‘Resilient’ bid for town fails to energise Teries

Scottish Borders Council headquarters.
Scottish Borders Council headquarters.

Only 36 people out of almost the entire population of Hawick have responded to an appeal for the town to become a ‘Resilient Community’.

And the chairperson of Hawick Community Council, Marion Short, says the response is “very disappointing”.

Despite organising the delivery of thousands of leaflets to Teri households in a bid to galvanise support for the initiative aimed at enabling townsfolk to help themselves during emergency situations, Mrs Short says even some of that small number or respondents did so to decline.

Marion Short, who has led the community council’s role in promoting the regional and national initiative, told the Hawick News: “I do find the response from the Hawick public very disappointing. The only area still to be completed is the west end from the Loan up, and excludes Burnfoot due to different requirements. But so far only 36 forms have been returned and they are a mixed bag.”

Resilient Communities allows a town to develop a plan that makes it better able to cope with weather events, fire or major incidents by ensuring that individuals and teams, under a coordinator, have the right equipment and expertise to thrive in such a situation. The community council’s leaflet drop is a bid to sign up local volunteers who would be added to a register.

But Mrs Short says the response so far is making the project unviable. “Some of the forms are from very elderly folks who actually apologise for not being able to help, and some have just commented that it is either something they do in their street anyway, or that Scottish Borders Council should be doing.”

She continued: “I totally understand people do a lot of this work anyway, but for this to succeed in Hawick then they need to register to let me draw on resources available.”

Mrs Short concedes that she has always felt the term ‘resilience’ wasn’t the best title for the project, but with all 67 community councils in the region tasked with the same purpose, other villages and towns have enjoyed a great response.

She added: “I don’t think people appreciate that members of Hawick Community Council, while doing everything else for projects on a voluntary basis, have spent many hours in all weather delivering these leaflets.

“This is a project initiated by the UK Government but for Hawick to be part of it we need a register of volunteers.”