Saturday, 14 December 2013

Bridgend Farmhouse Winter Gathering!

Last Sunday we gathered together under barn of Bridgend Allotments, bringing over thirty new and old faces together to share the current situation now the farmhouse is on the open market. We were so pleased to be joined by some P7 students and their parents from Liberton Primary school  - who took part in participatory design workshops this last month and whose work was on display for people to see. 

We started the day enjoying the autumnal sun, as dough was shaped, bunting was made and miniature walls created to envision the farmhouse’s future. With a bowl of hot local organic vegetable soup and organic cob-baked sourdough, the recently completed film about Bridgend Inspiring Growth by Aidan Nicol was screened (soon to be released and available online and sent to members) and afterwards people were updated on the current situation in regards to the sale of the building. We had some lengthy and productive discussions on what we could do collectively to respond to this.

Those who stayed on longer were given a tour around the outside of the farmhouse by John Knox - BIG committee member and Darla Eno - on work placement from Edinburgh University. Some of the farmhouse’s local history was shared as well as Malcolm Fraser’s architectural proposals. 

Afterwards, we returned to the barn, where Will Golding gave a presentation about the extensive work that BIG has done so far - a lot of which reflected the recently completed business plan. A discussion followed with great input from everyone present- thinking where to go from here, mainly focussing on outreach/awareness, fundraising/finance and legal/policy. Some tasks were divvied up and the beginning of an action plan devised so that people went away with something they could do to help including.

We also were giving out the condensed ‘vision’ for the Bridgend Farmhouse - which combines key elements from the architectural and business feasibility studies (available here) and there was opportunity for these plans to be discussed. If you are interested in viewing the full versions of these documents please let us know on These are all working documents and will be added to and edited over time. 

Participants were encouraged to take flyers away to distribute amongst people, that illustrate the farmhouse renovation project and give pointers to what people can do to help (view here). A petition was discussed and will be launched soon to demonstrate support from wide range of people.

AL Huthcison produced a video slideshow of the event, which anyone who listens to Black Diamond FM, may have heard mentioned on there recently. This is available here

Thank you to all those who came to the event! Our contact list of supporters is growing and all of you are much needed. As ever, please get in contact if you would like to get involved or have any questions about things.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

BIG Plans and Winter Event 2013

After nearly 9 months of detailed and dedicated hardwork we now have a completed feasibility study, business plan, architectural drawings and plan of use for Bridgend Farmhouse. This is an enormous and significant step for us, and we really are grateful to everyone that contributed..

Over that time we have had lots of really encouraging discussions with local residents, organisations and community members about the future of the farmhouse. We really value all this input and enthusiasm. 

The farmhouse is now up on the open market. We need as much support as possible to prove that this is a worthwhile project supported by many people. 

It would be fantastic if you can make it to the event this Sunday (1st December) 12-3pm so you can get involved, hear more about what's been going on and share your thoughts and ideas. There will be free refreshments, cover from rain if it happens, and activities for young kids.
We also have a couple of films almost complete on the project, and are carrying out participatory design workshops with local schools and community groups. Most of these will be presented and open for comments on Sunday. After then these will all be available for people to view if you would like to request a copy.
For those that like facebook, here is a page with the info

Please do join and share this with your friends, neighbours, family and colleagues! Also please distribute and display the poster below where possible.

Feel free to get in contact with any queries.  We really hope to see you Sunday or soon

Inline image 2 
Inline image 1

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

The plans in germination....and next steps

Hi folks,

Thanks to everyone that participated in the Options event on Saturday 7th September, including those that came, and those that could not make it but sent apologies and suggestions to the questionnaire.

Around 35 people came along, with new members joining us too. BIG and Sandra Macaskill, our consultant, gave presentations, and then we presented the current architectural drawings. Following that there was a Q& A and then discussion and adding of ideas and comments. It was very positive and encouraging, and there was a general consensus over the way forward and next steps. We were also lucky enough to have Harry and Doris Darling, the previous farm-owners, participating in the event.

Also, many thanks to Jane Mather who led a Storytelling in Nature workshop for the children that came, and later made some willow leaves for her exhibition, Away with the Fairies, some of which will be on display at the Storytelling Centre as part of Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival

Over the past few months we have now spoken with a wide range of organisations, members and local residents, and there is a majority in favour of Option 2, as proposed in the consultation questionnaire. We did however incorporate the views of those that supported or suggested Option 1 and 3 in the best ways we could.

At the event we also discussed many of the important details to consider (i.e. finance, ownership, market, next steps, design), and noted comments. These were taken by our consultant, Sandra Macaskill, and all feedback and comments have been included in the final Options report attached here, which builds on all of the consultation to offer a summary of the preferred way forward by all. There are also pictures from the event included in this report here.

We also now have completed architectural drawings and structural engineering work completed by Malcolm Fraser Architects, and adapted following comments on the 7th. This can be viewed here.

Our next steps are to do a detailed feasibility and business plan into this option, speaking in more detail with key stakeholders and groups. We will have this to present and distribute by mid November.

We will be meeting between then too as a committee. If you would like to come along to this meeting and assist or offer any ideas or advice that would be great.

Also, if you are from an organisation that would like to speak with us in more detail please let us know

We appreciate any other ways of getting involved and offering support.

