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

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

We did it!

Everyone....we did it! We really did. After four years now, an incredible amount of time, effort, passion, commitment and wide support and help, it has finally paid off. 

On April 29th, the councillors at City of Edinburgh Council Economy Committee overturned the previous recommendation and voted unanimously to lease Bridgend Farmhouse to BIG for 12 months, and agreed to sell the farmhouse to BIG after that period, on confirmation of BIG Lottery Growing Community Assets Stage 2 funding.

It is a brilliant journey we have gone through. It was so inspiring to see the support in the weeks leading up to the meeting from everyone that signed the petition, sent encouraging messages and emails, and those who turned up to the meeting. It is because of the collective energy and work of so many people that this was possible.

Sorry for the wait in officially sharing the news but we were delayed because of the need for it to be ratified by another committee and the Director of Services for Communities.

This kind of thing has been so far uncommon within City of Edinburgh council, and in that regards, is a major milestone and encouraging sign of support from other similar community projects and initiatives. We are very grateful for the Council's support in making this happen.

Now the work really begins as we move on to our final development stage with funding from the BIG Lottery. There will now be lots of work on designs, business plans, further consultation and planning use and programmes for the building. Also, remedial work may be able to start on the site.

Now is a time to get more involved as a volunteer, committee member or general member if you would like. You could also still submit expressions of interest if you would like to co-own the farmhouse. For any of these just get in contact through our email here.

Please spread the word, and if you know anyone who would like to join this mailing list or BIG please pass on this message and our details.

A poster is attached here to help share the news. Please could you print and display if you are able.

We will be in contact in the near future with details of what will be happening next, for now, congratulations and thanks to everyone.

BIG committee.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Hello all,

We have some very important and exciting news to share. Please have a look through this email when you get the chance.

Bridgend Inspiring Growth (BIG) has received support and an invite to apply for development funding from Big Lottery Fund Scotland’s Growing Community Asset’s programme to further develop plans for the renovation of Bridgend Farmhouse.
This is an enormous step forwards, and a move towards capital grant funding for the full renovation and running costs. We intend for this next stage of development work to start from June going forwards.

The Bid
As updated to all back in mid February, we submitted a bid to the council for the farmhouse before it closed for sale. We understand there was lots of interest, and our bid is still being considered alongside one other bidder. The final decision on this will be made at a council committee meeting by councillors on April 29th, to be ratified on May 5th. Obviously this is absolutely fundamental to the project. If anyone is able to offer any final support or help before then, or would like more information, please get in touch.
These meetings are open to the public with a small viewing area, time still to be confirmed.
If you are free and would like to come along to show your support on that day and view the decisions and discussions please get in contact asap - We can provide bus tickets, directions and meet with anyone nearby if people need.

Community Share Issue
We have had lots of interest and expressions of interest submitted for owning shares in Bridgend Farmhouse. This is fantastic and shows the strength of support people are willing to offer. It provides us with good potential financial backing for the project, and can only be strengthened by further shareholders showing expression of interest. Depending on the decision on the sale we will develop this further. Let us know if you'd like more info about this.

Community Development Worker
We were delighted to appoint Hilary Morrison, our first Community Development worker, at the start of March, thanks to funding from City of Edinburgh council, and the Lord Provost. She is a very experienced community development and arts worker, and has worked in and around the surrounding communities of Bridgend. She has hit the ground running and is already establishing lots of new groups and projects in healthy eating, walking, reminiscence, photography, bug hotels, and more. 

Look out for an article on success of the lottery grant funding in local news coming soon. If anyone works for or knows others who work in the media interested in sharing what is happening with Bridgend Farmhouse please let us know. We have a press release and photos we can send on to anyone that does.

Participatory Design Workshops
Darla Eno, who has been a student on placement with us from the University of Edinburgh has recently completed a report on the workshops she carried out last year with local groups and school kids around design ideas for the farmhouse. A film has been made about this and distributed to those involved, and was a really fantastic project. The project report and photos will soon be available on the publications tab on our website. We wanted to thank Darla for her incredibly dedicated and impressive work.

