• Category: News

    ALISS (A Local Information System for Scotland) Training Recording & Recap

    We recently held training alongside Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland & Midlothian Council to help organisations in Midlothian learn more about ALISS (A Local Information System for Scotland) and how they can utilise it efficiently.

    These training sessions were popular, but don’t worry if you missed out! You can watch the recorded training session here:

    ALISS Training session presented by Cameron MacFarlane, ALISS Programme Engagement and Insights Manager at the Alliance.

    We’ve also written up a brief overview, if you need a refresher:

    What is ALISS?

    ALISS is a digital tool operated by Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland (The Alliance) that allows groups and organisations to find or share information on local resources, services, groups, and support.

    Why should you use ALISS?

    ALISS allows you to share services, activities, and resources that help;

    • Enable social connection
    • Assist people to self-manage their long-term conditions
    • Support outdoor or physical activity
    • Access digital technology

    Outside websites and directories pull information from ALISS, these include:

    The information they use is automatically updated when it’s edited on ALISS.

    How do you use ALISS?

    There are different ways to use ALISS:

    • To search for information
    • To upload information
    • For community mapping
    • For signposting
    • For creating your own directory/ embedding on your website

    When searching for information, it’s helpful to utilise the search filters.

    How do I add to ALISS?

    There are three main ways to get information on ALISS:

    • Basic Account – Good for one-off events/ postings, information approved by ALISS
    • ALISS Editor – Good for posting in bulk, doesn’t need to be manually approved by ALISS
    • Claimed Organisation – Claim your own organisations information, take responsibility to ensure it is accurate and up to date. Edits don’t need approval from ALISS

    ALISS for Alexa

    ALISS can now be used on the Amazon Alexa app and voice devices. By using voice commands, like “Alexa, search My Scottish Community for walking groups.”, those with low digital literacy or who may have a physical condition or disability, can stay connected to their communities and access the support they need when they need it most.

    For more information, and how to set it up check out these articles:

    Connecting communities through voice activated technology – Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland (alliance-scotland.org.uk)

    Amazon.co.uk: My Scottish Community: search ALISS for support : Alexa Skills

    Don’t want to miss any more MVA training sessions?

    Keep an eye on our website, or our Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn pages.

    Boogie & Arlene Want You… To Nominate For The Midlothian Volunteer Awards 2024!

    NOMINATIONS CLOSE NEXT WEEK for the 2024 Midlothian Volunteer Awards! 🎉

    The Midlothian Volunteer Awards take place each year, and are all about celebrating the amazing efforts of volunteers in Midlothian. This celebration is a part of Volunteers’ Week, where we appreciate people’s kindness across the whole of Scotland. It is a great opportunity to promote some of the fabulous volunteering projects that exist in Midlothian.

    Please ensure you read the FAQs here before you submit.

    A big thank you to Boogie & Arlene from Forth One for helping us get the message out!


    If you have any questions, email info@volunteermidlothian.org.uk

    Nominations Open for the 2024 Midlothian Volunteer Awards!

    Nominations are now open for the 2024 Midlothian Volunteer Awards! 

    The Midlothian Volunteer Awards take place each year, and are all about celebrating the amazing efforts of volunteers in Midlothian. This celebration is a part of a national initiative, where we appreciate people’s kindness across the whole of Scotland. It is a great opportunity to promote some of the fabulous volunteering projects that exist in Midlothian.

    Please ensure you read the FAQs here before you submit.

    Nominations will close on March 22nd, so submit them soon.

    If you have any questions, email info@volunteermidlothian.org.uk

    A Fresh Start for The Midlothian Climate Action Network – Meet The Team!

    The Midlothian Climate Action Hub is delighted to confirm that our staff recruitment is now complete and the community-led Hub Steering Group has been formally elected!

    Meet The Team

    Ian Malcolm, Hub Manager

    Previous to his new role as the Hub Manager, Ian was the Coordinator for the Midlothian Climate Action Network and played a key role in the successful funding application to the Scottish Government that enabled the formation of the staffed Hub. 