We will keep you updated as things progress, and will be sharing final results of this whole study and our next steps forwards in a couple of months time


BIG Committee

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Options Event - 2-4pm Saturday 7th September

Dear members, friends, partners, and affiliated organisations,

We invite you to a one-off Options Event from 2-4pm on Sat 7 Sept at Bridgend Allotments Barn, 41 Old Dalkeith Road, Edinburgh EH164TE

In the last few months BIG have been carrying out detailed consultation with 60 different organisations and community groups, continued with more architectural and structural feasibility work, and had further discussions with Edinburgh City Council.

We will be sharing the results from this options appraisal along with news on other progress that has been made at this upcoming event. There will also be time to discuss any further ideas on the future of the project and how organisations and individuals can get involved over some tea and cake.

This whole feasibility study we are doing will involve two public events.  One at the end to present the final plans, vision and business plan, and this one halfway through to allow people to shape and direct the vision, design and ideas for the site. This event is a great chance to help direct and impact on the developments and final focus and vision for the renovation and future use of the farmhouse.

There will be light refreshments, and children are welcome, there will be a storyteller 2.30-3.30 and art activities.

For full details please see the flyer by clicking here. Please pass this on and distribute or display where you think is appropriate.  We hope to see you on the 7th.  Open to all and we would love you to get involved.

If you would like to become a partner organisation, individual member or
volunteer please contact or call 07949230245.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

How would you want to use the farmhouse?

Dear BIG members, friends, partners and affiliated groups,

A lot has been happening since our last blogpost. The committee have been busied with getting things together and in motion for our feasibility study. So to let you know where we are at:

After looking at various consultants (individual and organisations), we interviewed three and then finally appointed Sandra Macaskill (of Caskieco) to carry out our Options Appraisal with us. We have also appointed Malcolm Fraser Architects, Elliot & Company and David Adams Group to simultaneously carry out more structural and architectural feasibility work on the building itself.

Work has begun by all parties and all important meetings, details and legal issues have been considered. We are pleased with progress so far on this work and things are moving forward positively. 

We are also very excited about working with two different students from the University of Edinburgh. 
Hannelore Christiaens is writing her Masters thesis this summer on sustainable 
renovation, and doing research into the farmhouse as a case-study as part of this. 
Then, from September to December we will be joined by Darla Eno, a 4th year architectural history student, who will be on placement with us, looking at community engagement in design and development.

The committee have also been on a study visit to Lambhill Stables in Glagsow to look at 
a similar project to ours which gave us some great ideas and inspiration for the farmhouse renovation. 

The feasibility study we are carrying out involves two stages. 
1. An options appraisal researching three possible options for development and consulted 
groups and individuals on these to find the most appropriate. This will last until September. 
2. A detailed feasibility study, including business plan and financial feasibility, into one of 
these options. This will be carried out between September and December, presented at the 
next AGM.

At the moment then we are carrying out a community consultation into options for use and 
development of the farmhouse. We have a short questionnaire that we are asking all interested
groups and organisations and potential users of the farmhouse to fill out. This is really
 important in influencing the final choice over use and development, so please do take just a 
few minutes to fill this out, and to alert others to it.

The link to the questionnaire is here:

We will be presenting the outcomes of this community consultation at an event on Saturday 7th September 2-4pm at Bridgend Allotments. There will also be storytelling sessions for kids (so bring the family) and refreshments for all on the day.

As always, if you are interested in getting more involved, helping out, 
or have any ideas for the building, this project, or for support and funding, 
please do get contact us on

Please help influence the farmhouse development and have your 
say on what you would like to see happen in and around the building 
by filling in the questionnaire above, and attending the presentation event.

Hope you're all enjoying the great sunshine and Mediterranean heat!

BIG Trustees

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Moving onwards with great strides....

Hello all,

We would like to inform you all about some very good news. We have been awarded £11'000! This is from the Big Lottery Investing In Ideas funding and the Royal Institute of Architects Scotland.

This is to carry out an options appraisal, feasibility study and develop a business plan for the developments of Bridgend Farmhouse over the next 8 months or so. We have ensured that built into this is community events and opportunities along the way for the progress of this to be presented to all interested in commenting and taking part in shaping the study and final report. News of these will follow as we work them out.

We would like to invite you to our upcoming meetings, which will be to update on recent support we have been receiving from Just Enterprise and shape the last parts of that, and also to meet with consultants to decide how we will spend this grant funding we have just received. If you would like to attend either of the meetings below please let us know.

  • Monday April 29th 6-8pm, Bridgend Allotments Portcabin
  • Thursday May 9th 6-8.30pm, Bridgend Allotments Portcabin.
Attached is the minutes from our last meeting in March here.

Thank you for all for your continued support, in many ways, and we hope that this great addition of funding and professional expertise will move us significantly forward to realising all our dream for the farmhouse,

Friday, 11 January 2013

Onwards and upwards into 2013....

Dear members, friends and affiliates,

Happy 2013 to you all! We hope the season of hibernation brought you some good rest and you feel invigorated and full of hope for the new year. We certainly do with the farmhouse renovation project, and things are starting to build and look positive at the moment.

We had a successful AGM in december, and would like to welcome on to the committee: Jamie Ross, Steven Hendry, Chris Macefield and Iain Chantler who will join John Knox, Anna Danby and Will Golding as the full members of the current committee. 

Plans have been put in motion for this year, and all minutes from the AGM are available here

Our first meeting of the year to check the progress of these things and put more into action is:
Sunday 27th January, 2-3.30pm at Bridgend Barn, Bridgend Allotments, EH164TE.

This is open to everyone, so we would love to see some of you down there. If you can't make it but want to feed something in beforehand just send it over to us or call on 07949230245.

We are looking forward to making great strides this year towards the renovation and to seeing some of you soon.

From, all of the committee