A local dance group, a junior football team and a heritage centre are among the 26 community organisations and charities throughout the Scottish Borders and Midlothian to benefit from the final £6k round of the Borders Railway Community Fund.

The Community Fund was set-up in 2013 to help support community engagement and safety. Since then, a total of £15k has been distributed to 70 local groups. This last round of funding comes three months before the construction of the new railway is completed.

Hugh Wark, project director, Network Rail, said: “This last round of funding marks the completion of the Community Fund initiative we started two years ago to help provide a lasting legacy for this flagship infrastructure project.

“We are delighted that we have been able to support so many fantastic projects and we look forward to watching their progress.”

Some of this year’s beneficiaries and their projects include:
• Galashiels Academy - an engineering project that looks at the science behind the motion of trains
• Newtongrange Primary – working with junior road safety officers from the school to deliver a road safety campaign for pupils, parents and the wider community
• Newtongrange Church of Scotland – increasing activities for elderly members of the community to stimulate social contact and tackle loneliness
• The Tweedbank Fair Committee – contributing towards the costs of this year’s event

Suzanne Pritchard, a science teacher at Galashiels Academy, said: “This grant will allow us to invest in teaching materials for our engineering project to help pupils understand how trains operate, as well as highlight the associated risks in living near the new railway. It could even help to inspire some future engineers in the process!”

Janine Kettrick, treasurer for the parent council at Newtongrange Primary School, said: “The money will allow our Junior Road Safety Officers, who are pupils at the school, to deliver their Park Smart campaign. This will help inform pupils, parents, as well as the wider community, about road safety around the school zone at a community safety event in May. We will also use this event as a platform to educate the children and the community about the risks associated of living near a railway.

“Thanks to the Borders Railway team for their support.”

Jacqui Doig, Scottish Community Safety Network Manager, said: “When we launched the Community Fund two years ago, our aim was to support local groups across Midlothian and the Scottish Borders on projects that mattered to their community. Over 70 projects later, we are overwhelmed by the positive feedback we have received from the groups we have worked with and what they’ve achieved with the funding. We wish them all the best for the future.”