Bursary made a difference in its first year in Midlothian

www.iangeorgesonphotography.co.uk'Cala Homes, The Lost Gardens of Penicuik, Volunteers
www.iangeorgesonphotography.co.uk'Cala Homes, The Lost Gardens of Penicuik, Volunteers

This week we take our last look at the local groups who benefited from the recent inaugural CALA Homes Bursary.

Run in partnership with the Midlothian Advertiser, the scheme saw 13 successful recipients awarded a share of £10,000.

www.iangeorgesonphotography.co.uk'Pictured: Iain Anderson, Police Scotland youth volunteers'CALA Homes (East) to present cheques to successful applicants of the Midlothian Bursary at Mayburn Park, Straiton.

www.iangeorgesonphotography.co.uk'Pictured: Iain Anderson, Police Scotland youth volunteers'CALA Homes (East) to present cheques to successful applicants of the Midlothian Bursary at Mayburn Park, Straiton.

The CALA Bursary Scheme awarded £1,000 to the Lost Gardens of Penicuik, to go towards a medium-sized polytunnel in a newly-cleared area of the lower garden. The aim of the restoration project is to breathe new life into the garden, allow fresh produce to grow and encourage visitors to come in and enjoy it.

Jayne Kelly, a volunteer for Penicuik Development Trust, which runs the project, said: “The garden acts as a tranquil haven which enhances the physical and mental well-being of all who spend time there.

“Our plans are to turn this area into a productive growing area, creating a sheltered space for growing a variety of plants, keeping wildlife at bay and extending the growing season.

“The polytunnel will help benefit our older, more vulnerable volunteers as it makes gardening more accessible to everyone. The bursary is such a big help towards improving and maintaining the garden and we’re very excited to get to work.

“It’s great to be able to grow local food for local people. The Lost Garden really is beautiful and it’s great to get people from the community out of their homes and socialise with each other.”

Midlothian Group Police Scotland Youth Volunteers, which reaches out to 13-18-year-olds who want to make a difference in their communities, was awarded £1000 from the bursary fund.

The group is led by Iain Anderson, a police officer and group co-ordinator. The youth volunteers group is made up of young people from six high schools in Midlothian – around a quarter of which come from challenging backgrounds

He said: “This funding is so important to us, as we are looking to increase the amount of work we are doing in Midlothian.

“The money will be put towards having people trained to use minibuses, so we can offer more trips out - and attend events where our volunteers can help out.

“We offer all sorts of practical training - and the kids get to learn from top police officers as well.”

The Edinburgh College Development Trust was awarded £500 from the CALA scheme. The donation will be offered solely to Midlothian students in financial need.

The trust’s chairman, Dr Allan Colquhoun, said: “Education should be for everyone. That’s why the Development Trust works hard to give all students studying at Edinburgh College support to finish their course and opportunities to gain additional skills.

“Sometimes students find themselves in financial hardship, struggle to balance the bills with their studies and, sadly, are forced to drop out.

“We don’t want that to happen, and that’s exactly what this contribution from the CALA bursary will aim to prevent, adding to the existing measures we have in place to help those in need.”