Bursary making a difference

Yvonne Mitchell and Mark Halliday, Penicuik community first responders'at CALA Homes (East)at Mayburn Park, Straiton.
Yvonne Mitchell and Mark Halliday, Penicuik community first responders'at CALA Homes (East)at Mayburn Park, Straiton.

We continue to showcase the amazing work being carried out by the groups who received a CALA Homes Midlothian Bursary this year.

From foodbanks to youth volunteers, this year’s scheme, in partnership with the Advertiser, has awarded grants to a variety of good causes throughout the region.

Penicuik Community First Responders was warded £500 to fund a third publicly accessible defibrillator.

Mark Halliday, chairman of the group, said: “We’re so grateful for this funding. It could really make a difference to someone’s life in Penicuik.

“We’ve built up a current network of nine active responders, and we’re hoping to expand further in the coming years by recruiting more. 

“That has enabled us to achieve a response in an average time of just four minutes.

“Not just that, over the past 12 years on average we have attended in the region of 265 call-outs a year – which gives a sense of the scale of the operation.”

Beeslack Life Saving Club is a volunteer-run organisation aimed at advancing the education and training in water safety and drowning prevention.

Through the CALA Community Bursary scheme, the group has been awarded £500 which will be used primarily to train teenagers to become future life-saving instructors.

Committee member Jane Shepherd said: “The funding is allowing our older club members to complete the RLSS UK Survive and Save instructor qualification – paving the way to pass on their lifesaving knowledge to the next generation.

“Now, with CALA’s help, we’re able to take the club forward and help to secure its success for the future club members. We couldn’t be happier to have received this funding. It’s a great initiative, and we’re so thankful we were chosen from the large number of applications.”

Founded in 1988 Lothiansound is a talking newspaper that enables blind or partially sighted people to have access to news stories, The group has been awarded £500 from the bursary scheme for equipment including memory sticks and recording devices.

Lothiansound’s treasurer, Eric Mulholland, said: “We are run purely by volunteers and the product, which is stored on USB sticks, is provided free of charge to listeners.

“Our costs are about to increase significantly as our current premises will soon no longer be available to us.

“So we’re very grateful to have received this CALA Bursary as we will be able to continue our important work.”