Groups target bank charity cash

Hawick High School additional needs department has taken delivery of a new rowing machine thanks to the efforts on a charity walk
Hawick High School additional needs department has taken delivery of a new rowing machine thanks to the efforts on a charity walk

A NEW rowing machine is making a big splash with pupils at the high school.

Funded through the exertions of Stuart Oliver, Keith Douglas, Brian Aitken, Gary Dalgleish and Gavin Gibbon – who completed a 50-mile sponsored walk to St Mary’s Loch and back, the £1,800 Concept 2 rowing machine, with support pack and wheelchair adaption is now in use.

Learning support teacher Ann Scott said: “Thank you to everyone who has supported the St Mary’s Challenge event. The rowing machine has made a huge difference to pupils and allows all inclusive use of the launch suite.”

And proposals are in place to add to the equipment by creating an all-inclusive interactive exercise area. The £6,000 plan would see the purchase of an additional Concept 2 rowing machine, one recumbent cycle, two Shokk G-bikes and an X-Box 360 with a plasma screen.

Mrs Scott added: “This would be an absolutely fantastic addition to the school facilities.”

The school has already cleared the first hurdle in their quest for the funding from the Royal Bank of Scotland’s Community Force Fund after getting their project approved.

Now they need to secure as many votes as possible by logging onto the website http://communityforce.rbs.co.uk from Monday through until voting closes next month.

However, they will face strong competition from many other projects from the town, which includes the Artbeat Studios, Hawick Music Live, the Escape Youth Cafe and Future Hawick.

Lesley Parris of Artbeat, which is based at Commercial Road, said: “Our main aim is to promote welfare for those in the community who are socially excluded by reason of physical or learning disability, mental illness, age, poverty or other condition of need.

“We offer a service to all, promoting community awareness and presence, involvement in local events and festivals therefore encouraging inclusion for all.

“Due to limited funds, the studio is open only a few hours in the week. This places a restriction on the amount of individuals using the studio, it also means people attending school or work are unable to use the space.

“If we are successful with the application we would employ more staff, offering flexibility to the project eg. after school sessions, night classes, weekend workshops etc. This would make Artbeat Studios totally inclusive, intergenerational and offer equal opportunities to everyone in the community.”

While Future Hawick chairman Derick Tait explained their plans to enhance the High Street with a pilot scheme to put ‘shop jackets’ onto empty properties.

Mr Tait said the scheme had been trialed in Whitley Bay and Dumbarton, with empty shops dropping from 30 per cent to eight per cent at the former.

He said: “This is a real opportunity for the town.”