    Naomi Knights, Community Engagement Officer

    With an environmental background, Naomi has experience in environmental education and supporting the development of the community garden network across Scotland. Naomi has been working as a Volunteer Coordinator with Volunteer Midlothian – running a befriending project for the past several years and is familiar with communities and organisations throughout Midlothian.

    Bruno Santos, Community Engagement Officer

    Bruno joins the Hub team from Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, where he coordinated the Climate Fringe online platform, as well as a Scotland-wide community-led climate festival. He is currently the Logistics officer for the Edinburgh Climate Festival and has been active in various projects around migrant rights, food justice and climate action in the past.

    The Hub Steering Group

    On the same day final interviews for the Hub’s team were taking place in Dalkeith last December, the members of the Hub’s Steering Group were being formally elected in Penicuick.

    Community group members enjoy a meal after the conclusion of staff interviews and election of the Hub Steering Group
    Community group members enjoy a meal after the conclusion of staff interviews and election of the Hub Steering Group

    The Midlothian Climate Action Hub’s newly elected steering group members include:

    • Julian Holbrook, Chairperson from Damhead Climate Action
    • Julia Pennycuick from Midlothian Wildflowers 
    • Douglas Strachan from One Dalkeith Community Development Trust
    • Chris Sydes from Penicuik Community Development Trust
    • Sharon Hill from Mayfield & Easthouses Development Trust
    • Jenny Maddalena from Rosewell & District Community Council 
    • Xica Dabin-Debono from The Glencorse Association 
    Our chair, Julian Holbrook, signing the Terms of Reference for MCAN

    What’s next for the Midlothian Climate Action Hub?

    The Hub’s early priorities for this year will be focused on understanding local needs and reaching out to local groups.

    This includes a mapping exercise to fully understand the needs, challenges and ambitions of Midlothian’s community groups and organisations, and how they can best be supported and empowered. To support this activity and introduce the Hub to the local communities, four outreach events will be taking place across Midlothian in February and March.

    We will release information on these very soon, so make sure to keep an eye out and follow the Hub’s brand new social media!

    To get in contact with Midlothian Climate Action Network, email them at hub@midlothianclimateaction.org, or visit their website here.

    Article authored by Bruno Santos.

    Leap into the New Year with our 2024 Volunteer Recruitment Fair!

    Volunteer Midlothian is thrilled to announce the return of their Volunteer Recruitment Fair! Following the success of last year’s event, 2024’s fair promises to be even more engaging and impactful. The event will take place on Thursday 29 February, from 10am to 2:30pm, at the St John’s and Kings Park Church in Dalkeith. It guarantees to be an unmissable opportunity for aspiring volunteers. 

    It’s not too late to make volunteering your New Year resolution 

    As this leap year grants us an extra day, Volunteer Midlothian urges everyone to harness this extra time to leap into action and consider the benefits of volunteering. 

    1. Personal Growth: Engaging in volunteering encourages you to step out of your comfort zone, fostering personal development, and have fun in the process! 
    1. Community Connection: Volunteering brings people together, nurturing a sense of belonging and unity within communities. It can help you create strong bonds and make friends from all walks of life. It is a great way to gain confidence and social skills by meeting new people. 
    1. Mental and Physical Well-being: Research consistently shows that volunteering can positively impact mental health by reducing stress and enhancing overall well-being. It also encourages an active lifestyle, benefiting your physical health too! 
    1. Professional Development: Volunteering is a prime source for gaining hands-on experience, honing existing skills, and broadening your professional network. It can significantly boost your CV or applications to further education. 
    1. Making a Meaningful Impact: The opportunity to contribute to causes you care about is one of the most compelling reasons to volunteer. It’s a chance to effect positive change and feel good about how you spend your time. 

    What opportunities are there? 

    Whether it’s mentoring, environmental work, or community outreach, there’s a place for everyone to make an impact. At the Volunteer Recruitment Fair, there will be a variety of organisations with information stalls displaying a range of volunteering opportunities. 

    Some participating organisations include Equal Futures, Forth Rivers Trust, VoiceAbility, NHS, Girlguiding Midlothian, and many more! 

