to contribute funding to the Western Isles Energy in Motion project. The aims of this Community Energy Scotland project are to enable residents and community groups across the Western Isles to reduce their climate impact by:

  • Raising awareness and education
  • Replacing fossil-fuelled travel with more sustainable transport including active travel, shared travel options, electric vehicles and e-bikes.
  • Supporting communities to explore owning electric vehicle charge points linked to locally generated renewables and where possible earn an income while providing a vital local service.

A development officer based in the Western Isles will support communities  by coordinating information provision, electric vehicle try-out events with community groups, and coordinating strategic planning of travel options, encouraging car-sharing and active travel among residents.

21 March 2020Growing community supported agriculture in Scotland

A stronger connection between producers and consumers, access to good low-cost local food, providing a more stable and sustainable model for farmers - these are the aims of the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) project we recently funded. The funds will go towards building community supported agriculture in Scotland, in particular the Highlands & islands, supporting and growing the existing schemes and helping start new ones. Outcomes will include peer mentoring visits, webinars, a gathering in the Highland & Islands and publicity materials.

CSA farms give people access to good low-cost local food, produced in a way which supports farmers, builds communities and cares for the environment. People become farm members, offering payments or volunteer hours, and in return receive a share of the harvest. Visit their website to find out more. 

19 March 2020Engaging primary pupils in climate change and sustainability

Education at all levels is an essential element of the global response to climate change. So we had no hesitation in funding Highland One World's project to increase awareness among primary-aged pupils of the issues of climate change and sustainability.  The project plans to deliver training courses to primary school teachers across Highland to develop their knowledge and skills. Teachers would gain innovative, active learning and teaching strategies which would help engage pupils in the issues around climate change. Find out more and explore the resources and training on offer on the Highland One World website.

09 March 2020Successful Sustainable Renovation event in Edinburgh

We had a great turnout to the Sustainable Renovation event in Edinburgh last Thursday with over 100 people and some great speakers. Special thanks to David Somervell and The Scottish Ecological Design Association for organising.

Keep an eye on the Sustainable Renovation Guide Facebook page for future events round Scotland.

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