Cala Homes sheds light on local good causes with annual bursary awards

Roslin Men's Shed (l-r) John Currie, Stewart McLean, Richard Price and Jim Hiddleston. Pic: Ian Georgeson
Roslin Men's Shed (l-r) John Currie, Stewart McLean, Richard Price and Jim Hiddleston. Pic: Ian Georgeson

Five local organisations, devoted to making a difference to their local communities, are among the recipients of the annual CALA Homes Bursary, run in partnership with the Midlothian Advertiser.

Roslin Men’s Shed, Cousland Village Hall Association, Gorebridge Gala Day Committee, Loanhead Housebound Group and SiMBA, along with eight other successful applicants, have each been given a share of £10,000 after deliberation from a panel of CALA staff and Janet Bee, news editor of the Midlothian Advertiser.

From play groups to environmental trusts, the scheme – which is in its second year in Midlothian – has awarded grants to a variety of good causes throughout the region.

The five worthy causes featured highlight some of the important work being done within Midlothian and how CALA’s donations will help make a difference.

Roslin Men’s Shed (£1000) provides recreational facilities to advance the social needs, health and wellbeing of men of all ages and backgrounds living in Roslin and surrounding areas.

Richard Witney said: “The shed helps improve social inclusion and gives the men a focus and somewhere to meet and do things together.

“We’re based at Midlothian Council’s workshop and rent some space from them. We do woodwork at the moment so some of the guys come and make shelves and chairs. We’re now starting to think about bird boxes and other things we could perhaps sell and give the proceeds back to the community.

“To get this amount of money is great and allows us to budget for certain equipment we want and also helps us source our own space which is something we’ve been wanting to do for a while.”

Gorebridge Gala Day Committee (£1000) runs the yearly gala day and a week of events, including five-a-side football competitions, family days, dancing and senior citizen bingo nights.

Nancy Craig said: “Gorebridge is expanding rapidly and we are trying to involve the whole village. If we are unable to raise necessary funds the gala may cease.

“We try to include the whole community so the money will be used towards a range of activities including subsidising activities on the Gala field, the senior citizens evening, children’s disco and the fancy dress event.”

Cousland Village Hall Association (£450) runs the facility for the benefit of the rural community, including groups, clubs, education and recreational activities and events such as the gala day, Hogmanay and bonfire celebrations.

Lorraine Chapman said: “Our application to CALA Homes was to start the ball rolling to be able to purchase and house a defibrillator within the village which could save someone’s life in an emergency situation.

“We have further fundraising to do before we can purchase, mount and record this defibrillator, but this grant has given our fundraising a good start.”

Loanhead Housebound Group (£250) supports vulnerable people in the local community, allowing them to get out and socialise with others.

Eric Monteith said: “We supply a lunch club for up to 12 people who are housebound or on their own every Thursday in Loanhead Parish Church to help combat loneliness.

“They get the chance to have a cup of tea and lunch and play games after. There’s a bus that goes to pick them up and drops them back off at home after.

“We need people like CALA as it’s an incredible help. We’ve been struggling to get money and for a lot of people it’s the highlight of their week.”

SiMBA (Simpsons Memory Box Appeal) (£850) supports anyone who has endured the loss of a baby during pregnancy or close to the time of birth.

As part of their support, SiMBA donates memory boxes to hospitals, hospices and individuals on request and holds a fortnightly drop-in session for volunteers who knit items for the boxes.

Gillian Wells said: “The pain of losing a baby is an unimaginable feeling. At SiMBA, we offer support to help guide bereaved parents and families through this tragic time, and provide memory boxes as a way of cherishing moments with their little ones.

“We currently have more than 1000 volunteers who help knit blankets, teddies and crochet butterflies for the memory boxes which are donated to 261 hospital units across the UK and Ireland.

“Right now we are mainly encouraging people to get involved through social media, but we plan on using the money from CALA Homes to reach out to those who don’t use social media and create posters and a physical knitting book, we would also love to visit any local craft groups to share our patterns and see if they can help us.”

For further information on CALA Homes’ 2019 Community Bursary, visit www.cala.co.uk/bursary-midlothian.