    Join Us! 

    Whether you’re a seasoned volunteer looking for your next venture or an aspiring volunteer with no clue where to start, mark your calendar for Thursday 29 February, from 10am to 2:30pm. Spend your extra day of this leap year making positive change!  

    Take the leap, make a change, and kick start your volunteer journey this year. 

    Applications open for CMHWB Micro Grant

    Are you a community group looking for funding?

    Year 3 of Midlothian Community Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund for Adults launched in the end of September 2023 distributing over £246 thousand to third organisations and community groups. It has already seen many successful applications for larger projects. There is a small fund of £7800 to support micro grant applications, to be distributed by the end of March 2024. The Fund aims to support people’s good mental health and wellbeing and to provide opportunities to connect with others in local community.

    Local groups are invited to apply for funding from £200 up to £2500.

    Known as “the Sunflower Fund” the funding has a strong emphasis on collaboration, partnerships, capacity building and the development of creative projects that can work at a grassroots level, together with local people. All these to ensure outcomes are inclusive and have maximum impact on a local level. In Midlothian the fund had been overseen by a team of staff and volunteers from the TSI, Midlothian Council, Health in Mind, and Midlothian Health and Social Care Partnership. The Lived Experience Working Group from Health in Mind will be assessing the funding applications. 

    Fund enquiries should be directed to Magda Clark magda@volunteermidlothian.org.uk by 26 February 2024.

    Read more about the Midlothian Community Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund here.

    Midlothian Third Sector Interface

    Success for a Midlothian Climate Action Hub

    Members of the Midlothian Climate Action Network are thrilled and making plans to celebrate after the Scottish Government confirmed that their application for grant funding for a staffed Climate Action Hub in the county had been successful. The Hub will support a collaborative effort focused on community-led climate action and adaptation within the region.

    Funding Success

    Funding of nearly £75,000 has been secured for the remainder of 2023-24 while more significant grant support for 2024-25 is agreed in principle only at this stage pending final agreement on the Scottish Government budgets for that year. However, the Scottish Government’s advice has been to recruit staff for both this year and next with that caveat. The application was made by a partnership involving Network members and Midlothian Voluntary Action, the local Third Sector Interface based in Dalkeith. The Network seek to obtain incorporated charitable status for the Hub during 2024-25. In the meantime, it is very happy with the partnership with MVA.

    Ian Malcolm, who has been acting as coordinator of the Midlothian Climate Action Network since June, said:

    “This is very welcome and exciting news for Midlothian and its communities. The Hub is a community-led initiative to encourage local community groups to achieve their climate action ambitions, through training and sharing and learning from each other through events and collaborative projects.

    Climate action takes many forms; in environmental protection, community gardening and food growing, encouraging and protecting green spaces and increasing biodiversity. It encourages walking and cycling, helps reduce food and fuel bills in times of need, encourages community wellbeing and provides positive and inclusive opportunities for the local population. It’s all good.”

    Lesley Kelly, Chief Officer of Midlothian TSI was equally delighted:

    “The application to the Scottish Government had to come from an incorporated body such as our own and we were only too pleased to offer our support. So much of what is planned chimes with our goals to create positive opportunities and outcomes for the people of Midlothian, particularly those on low incomes and suffering most from the cost of living and energy crises. The more we can do to help communities support each other through these difficult times, the better.”

    Councillor Dianne Alexander, Midlothian Council said:

    “Midlothian Council fully endorses the community-focused funding received for a Midlothian climate change action hub. The hub will be immensely important to bring our communities and people together to work with us as we move forward on our journey towards net zero.”

    The Hub will employ three members of staff in the first instance: the Hub Manager, and two part-time Community Engagement Officers working directly with and encouraging local community groups. The staff will be based in the MVA office in Dalkeith. The employing body will be MVA while the strategic direction for the Hub will be provided by a Hub Steering Group to be elected from the Network’s community groups.

