Groups banking on votes to help secure charity cash winDFall

A TOTAL of six local groups are canvassing for Teries votes in a bid to win thousands of pounds from a Royal Bank of Scotland community fund.

The Bill McLaren Foundation, Hawick Music Club, the Escape Youth Cafe, Future Hawick, Artbeat Studios and Hawick High School have all made it to the final round of the RBS Community Force initiative – with each of them battling it out to attract the most votes and win an award of £6,000.

The bank’s Community Force project aims to support the people, projects and charities which make a difference to the town – and the three most popular causes in the East and Borders voting area will benefit.

In Hawick, townsfolk are being urged to get behind Future Hawick’s plans to transform three empty shops with a ‘shop jacket’ which creates a 3D illusion of a shop; boost the newly located Escape Youth Cafe with wheelchair access; help promote the work of the Bill McLaren Foundation and to preserve his famous commentary sheets; as well as secure the future of Hawick Music Club which organises seven professional classical concerts a year; assist the Artbeat Studios to expand their work in the community; and lastly, support the High School’s aim to create an interactive exercise area for pupils with additional needs.

Voting takes place via the Community Force website, with the deadline for voting being on Monday at noon – and votes can only be cast by registering first.

Hawick Music Club president Gordon Macdonald said of their bid for the £6,000 award: “We firmly believe that our programmes have something for every taste, for some the music may be well known, for others a new experience awaits them. The grant would contribute to our ongoing work, where the major aspects of the budget are artistes fees and venue costs.”

To vote for Hawick Music Club go to

If the Escape Youth Cafe drop-in facility in Commercial Road, which is open six evenings a week, is successful in their bid they will purchase a stair climber.

A spokesperson said: “The management committee, staff and young people are committed to fund-raising for this piece of equipment to ensure the project is accessible to all.”

Support their project at

The High School’s initiative would see the purchase of a Concept 2 rowing machine, one recumbent cycle, two Shokk G-bikes and an X-Box 360 with a plasma screen. Their bid states: “This would be an absolutely fantastic addition to the school facilities.” To vote for the High School go to

Future Hawick’s cause would upgrade the appearance and marketability of three empty shops by overlaying their frontages with images. Chairman Derick Tait said: “The images would promote possibilities for new business and improve the appearance of a particularly blighted area of Hawick High Street.”

To vote for the ‘shop jackets’ pilot scheme go to

The Commercial Road-based Artbeat Studios charity for the socially excluded would use the money to employ session workers to allow after school clubs, night classes and weekend workshops.

A spokesperson said: “The studio would be more diverse, offering something for everyone at any time of the day/week therefore being inclusive and intergenerational.” To support their cause go to

The Bill McLaren Foundation would use the award to brand and frame commentary sheets used by the rugby legend during his 50 years. Their bid for the cash adds: “It would provide circulars promoting the sheet from the 1987 Rugby World Cup and the opportunities available to clubs and individuals to receive grants from the Bill McLaren Foundation.”

Vote by going to