Bannockburn House Trust (BHT) was set up in 2016 with the aim of purchasing the house and grounds for the local community. In 2017 the Trust completed Community Buy Out. The main aim of the Trust is to safeguard the property, grounds, architecture and history for future generations. 

BHT is currently nearing the end of a two-year Climate Challenge Fund (CCF) project that aims to re-establish 4 acres of the estate for fruit and vegetable production. This project will impact behavioural change on carbon usage, food behaviour and attitudes, increase local food growing through fruit & vegetable production and educate the community on carbon literacy. 

In year 1 of the CCF project, work focused on preparing land for growing, building the polytunnels and had large scale events for the wider community.  

When the Covid-19 crisis hit, BHT had to reduce volunteer numbers to follow the guidelines from the Scottish Government.  Self-employed gardeners could keep working, allowing garden care and maintenance to keep going. 

The food grown in the polytunnels was distributed to vulnerable people in the Bannockburn area and Stirling East villages through a new partnership with the Ladies of the Rock. 

They also adapted projects to engage with volunteers and the community directly at their own homes, which helped BHT create more volunteering opportunities and stay relevant to the community. 

Making it Happen 

BHT delivered a series of “growing at home” projects to approx. 130 individuals. They distributed 10 raised bed starter packs and 50 potato packs with compost, seeds etc.  In addition, 30 people took part in the “battle of the bannocks”, 35 people did bread and pizza making and 30 people took part in “sour dough September”. 

All the materials were delivered to people and instruction given both written and by YouTube video e.g. How to grow your potatoes  and Selkirk Bannock making

They also found there was the opportunity for more focused carbon education, and they were able to better understand their impact on carbon reduction for the CCF project. The garden volunteers contributed to baseline data for the CCF projectproviding data on volume of food waste and weight of produce. 

For all the 'at home' projects, Zoom-based discussion groups were used. They developed a strong social media presence for people to share what they were doing. This resulted in a large-scale reach: uto 3000 people took part in some way. 

A range of skills were required to deliver the projects, such as digital, logistics, planning, community engagement, monitoring positive community change. Staff and volunteers offered these skills to make the activities happen. 

The transition that from face to face community cooperative effort to home-based projects has been successful and BHT are pleased with how it has gone.  

Top Tips 

Plan well, be creative and have fun
"With these projects, we haven't reinvented the wheel or done anything that hasn't be done before. But we have taken all the extra steps to make sure that we really engage with our participants and give them an experience that is memorable. Be pro-active and holistic in your approach. We had to consider that, as many people were getting into baking bread from home during the start of the pandemic, things such as flour were hard to acquire. We overcame this by buying quality flour in bulk from a local producer, but this took time to decant into individual packs. We had to plan for buying all the ingredients, delivering them to participants home and providing paper instructions as well as producing online videos to take them through the process.” Bannockburn House Trust

Who can help?  

BHT partnered with several  organisations, such as Freedom Bakery, Kitchen 44 and Ladies of the Rock. They also tied in with national events, such as sourdough September and held a Battle of the Bannocks which took place during the Battle of Bannockburn anniversary.

In October, they took part in Forth Valley Food festival with 2 live “cook-alongs” with local and seasonal produceFor the “cook-alongs” alone 63 packs were delivered across Stirling by staff and volunteers. 

The costs to carry out the projects has been varied, depending on the materials and staff time needed - usually staff time is the most expensive element. Several Covid-19 specific micro-grants have been utilised. Funders include Corra Foundation, Stirling Voluntary Enterprise, Foundation Scotland and McEwans 

Find out more about the Bannockburn House Trust 

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