    Early actions by the Hub will include opening the first round of a communities’ seed funding grant programme and delivery of four roadshow events across the county region. These and other workstreams will increase awareness and understanding of climate change, provide sharing and learning opportunities and showcase and promote positive community efforts.

    The application to the Scottish Government was supported by our local MP and MSPs, Midlothian Council and the Midlothian Community Planning Partnership. The partnership is grateful to SCCAN (Scottish Community Climate Action Network) and to the Scottish Government for their support.

    Apply to join the cause!

    The jobs are currently being advertised on Goodmoves:

    This is an exciting time to be involved in community-led climate action and for the successful applicants to make their mark at local and regional levels and to influence policy and decision-making at national level.

    For further information about the jobs please contact Lesley Kelly at lesley.kelly@mvacvs.org.uk, or call 0131 663 9471.

    The Midlothian Hub is one of a number of regional hubs being supported by the Scottish Government across the country. In addition to their work in Midlothian, the Hub Manager will play an active part in the Scotland-wide Hub network, attending monthly meetings, quarterly Stakeholder Working Group meetings and enabling opportunities for learning across the regions.

    Challenge Poverty Week: Uniting Against Poverty In Midlothian

    We are more than halfway through Challenge Poverty Week and we want to highlight what’s been happening in Midlothian to unite against poverty and what we are doing at MVA and across Midlothian in the longer term to tackle poverty in the community.

    In the face of the Cost-of-Living Crisis and with councils facing budget challenges, it seems appropriate that we introduce Challenge Poverty Week (CPW) and what it stands for.

    What is Challenge Poverty Week?

    Challenge Poverty Week was launched in 2013 by the Poverty Alliance. It serves as a platform to raise awareness about the persistence of poverty in Scotland and its impact on people’s daily lives. Every October, Scottish organizations come together to stand against injustice and poverty. This year’s themes revolve around communities, volunteers, housing, adequate incomes, transport, and food.

    The Cost-of-Living Crisis and Its Impact

    The Cost-of-living crisis is affecting people across Scotland and is having an impact on the everyday lives of people. 70% of people in a recent Poverty Alliance Survey said that poverty in Scotland is very real today. In Midlothian specifically, households earning £40,000 or less are said to be feeling a more significant impact from the increased living costs. The number of crises grant applications and acceptances has almost doubled since 2013/14 with a rapid increase in 2021/22.

    Challenge Poverty Week in Midlothian

    There have been a number of events in Midlothian for 2023 Challenge Poverty Week. At MVA Lesley Kelly, our Chief Officer, spoke at a breakfast briefing on Monday talking about communities and volunteers, offering insight into fairer funding, policy asks and the impact the Cost-of-living crisis is having on organizations across Midlothian. Read more about the policy briefing here. We also offered extra volunteer drop-in sessions for people to find out more about volunteering opportunities. This is all part of the confidence experience to help people into employment. Organizations we work alongside with such as Dalkeith Citizens Advice Bureau  and Mayfield and Easthouses Development Trust have also run events.

    Our Long Term Goals

    Under our longer term goals to eradicate and tackle poverty, we want to let you know that under the 2023-2027 Single Midlothian Plan MVA & Volunteer Midlothian alongside other organizations are working towards ensuring no child or household is living in poverty by 2027. Also, that individuals and communities in Midlothian can have improved skills and health for work and general happiness in their everyday life.

    Alongside this, we are making a commitment towards net zero carbon emissions by 2030 which goes hand in hand with poverty eradication according to a report published by the Climate Environment Programme in 2015.


    Discovering the Kelpies with our Conversation Café

    At our beloved Conversation Café, the world comes alive through the magic of words. Every Tuesday and Thursday morning we gather together to discuss travels, explore geography, share cultural traditions, and immerse ourselves in local customs.

    This week, on the 2nd of October, a spirited group of learners embarked on an adventure to The Kelpies and Falkirk Wheel. The Kelpies beckoned us with their mythical charm, pulling us away from our usual gathering spot at The Salon. We also had a chance to take a closer look at the magnificent piece of engineering at the Falkirk Wheel, whilst sipping tea and keeping the conversation going.

