Building Briefs – August 16th

  • CALA Homes funds Boxes of Hope for cancer patients

A cancer support group based in Renfrewshire is celebrating after receiving a helping hand from CALA Homes (West).

CALA Homes (West) surveying manager David Wilkes and Rays of Hope group leader Linda O’Malley

Rays of Hope, a voluntary support group based in Elderslie, offers help to locals with cancer and their loved ones from diagnosis for as long as they are needed.

And the group – which aims to turn a negative experience into a positive one by offering emotional, physical and practical support – has been awarded funding through CALA Homes’ annual community bursary scheme.

Rays of Hope is the only group of its kind in Renfrewshire, preventing local cancer patients and their families from having to travel further afield for vital help and guidance. As well as offering general support, social outings and psychotherapy, the group runs a range of activities – from creative writing and scrapbooking to gentle exercise and cookery – to members on a regular basis.

The £750 of funding from CALA Homes (West) will go towards purchasing and delivering ‘Boxes of Hope’ to newly diagnosed breast cancer patients undergoing treatment at Paisley’s Royal Alexandra Hospital.

Rays of Hope began making up and delivering the boxes after surveying group members on the items they considered ‘essential’ to helping them get through their treatment. As well as a personalised message and card from a member of the group, each Box of Hope contains unperfumed toiletries, earphones, bed socks, mindfulness books, colouring books and pencils, puzzles, re-usable water bottles, tissues and eye gel.


  • Regeneration funding proposed for key Eyemouth projects

Scottish Borders Council is proposing to fund a range of regeneration and economic growth projects in Eyemouth, taking recent investment in the town to over £800,000.

Following on from the launch of a £20,000 shopfront improvement scheme for the town earlier this week and a grant of £100,000 last year to Eyemouth Harbour Trust’s ice plan project, members of the council’s executive are being asked to approve up to £699,000 from the council’s Capital Plan across seven different projects when they meet on August 20.

Up to £25,000 of additional funding is proposed to assist Eyemouth Harbour Trust’s project to develop a new ice-making facility at the harbour which would support local fishing boats and attract others to land their catch at Eyemouth.

Potential match funding of £300,000 is being suggested to help progress the redevelopment of the Old Fishmarket in Harbour Road. It is proposed to demolish the redundant building and develop a vibrant space on the harbour front for the use of the local community, businesses and visitors. An application to the Scottish Government’s Regeneration Capital Grant Fund has been submitted by Eyemouth Harbour Trust for this scheme.

To support a feasibility study for the Whale Hotel on Harbour Road, which has remained vacant for many years, up to £5,000 is proposed to be earmarked, in addition to up to £20,000 for storage facilities at Gunsgreenhill Farm. Up to £10,000 would be made available for a skate park feasibility study and £15,000 for additional electric car charging points.

The proposed funding allocation has been discussed and is being proposed to the council by the Eyemouth and East Berwickshire Economic Regeneration Group. In addition to local elected members, the group includes representation from the town’s community council and the Eyemouth Community Development Trust following successful participation requests.


  • Cabinet secretary visits Stobhill Acute Mental Health Wards site

Michael Matheson MSP, cabinet secretary for transport, infrastructure and connectivity, paid a visit to the works being carried out at Stobhill Acute Mental Health Wards this week.

He was joined by hub West Scotland CEO Iain Marley and board chair Jo Armstrong.

Stobhill Acute Mental Health Wards project is being delivered in partnership with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) board and Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP). The structure of the buildings are substantially complete and work to the building internals has begun.

The project was designed by Keppie Design and is currently on-site with BAM Construction.

The cabinet secretary was briefed on how the investment will deliver high-quality facilities that enhance the provision of health and care services; the added value being provided by the hub partnership, and the training, employment and business outcomes that will benefit local communities as the product of our commitment to inclusive growth and community investment.


  • Innovative battery technology ensures warmer council homes in Stirling

Stirling Council’s investment in innovative new technology to ensure warmer, greener and more energy-efficient local authority homes has been praised by the Scottish Government.

Kevin Stewart MSP visits Easton Court in Stirling

Minister for local government, housing and planning, Kevin Stewart, visited Raploch to view examples of the innovative battery storage technology being installed throughout Stirling, backed by part-funding of £324,000 from the Scottish Government’s Decarbonisation Fund.

The technology will seek to reduce fuel poverty, reduce carbon emissions and meet the new Energy Efficiency Standards for Social Housing 2 (EESSH2) that was launched by the minister in June.

EESSH2 will be implemented from 2020 with the ambition that by the end of December 2032 all social housing is as energy efficient as practically possible.

Mr Stewart visited two tenants in Raploch who were among the first to pilot battery storage systems to complement their existing solar panels.

The battery captures excess electricity generated from the home’s solar panels that would otherwise have been exported to the grid, allowing it to be used in the evening after the solar panels stop generating at the end of the day.

This technology has resulted in each home being over 90% self-sufficient in free electricity generated from the solar panels on their roof in recent months.

During the winter months when the energy generated from solar panels is much lower, the spare storage capacity in the battery can be used to import and store cheap off-peak electricity from the grid which can then be consumed the following day, thus further lowering the household’s electricity bills.


  • Borders council supports Eden Court Theatre feasibility study

Scottish Borders Council has agreed to contribute £30,000 to continue a feasibility study into the expansion and redevelopment of Eden Court Theatre. 

The £30,000, which will be coming from the development and infrastructure service budget, will be match-funded by Highlands and Islands Enterprise and carries on from earlier work funded by HIE and the Inverness Common Good Fund to support the future vision for the theatre. 

The potential works will ensure the building and facilities are fit-for-purpose for 21st century live performances ensuring the Highlands can attract world-class public performances.