Tuesday, 22 July 2014

BIG Summer happenings

Hi folks,

This will be the last update on this blog. From now on we will embed our blog into our main website: www.bridgendfarmhouse.org.uk, so for future news and updates please check there. We will however keep this blog going for archiving all that has gone before.

Since those jubilant scenes outside the Council offices at the end of April we’ve been busy making our vision for Bridgend FarmHouse a reality. We’ve been negotiating the terms of the “licence” under which the Council is “giving” us the building for a year while we draw up detailed plans for the farm house and its projects. 

The Big Lottery has been very supportive and we have stage-one funding to allow us to employ consultants to prepare architectural plans, apply for planning permission, engage a part-time project manager and consult with the community and potential farm house users. 

We have now drawn up formal tender documents and are looking at bids from professional consultants. We hope to have everything in place by the spring of next year to be able to apply for full funding from the Lottery.  This will allow us to acquire the building, restore it, install a community kitchen and cafĂ© and build a series of out-houses on one side of the garden.

Meanwhile, our community worker Hilary Morrison has been making good use of a Council grant to run no fewer than 13 projects and more still starting up. These range from cookery classes, to forest fun days, eco-gardening, walking groups and heritage events.  This has also included the curation of our current exhibition, in collaboration with the Craigmillar Archives Trust, at the new Craigmillar library (East Neighbourhood Centre). This has been running from June 27th and is still up now if you've not seen it yet. For more information on any of these please see the attached document. If you are interested in joining any of these groups, or helping as a volunteer please get in contact.

Photos from the exhibition at Craigmillar library:

We were intrigued to see an archaeological dig taking place at the farmhouse in June organised by the Greater Liberton Heritage Project and funded by the Heritage Lottery. The dig lasted a week and uncovered yet more evidence that the site was originally a chapel built by Sir Simon Preston in 1518.  It’s very likely therefore that Mary Queen of Scots worshiped here while she was staying at Craigmillar Castle in 1566. By 1792, the chapel was referred to as “stables” and by 1850, the Ordnance  Survey map was showing it as a “ labourer’s cottage.”  
So we have a long and interesting heritage to protect and enjoy. This was an amazing project, and there was some really fascinating findings very worth looking up at their website.

We also had another mention in the Evening News on June 17th celebrating our success, and have a new banner and flyer (we can send out copies if you can distribute or display anywhere).

We will now be embedding our blog into our main website, so for future updates, photos, events info etc please go direct to the website.

We hope to have license to use the farmhouse from sometime in September. If you or a group/organisation you are involved with has ideas for getting involved from that point do let us know.

Finally, we need to celebrate! We've been moving forward and keeping focused on getting things in place, but once we have access to the farmhouse we will be inviting everyone out for a celebration and thanks for all your support and work in managing to bring the farmhouse into community control. 
This will be a chance to also find out what will be happening next and other ways you can get involved if you'd like.

Have a fantastic summer and we will let you know as soon as this is organised.

Best wishes,

All from the BIG Committee