    What awaited us was a day of pure delight, where laughter became our common language.

    On the journey, we introduced ‘travel bingo’ to keep the conversation flowing and played ‘spot the beetle’. Was it the elusive Volkswagen Beetle or a creature of the insect world?

    The best part is that the adventure doesn’t end here. Our learners are already planning another exciting day trip in the coming year. Let’s see where our conversations take us next…

    A special thanks to our generous funders, UK Shared Prosperity Fund, for covering all expenses. And, of course to Lothian Community Transport Service (LCTS) for ensuring our safe and comfortable travel.

    Drop in from 10am-11.30am on a Tuesday or Thursday at the Conversation Café to be a part of our journeys of discovery, connection and laughter.

    See more of our adventures on our social media pages: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter.

    Transforming Young People’s lives – Funding Boost  

    We are delighted to announce further development of our Transform project for young volunteers, thanks to funding awarded from Tyne & Esk Rural Communities Development Fund. 

    This funding will enable continuation of our successful Intergenerational Activity sessions at Heinsberg House in Penicuik, the introduction of a new session at Cowan Court, and further support for our Garden volunteers at Dalkeith Community Garden until February 2024. 

    Transform is a fully supported and supervised volunteering project for young people 15-24 years old, where our Youth Support Coordinators help young people gain confidence, skills, experience and a reference through volunteering as part of a small group. 

    The Intergenerational Activity sessions involve young volunteers delivering a range of games and social activities for older people living in Sheltered Housing.  The sessions breakdown intergenerational misconceptions, reduce loneliness and social isolation, and strengthen respect and community cohesion. 

    Within our Community garden in Dalkeith Country park young volunteers learn practical skills and develop experience as well as a sense of belonging and team spirit, all whilst creating a peaceful, attractive greenspace for the wider community.

    By developing this range of both hard and soft skills, the project prepares young people for positive progression in their lives.

    This funding allows us to engage more young people in volunteering, supporting them to develop skills and experience whilst having a positive impact on their local communities overall.

    To find out more or to get involved as a volunteer, contact our Operations & Development Manager Karen Downie – karen@volunteermidlothian.org.uk, or visit our Transform page.

    Funded by Scottish Ministers in conjunction with the Tyne & Esk Local Action Group

    Midlothian Volunteer Awards 2023: Winners Announced

    We are very excited to announce the winners of the 2023 Midlothian Volunteer Awards ceremony, which took place last night at Newbattle Abbey College. These incredible individuals have gone above and beyond to make a difference in their communities and to their organisations, and we are thrilled to recognise their contributions and dedication. From mentoring young people, supporting parents and providing soups for vulnerable people, and making a difference through physical activity, they represent the very best about volunteering.

    Their inspiring stories remind us that we all have the power to create a positive change, no matter how big or small it may be.

    By sharing their stories and celebrating their contributions and accomplishments, Midlothian’s volunteers inspire others to get involved and make a difference to their own communities….and their own lives. They are shining examples of what it means to be a volunteer. We hope that their passion and commitment will continue to inspire others for years to come.

    Congratulations!!!

    This year’s winners are:

    Equality and Diversity Award – Les Reynolds, Mayfield Community Club Tea Dance

    Service to the Community Award – Davy Naismith, The Glencorse Centre

    Befriender/Mentor of the Year Award – Alister Ballantyne, Health in Mind

    Active Volunteering and Climate Change Award – Ageing Well Volunteers, Midlothian Council

    Health & Wellbeing Award – Soup2Go – Young Volunteers, Midlothian Council Communities, Lifelong Learning and Employability

    Dedicated Service Award – Louise D’Arcy-Greig, Army Cadet Force

    Outstanding New Volunteer – I.M.P.A.C.T, Improving Midlothian Parents And Caregivers Time

    Volunteering Team of the Year Award – The Rosewell Volunteering Team and The Rosewell Gardening Club, Rosewell Development Trust

    Volunteer of the Year – Ruth Simpson, Ageing Well

    Our Saltire Summit Award winners for 2023 are:

    Kristen Dent, Aleesha Doherty, Louise Gillespie, Beth Keay, Shaun Wood, Chloe Barron, Ben McIntosh, George Brodie, Abbie O’Malley

    Volunteer Voices: A Meeting with Burns Scott

    Burns, Julianne and his wife Helen.

