Tesco’s Bags for Help initiative has awarded £60,000 to outdoor community projects across the region.
That money, raised by the 5p supermarkets are obliged to charge for carrier bags, will be managed by community charity Groundwork, aided by Greenspace Scotland.
Millions of Tesco customers up and down the country voted for the good causes they wanted to see benefit, and Cornerstone Connects in Galashiels was among those to bag first-place awards of £12,000.
The service, set up to support disabled people and their families and carers, will put the money towards the second phase of work on a sensory garden.
Edel Harris, chief executive of Cornerstone nationally, said: “We are extremely grateful to the people of Galashiels for voting with their tokens and helping us to secure this incredible funding award.
“The new sensory garden at our Cornerstone Connects service will make such a huge difference to the lives of the people we support, as well as anyone in the local community who has a disability or additional support need.”
Kingsland Primary School in Peebles was also given £12,000, and that windfall will be used to improve play spaces for pupils.
Runner-up awards of £10,000 will go to Scottish Borders Council for additional equipment for the public park in Galashiels and Peebles Community Action Network to be spent on a new training yurt.
Walkerburn Community Development Trust picked up £8,000 to go towards repairs to paths in Jubilee Park, and Wooplaw Community Woodland, north of Galashiels, was given the same amount to spend on a small tractor or quad bike.
Community woodland chairman Dave Donnelly said: “At the moment, we have volunteer groups wishing to carry out work at the woodland such as dementia support groups, mental health groups, the local college and the forest school that works with all the primary schools in the area.
“The grant will allow us to supply tools and materials for the groups to use.
“The woodland has become a popular venue for children’s birthday parties, campers and dog-walkers, and we would like to make it more accessible for prams and wheelchairs.”
Tony McElroy, Tesco’s head of communications in Scotland, said: “Bags of Help has been a fantastic success.
“We have been overwhelmed by the response of our customers, and it’s been great to give people a say on how the money will be spent in their community.
“We can’t wait to see the projects come to life.”
Emma Halliday, a community-enabling co-ordinator at Greenspace Scotland, added: “It’s just the beginning for Bags of Help, and we’re really excited about the future.”
“The scheme will be permanently open for applications, and as grants can now be used for not just the development but also the use of local outdoor spaces, we expect even more groups will have the chance to benefit.
“It’s projects like these that really help to capture the public’s imagination by illustrating what can be achieved when communities are given the support and encouragement they need to create better places where they live.”
Anyone can nominate a project. To find out more, visit www.tesco.com/bagsofhelp.