A playgroup in Tweedbank and primary school in Stow are two of 22 organisations throughout the Scottish Borders and Midlothian that have benefited from the final round of funding from the Borders Railway Community Fund.

Tweedbank Playgroup’s ‘Choo-Choose to be safe’ project will educate the children that attend the playgroup, aged between two and five, on the importance of rail safety.

Involving a series of games and activities, the project will be delivered by playgroup staff and local secondary school staff and students to teach the young children about living near a railway.

Stow Primary School has used the funding to host an exhibition of its ‘Past, Present & Future’ project which celebrated the history of the railway in the Borders, the excitement of the new line and how to remain safe when living beside and using the railway. The exhibition is expected to be held again in September when the opening celebrations peak.

The school is also planning to use some of the funds they received to install planting troughs, boxes and bedding in the school grounds. These will be developed and maintained by the pupils themselves.

The Borders Railway Community Fund was set-up in 2013 to support community engagement and safety has since distributed a total of £15k across 70 local groups.

Leanne McDowall, Project Manager at Tweedbank Playgroup, said, “The Borders Railway is a fantastic new development in the area and we believe strongly in the importance of educating the community and our next generation of rail users in using these services safely. We would like to thank the Borders Railway Community Fund for their kind generosity in supporting our project.

She added, “We will also be sharing an e-book on our website and Facebook page of the children’s learnings following the project. The artwork produced by the children will also be displayed in the Tweedbank Community Centre.”

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 communities. We have been overwhelmed by the positive feedback and we are delighted that projects such as
Tweedbank Playgroup’s Choo-Choose to be Safe project continue to receive well deserved support.”

Other projects which have benefited from the Fund this year include:

• Stow Kids Club - Afterschool club, creating a project to look at railway safety through books and internet.
• Gala Cricket Club – Helping the Rowan Boland Memorial Trust U11 Cricket Tournament to support young cricket players throughout the Scottish Borders.
• Galadean Juniors Football Club - To purchase new training equipment (running ladders, mini-hurdles).
• Midlothian Community Media Association – Supporting Black Diamond FM to play 25 messages for 10 weeks prior to the opening of the railway.