    This year’s theme for Volunteer’s Week is to Celebrate and Inspire, so with that in mind we visited Penicuik to interview one of Midlothian’s most dedicated volunteers. With over seventy years of experience under his belt, BURNS SCOTT is a source of inspiration to current and future volunteers in Midlothian and beyond. Here we share the highlights of his story as told to Julianne, our student on placement from Napier University. We hope that Burns’ achievements will encourage others to volunteer in their own communities too.  

    Burns Scott’s volunteering journey began after World War II, when he initially volunteered for the Royal Navy in 1946. During his time in the navy, he realised that his desire to volunteer had grown into a long-term commitment. Burns expressed to Julianne that his motivation to continue volunteering stemmed from a desire to give back to his community. This motivation drove him to take on various voluntary roles throughout his working life, and even into his retirement.

    A varied, rich and rewarding volunteer journey

    Over the years Burns came to recognise that volunteering was ultimately worth it, despite the time it took being involved in so many different voluntary roles. He has accumulated an impressive number of awards in recognition of the difference he has made. When asked about his most memorable experience, he told us how enjoyable his involvement in the annual Penicuik Hill Race had been. The event brought people together from all over Midlothian and beyond, using sport to foster community spirit and promote health and well-being. 

    The hill race also helped to raise the profile of the Penicuik area, boosting the local economy, and bringing more people into the county too. On one occasion, at the culmination of the event, Burns received a crystal bowl from all the athletes and marshals that had taken part. When his time on the Penicuik Gala Committee came to an end, he was presented with a card that had been handwritten and signed by all the competitors that year. Burns told us that he was extremely touched by the gesture and that it was one of his proudest moments, because people had publicly recognised the contribution he had made.

    Connecting with others

    Burns showing Julianne his signed card from all the hill racers.

    Volunteering encourages us to meet and connect with people from all sorts of backgrounds, and to make new friends. When asked who had made the most significant impact on his volunteering journey, Burns Scott mentioned Charlie Gordon. They were on the Penicuik Gala Committee together and according to his wife Helen, Burns and Charlie ‘would read each other’s minds’. Charlie was somebody that Burns felt he could look up to. Because of their mutual interest in giving back to their community, they inspired each other to continue volunteering. Often, it is the positive energy occurring between groups of volunteers that can lead to the biggest and most impactful gains.

    Keeping up the good work

    When asked what advice he would give to someone considering volunteering, Burns was quick to answer. ‘Put your heart and soul into it and give 100% of your effort.’ Burns and Helen emphasised that it is important for people to do something they like and not to give up, despite the challenges that can occur. Burns also observed that once people are volunteering and get stuck into a project, the ‘vibe’ rubs off on them. They become more motivated because other people around them feel the same. This in turn can result in a group of volunteers working hard together make positive changes happen for each other, and for others in their community as well.  

    Every volunteer in Midlothian deserves to be recognised for the effort they’ve made to give something back. In the run up to Volunteers’ Week 2023 and the Midlothian Volunteer Awards ceremony on the evening of June 1st, we hope that Burns Scott inspires new and future volunteers as much as he has inspired us at Volunteer Midlothian.

    This story was authored by Julianne Nixon.

    Volunteer Midlothian’s Rhino Mascot Visits Mauricewood Primary School

    Our Napier university student Julianne visited Mauricewood Primary School last week with Volunteer Midlothian’s Volunteering Development Worker, Magda, to tell pupils about Volunteers’ Week 2023. The pair delivered a special presentation, with all of the children at Mauricewood listening carefully to what was said and asking lots of very thoughtful questions.

    Julianne doing the presentation at Mauricewood primary.