The last two months has seen some incredible displays of support from a breadth of different people and groups. We are very glad to have received the official support of Malcolm Fraser, Leader of the Scottish Government Town Centre Review team, MP Ian Murray, MSP Kenny Macaskill and MSP Alison Johnstone, amongst others.

Finally, if you have not yet and want to show your support by signing and sharing our online petition, you can do that here:

Thanks to everyone for continued support, all the expressions of interest, and for all your help and involvement. We hope it will all be worth it. We will send out news on the decision as soon as we know more. 

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

The Bid, community share issue, new film, community development worker and more...

Dear members, friends, colleagues

On February 6th 11.25am we submitted our bid for Bridgend Farmhouse to the City of Edinburgh Council. 

We have been working together on this for over three years now, and are very proud of all the incredible effort that has been put in to get us to this stage. We presented the bid at our AGM on Sunday 2nd February and all were pleased and impressed by it and the hoards of supporting evidence – we had to go and get an additional large envelope to put everything in. Thankyou to everyone who has contributed and helped towards this.

The next couple of months are crucial however and we need your continued support.

We are looking to establish ourselves as community benefit society and have a community share issue to own the farmhouse. Please see this link for more info about what a community benefit society is. If you would be willing and interested to give any amount (between £25 and £20'000) to become a co-owner of the farmhouse please download and return this form asap. This would help significantly towards the acquisition of the farmhouse and future community development around it. If you are interested in a large investment please get in touch.

We have also produced our second film. It documents a range of participatory design workshops carried out over the last few months. Check it out here:

After being awarded two grants we are currently recruiting a part-time community development project worker for 6 months. This will be to develop and pilot activities that could happen in and around the farmhouse, and further engage people in the design of potential services there. More information available here. If you are interested in applying, or know anyone that might be please get in contact and we can send out the application form

Minutes of our most recent AGM (Sunday 2nd Feb) can be viewed here

Our next meeting is on Friday 28th February 5.30pm. If you would like to attend please let us know.

And, Bridgend Potato Day on Sunday 23rd 11-2pm. Come along!

Please, spread the word, get involved, show your support, and become a co-owner of the farmhouse too. More information and a petition on our website too: www.bridgendfarmhouse.org.uk

We look forward to seeing you soon

BIG Committee

Friday, 17 January 2014

Bridgend Farmhouse is For Sale!

Dear all,

Bridgend Farmhouse is for sale. We need your support now more than ever.

We have working diligently behind the scenes since the winter gathering to get everything ready and respond to this.

Click on this link for our 2013 newsletter. It includes details of our upcoming AGM on 
Sunday 2nd February 1.30pm at Inch Community Sports Club. It also mentions everything we have achieved in the last year. We now have fully worked out and costed plans for the renovation, development and use, based on your suggestions.

We will be submitting a bid for the farmhouse but need to do this with your support. If you can before the end of January please could you:

1. Sign our petition if you support 'Bridgend Farmhouse for the community':

2. Donate via paypal to help us buy the farmhouse and carry out phase 1 of the renovation:

3. Watch our first video of the project and send on to others:

4. 'Like' our facebook page and suggest to others:

We also now have a new website. This includes the vision for the farmhouse renovation, as well as many of the publications and projects we have worked on over the last three years.

It is only because of all your support, help and participation that we have come this far, and will only be because of this that we realise the dream we have all been working towards in the last three and a half years.

Please, in any ways you can, show your support in these final few weeks. This is crucial. If you support the BIG plans for Bridgend Farmhouse please in whatever way you can made that known so that we can keep it in public hands and for the local community. We can do this, together.

Please let anyone you know that you think would be interested and get in contact if you can offer help in any way: bridgendfarmhse@gmail.com

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 bridgendfarmhse@gmail.com. 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 https://www.facebook.com/events/177238729143166/?fref=ts

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 bridgendfarmhse@gmail.com or call 07949230245.