Landfill cash boost for Borders sports facilities

THREE sports clubs in the Borders are to benefit from cash collected by Scottish Borders Council for the disposal of waste to landfill.

Melrose Football Club will receive £14,888 to allow it to complete a £43,000 project to create new changing facilities at the town’s former fire station.

St Ronan’s Bowling Club in Innerleithen will get the £9,933 it needs to refurbish its green.

And Earlston Bowling Club will be given £11,069 to improve changing facilities and repair the roof of its clubhouse.

The awards were approved at the last meeting of Scottish Borders Council’s executive which agreed that all three applications met the criteria of the Landfill Communities Fund (LCF), having heard there was just over £51,000 in the tax credit kitty for the current financial year.

The bids also had the approval of accredited local environmental body, the Berwickshire Community Council Forum (BCCF) Environmental, which works with the council, in its role as landfill site operator, to “improve the lives of communities living near landfill sites”.

Members heard the projects had also been endorsed by ENTRUST, the Government-appointed regulator of the LCF.

In Melrose, the former fire station at Gibson’s Park will be transformed into changing accommodation, with toilets, showers and storage space, for the young footballers.

At present, the club has no such designated facilities, so children must either change in their parents’ cars or cross a busy main road to access the Melrose RFC changing rooms, when available.

Councillors heard the new facilities would be available to the community for events such as school sports, children’s rugby training, the annual rugby sevens tournament, Melrose Festival and a variety of charity activities.

The LCF grant is the last piece in the funding jigsaw with awards already secured from Awards for All (£7,500), SBC’s community grant scheme (£5,000), Ettrick and Lauderdale Sports Council (£5,000) and the William Hill Trust (£10,000), along with a club contribution of £860.

In Innerleithen, the bowling club failed in an application to Awards for All, but raised £2,200 from its own funds for its project, which includes resurfacing pathways to improve access for the physically impaired and the replacement of a perimeter hedge with a timber fence.

“Membership of the club is open to all and improvement of the pathways will make the green easier and safer to access, encouraging more people to take part,” a report to councillors said.

It added: “During the season, the club hosts visitors who frequent local shops and hotels… It also runs a coaching programme with the local school to encourage more people into games and has had much success at national and local competition level.”

The executive heard that in Earlston, bowlers currently changed in a temporary building. The repaired clubhouse and new changing facilities would “enable the club to be considered as a suitable venue for regional tournaments, while making it a more attractive venue for Borders bowling competitions”.

The LCF contribution will be added to £5,000 secured from the community grants scheme, £750 from the local sports council and £1,000 from the club’s savings.