    Julianne and Magda took time during their visit to share positive messages with the children about the importance of volunteering. They also introduced our rhino mascot to the pupils, with a short imaginary story about why the mascot has no name and why its mission is to help us celebrate volunteers who make a difference in Midlothian.

    The pupils were encouraged to consider what volunteers do within their communities and the benefits that this can bring. Julianne went on to explain the rules for our ongoing ‘Name the Mascot’ competition, which runs from 15th May – 1st June 2023. Children living in Midlothian are allowed to name the rhino, then on the 1st of June the winning entry will be chosen by guests at our annual Midlothian Volunteer Awards ceremony. The winning child will receive a certificate, a rhino toy of their own, and £100 for their school or after school club to spend on new resources.

    The pupils of Mauricewood Primary School came up with some great ideas for the rhino during our visit. Names such as ‘Noah’, ‘Hamish’ and ‘Isla’ were among the many suggestions made. We are looking forward to finding out what other entries will be submitted by pupils from other schools and afterschool clubs in Midlothian.

    Good luck Mauricewood, as well as all the other schools and children taking part!

    Midlothian Volunteers’ Week 2023 Mascot Rhino Competition

    What’s my name?

    Please send us your suggested name for our mascot rhino. The winner will receive £100, their own cuddly toy rhino and a winner’s certificate. The deadline for applications is Thursday 1st June 2023 at 12 p.m.

    Good luck!

    Competition guidelines:

    • Any child who attends primary school or after school club in Midlothian can enter.
    • Primary school teachers or club leaders can also enter on behalf of their whole class or after school group, provided the children have chosen the name.
    • There should be only one entry per child or class.
    • If there is a whole class or club entry, individual children from that class can still apply once each.
    • The winner will be announced via Twitter on the evening of 1st June 2023.
    • The school will be contacted in the week beginning Monday 5th June to arrange delivery of the prizes.
    • Midlothian Advertiser may also be invited to cover the story in local media.

    Enter the Competition

    reCAPTCHA is required.

    Community Climate Action Project

    Midlothian Council has set a target of reaching Net Zero by 2030. We are living in a Climate Emergency and it’s imperative that we all take a role, big or small, in tackling the climate crisis. Climate action activities are already taking place across Midlothian. However, there are many people being left out of the climate conversation.

    To support community-led climate action, MVA managed a Community Climate Action Project from March 2022 to February 2023. The project was funded through a £10,000 grant from the National Lottery’s Together For Our Planet programme. All projects funded by this programme had to be focused on developing a community-led climate action project.

    The two criteria chosen from the programme list that this project set out  to achieve were:

    • Supporting the development of longer-term climate action within communities
    • Celebrating the importance of community-led climate action and encouraging more people to get involved

    Through engagement with the Federation of Community Councils, two communities were selected for the research – Damhead, a rural community, and Penicuik, an urban community. Discussions also took place with the relevant Community Councils, and they were in support of this project being carried out in their communities. The research was to be carried out by consultants, and a procurement process took place in summer 2022. A volunteer representative from each community supported interviewing applicants. The decision on who to appoint was made by the community representatives, with help from MVA.

    SKS Scotland were chosen to complete the research. The research began in September 2022 and was completed in February 2023.

    The outcome of this research was to form a report for each community that included:

    • A community climate action plan
    • Assessment of what a 20-minute neighbourhood means for each community
    • Summaries of discussions from community engagement sessions
    • Future funding opportunities

    The aim for this project was to include individuals from all sections of the two communities and to offer them a space to discuss what the climate crisis means to them on a local level and how they can tackle it together. This was facilitated through a stakeholder survey, drop-in sessions in the communities, and online workshops, that took place over the course of four months.

    This research helped inform the action plans and allowed the communities to prioritise activities under five main themes:

    • Energy use
    • Active and sustainable travel
    • Re-use, recycling and upcycling
    • Local food and food waste
    • Biodiversity and improving local spaces.

    The project was completed in February 2023, and two reports were delivered to the communities for them to take forward.

    Thank you to the communities for their engagement and enthusiasm throughout the project, and to SKS Scotland for delivering the reports.