Members are involved with the following local community activities:
A small group of local volunteers with an interest in fairtrade, got together to help Selkirk gain fairtrade status in 2012. This meant 2 years of working towards certain targets set by the Fairtrade Foundation. These included getting backing from Scottish Borders Council; raising the community’s knowledge and understanding of fairtrade issues; making fairtrade products available at community events; partnering local groups, shops, businesses, schools and churches. Fairtrade helps those living in poverty to build their skills and confidence, increase their productivity and quality of goods, guaranteeing prices and markets. The “fairtrade premium”, the additional money paid, is for community use, and has led to improved health, education and community services across the developing world. We can shop locally, paying a little more, in the knowledge that the extra cost is alleviating poverty, giving dignity to producers and their families.
Selkirk Food Bank is a local facility available for people in urgent need of food (not cash). The Parish Church helps to run this on a four-weekly rota.
At the moment, people have to come to the Food Bank via a referral, usually from some branch of the Welfare Offices in Galashiels. The reasons for referral vary: sometimes people have fallen foul of the sanction system, very often benefits have been stopped or delayed, sometimes we are a stop gap until the central office sort the case out. This is the only workable system here, for two reasons:
1) We do not have the resources or the personnel to man the Food Bank in the same way as you see publicised in the larger centres, such as Edinburgh, where people can more or less drop in at random.
2) Unfortunately, some people abuse the system, so there has to be a check of some sort.
In 2014 there were 90 referrals, so we are definitely meeting a need, and we continue to be busy. As ever, we are totally dependent on the generosity of local donors, to whom we are more than grateful, backed up occasionally by the Supermarkets and Selkirk Football Club.
For more information, contact David Taylor or Liz Thomson.
Fresh Start Borders
Fresh Start Borders is a charity that helps people in the Scottish Borders who have been homeless and are moving into their first permanent tenancy. It provides starter packs of basic household essentials to clients as they move into their new homes, giving families and individuals, who may have no possessions, a helping hand until they can afford to equip their homes themselves. Donations and volunteers are welcome. See website for details.
Fresh Start volunteers at work in the store room >>>
Rowland’s is a community run youth project, providing a drop-in youth centre for 12-18s in West Port, Selkirk. It is run by volunteers, led by a small team of part-time youth workers. Funding comes from local donors and grants. New volunteers are always welcome – no previous expertise required. For more information, contact David Bethune (21703).
Selkirk Peace and Justice group
Selkirk Peace and Justice Group is a small group which includes members of SPC and others who share our interests. We like to look at issues and then see if we can take a small, local part in campaigns. Currently we are encouraging people to join us to catch the train to Edinburgh on Saturday 28th November to join Scotland’s Climate March at 12 noon on the Meadows. See www.stopclimatechaos.org Next year we will probably study a new issue.