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BRDT - 2022 Highlights

Date: Tuesday 10 January

BRDT - 2022 Highlights

More than £230,000 has been raised to support the community in Blairgowrie and Rattray over the last 12 months thanks to the east Perthshire town’s development trust.

The money, which has come from a variety of sources including the National Lottery’s Community Led and Cost of Living funds, the Gannochy Trust and Development Trusts Association Scotland, will support the work of the Trust and a range of projects being undertaken by community groups and organisations in the town.

These include everything from the development of the new Rattray Community Garden, which is being led by a partnership between Blairgowrie and Rattray Development Trust (BRDT) and Blairgowrie and Rattray in Bloom, to an International Café celebrating different cultures from around the world and a mental health and wellbeing art group.

The funding has also enabled the Trust to continue much of its core work which aims to reduce food waste and food costs in the local community and encourage growing more food locally.

Working with Fareshare, Neighbourly and the Co-op, BRDT runs the BaRI (Blairgowrie and Rattray Initiative) Store in Blairgowrie which sells in-date food and food which is at its best-before-date that supermarkets cannot sell anymore. A range of items is available to purchase at heavily discounted prices, including fresh fruit and vegetables, bread, cereal, pasta, sauces and tinned soup and fruit and vegetables and over the last 12 months the store has served nearly 1600 customers.

The store now also stocks eco-friendly cleaning products and toiletries which can be refilled at the store, saving on the number of plastic bottles that end up in landfill. Approximately 120 litres – the equivalent of one blue bin load – of plastic waste has been diverted from landfill in the last seven months.

As well as reducing food waste in the store, some of it is distributed through the community larders in the town or used as ingredients for Saturday and Wednesday lunch clubs and for nutritious pre-cooked meals, initiatives that first developed as part of the town’s response to the global coronavirus pandemic and efforts to reduce social isolation, malnutrition, food costs and food waste.

In 2022, nearly 4000 lunches and nearly 800 meals were delivered to local residents and an estimated 40 tonnes of food was diverted from landfill by these initiatives.

BRDT’s community engagement work saw it support more than a third of the town’s 148 community groups and organisations over the last 12 months. This has involved everything from submitting funding applications for groups, organising events such as the popular Wellmeadow Walkathon, providing meeting spaces and social media support and hosting websites. Several new groups have also been set up in the town in recent months with support from the Trust, including the ‘Cuppa and a Cake’ group which meets every Monday morning in the BaRI Building on Blairgowrie High Street.

2022 saw Blairgowrie and Rattray become Scotland’s first designated biodiversity town thanks to the collaborative efforts of the Open Spaces group, which is made up of a number of different groups including Blair in Bloom, the Blairgowrie, Rattray and District Climate Café, Tayside Biodiversity Project and BRDT, and which works alongside Perth and Kinross Council’s Greenspace Ranger to enhance the local environment and be more nature friendly.

Over the last 12 months some 175 trees – many of them fruit and nut trees - have been planted in and around the town with plans for additional planting that will help the town become more self-sustaining and reduce food miles and food costs. The group has also put in place bat boxes, bird boxes, bug hotels, hedgehog houses and amphibian ladders to support wildlife in the town.

And during the summer several families and individuals enjoyed a series of visits to an ecological market garden on Blackhaugh Community Farm on the outskirts of the town run by the Taybank Growers Cooperative.

BRDT’s HEAT Project provides a free, professional energy advice service to households, private landlords and tenants in north and east Perthshire to help them reduce their energy bills and meet Scottish Government energy efficiency targets.

Over the last 12 months, the team carried out over 280 home visits, attended 75 events and provided advice to more than 670 people. This resulted in energy debt of £45,000 being written off through the Home Heating Fund and potential household energy savings of an estimated £85,000 (based on the average household saving at least 10% on their energy bills after advice from HEAT).

Teresa Donaldson is chair of BRDT.

She said: “Blairgowrie and Rattray Development Trust has a number of roles within the community, working alongside local people, community groups, businesses and the local authority to help to create a thriving and attractive town with a strong sense of community and identity, appealing to those who live, work and visit the area.

“Part of this is helping to facilitate the delivery of objectives identified by local residents as being of the most importance to them in the town’s Community Action Plan.

“Our role is to coordinate, communicate, promote and develop what is happening in the town, and taking a look back over the last 12 months I think it is fair to say we have come a long way towards achieving that.

“As well as our community engagement work, BaRI and biodiversity initiatives and the Heat Project, we also produce the Hub magazine which is distributed four times a year to some 5000 households in the town, operate the popular and well-established second-hand bookshop Booklore, and run the Discover Blairgowrie website which was visited 28,800 times last year.

“And we hosted the popular town event in October last year which saw 200 people and 35 community groups and organisations get together in Blairgowrie Town Hall to highlight the work that they do in the community.

“All in all, it was a busy and productive year for the Trust and huge thanks must go to our team of staff, trustees and volunteers who make it all happen.

“We are currently looking at developing a strategy for the Trust to ensure it continues to punch above its weight in terms of delivering for the town in the years to come and are committed to ensuring that we do everything we can to support community groups, individuals, and volunteers to deliver projects to enhance the town for the benefit of all.”

ENDS For further information or media enquiries, please contact Clare McMicking on 07514 343 042 or clare@craicncommunications.scot

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