Councillor recruited to take plans forward

SELKIRK,  UNITED KINGDOM - 04 Jan 2012
Michelle Ballantyne @ Pinelodge, Ettrickbridge

(Photo by  ROB GRAY/digitalpic/freelance )
SELKIRK, UNITED KINGDOM - 04 Jan 2012 Michelle Ballantyne @ Pinelodge, Ettrickbridge (Photo by ROB GRAY/digitalpic/freelance )

Selkirk’s Haining Charitable Trust has recruited a new trustee as it looks to build on the work done since it took over the stately home and the 160-acre estate it sits in eight years ago.

The 18th century house and grounds including 61 loch-side acres of woodland and parkland were bequeathed to the people of Selkirk and the wider public by the late Andrew Nimmo Smith in 2009.

Since then, its trustees have been working hard to restore the house and estate to its former glory on a limited budget, as well as making the venue a valued asset to the community.

Now that phase one of the trust’s plans has been completed, a new trustee has been taken on board to help take things forward.

Its new recruit, Selkirkshire councillor Michelle Ballantyne, has been asked to help put phase two of the trust’s capital development programme into action.

She said: “I have always been aware of the Haining’s enduring potential to give back to the community that surrounds it.

“I’m delighted to be able to support the Haining in a way that builds on what has been achieved to date and which will also explore new ways of fulfilling the hopes and aspirations of the community to whom it was bequeathed.”

Trustees’ chairman Susan Edington and retired architect Lawrence Robertson will soon be standing down after guiding the estate through phase one of its new lease of life.

Susan, a lawyer in Galashiels, said: “Suddenly becoming a trustee was a task I was delighted and indeed privileged to have been involved with, yet one could see at once from the dilapidated condition of not only the Haining House itself, but of all the ancillary buildings, that the related capital and ongoing maintenance costs were going to be the major challenge facing us in terms of creating a truly sustainable enterprise and income stream for the community, within the strict terms of Mr Nimmo Smith’s legacy.”

In addition to restoring Haining House itself, including the installation of a professional catering kitchen to support events, its listed Georgian carriage houses have been converted into award winning rented studio.

Within the same complex, VisitScotland four-star-rated holiday accommodation now generates further income for the estate to help fund plans intended to put it even more firmly on the map as one of the Borders’ foremost community assets and tourist attractions.

Highly significant in the entire mix are the many volunteers from the local community who have made much of this work possible by carrying out numerous essential maintenance and estate management tasks, as well as organising some of the most popular and successful events in the Borders’ annual social calendar.

With their full support the Haining has played host to an impressive range of creative, artistic, literary, nature-based, educational, family and child friendly community events, professional performances and private functions, which has seen thousands flocking through the Haining Gates.