• Foxlake Adventures

The Legacy:Scotland Tour

Viridor Credits recently celebrated the success of the Landfill Communities Fund in Scotland with a series of visits to share the good work of the scheme with the people that made it happen.

Travelling early from Bristol on the morning of 29 September, The Chairman and Trustees of Viridor Credits and the CEO, ably guided by Michael Cunningham, arrived to glorious Scottish sunshine in North Berwick to meet North Berwick Harbour Trust Association.  The harbour area is already home to another Viridor Credits-funded project: the much visited Scottish Seabird Centre; and is increasingly used to host a variety of activities.  This activity is vital to attract visitors to this small harbour community, whose very existence is threatened by the sea, which in 2012 breached the sea wall and devastated the area.  Jane McMinn of the Trust explained that the purpose of the project, which received funding through Viridor Credits' Legacy:Scotland scheme, was to raise and strengthen the sea wall to enable the community to be safe from the sea and encourage other activities to flourish and bring greater visitor numbers.  The project work will commence in March 2015 and expected to complete within 3 months.

North Berwick Harbour

Then it was off to another harbour setting at Dunbar.  A similar size community to North Berwick, and another Legacy:Scotland project, but a totally different proposition.  This beautiful setting comprised the ancient Cromwell outer harbour and a further commercial area linked to Lamer Island.  Lamer Island was originally built to defend the harbour from the privateers and then became a fever hospital site because of the ability to control access via a bridge.  The guns of the old battery have gone and the area within the walls is essentially a ruin but the position of the site with panoramic views over the Forth and the North Sea is an ideal setting for restoration to enhance its use as a visitor attraction and community hub.  The creative proposal outlined by Steve Anderson brought vividly to life by artists impressions showed how the space could incorporate a coastal garden, natural amphitheatre, interpretation room, viewing galleries and an iconic piece of artwork.

Dunbar Harbour

The afternoon brought a complete change of pace. As the sunshine continued to pour down, the team moved to the heart of East Lothian and the Foxlake outdoor adventure centre nestled in beautiful woodland on the edge of John Muir Country Park.  Foxlake Adventures is Scotland's first cable wakeboarding park along with the UK's only ropes course constructed over water.  Viridor Credits has funded several developments at the centre including one of the two overhead cables, changing rooms and fitting out a railway carriage as a community space when the weather turns nasty.  Dan Cooke from Viridor, an experienced surfer, was tempted to try his luck at wakeboarding and thoroughly enjoyed the experience - after a few false starts!  The Foxlake team are full of innovative ideas and now want to extend the facilities to younger clientele (under 6s) by adding a play park and beach area.

Foxlake                                                                                                                                         

The last visit of the day was to the Church of Scotland's Whittinghame Church, located in a remote rural setting.  A pinnacled Gothic church in red sandstone and a T-shaped layout the church interior had suffered from water ingress and a relatively small amount of funding enabled volunteers to repair the roof and related damage to the plaster and paintwork.  Unusually, the church also contained a community library to serve the isolated residents of the village.  Steering Group member Barbara Wyllie conducted the tour and local historian Stephen Bunyan, also on the Dunbar steering group, added to the interest by explaining the connections with the Balfour family.

Whittinghame Church

The evening featured the Legacy:Scotland awards ceremony at the Radisson Blu hotel in Edinburgh.  Sixty invited guests from steering groups, project applicants, Viridor and parties interested in the Landfill Communities Fund attended.  Viridor Credits' new CEO John Lockwood welcomed delegates and introduced Dr Ian White, the chairman of Viridor Credits who outlined some of the many projects supported over the last 13 years and amounting in total to over £7m.  The three legacy projects were then presented with commemorative glass Legacy:Scotland trophies and given the opportunity to describe their projects.       

The next day the fine weather continued as the team moved west to St Columkille's church in Rutherglen North Lanarkshire, an imposing brick built church constructed in 1940 as a modern adaptation of an Italian basilica in red brick with stone margins.  The team were briefed on the work undertaken to date which included repairs to the roof and replacement leadworks in order to keep the building wind and watertight; work was also completed on internal plastering which had deteriorated due to the leaky roof. Work will now commence on the unique entrance and Piazza area, funded by Viridor Credits.

St Columkille's Church

Then on to St Bride's Roman Catholic Church in East Kilbride.  It was designed by architects Gillespie, Kidd and Coia between 1957 and 1964 and is regarded as one of the finest examples of British twentieth century brutalist architecture.  The church is a category A listed building with unusual features from light cannons which illuminate the sanctuary to its imposing brick mass.  This is an architecturally pure rather than a comfortable or practical building. The huge interior is dark and gloomy as the light cannons and the roof have become opaque over time.  Viridor Credits funding will focus on the roof works and enable the architect's original vision to be seen again.

St Bride's Church

Dalziel St Andrews Parish Church in Motherwell was a very different experience to St Brides.  Opened in 1874, it was enlarged in 1897 with a suite of halls and anterooms and further 20th century accoutrements.  This impressive church had managed a 'makeover' programme costing some £1m and starting over 4 years ago on the heating system before moving on to rebuilding the organ, upgrading of the kitchen and toilets and roof work.  The project team have been very successful in attracting funding from a variety of organisations but were particularly grateful to Viridor Credits, and in particular to Michael Cunningham, for "being the first in the door, and continuing to help us - 'your help is so, so vital to us" said Alex Baird, Convenor of the Church's fabric committee.

Dalziel St Andrew's Church

To round up the second day of visits the team visited Carluke Golf Club where Club Secretary Tom Frame thanked Viridor Credits for the funding that enabled them to lay down gravel paths to enable golf buggies to have much greater access all parts of the course.  Chairman Dr Ian White also had the opportunity to demonstrate his pitching prowess on the newly constructed practice green!

Carluke Golf Club

After two days of fascinating project visits and a successful awards ceremony a weary Viridor Credits team made its way back to Edinburgh Airport to head for home, noting the farewell message on the departure gate to haste ye back, which we will certainly do as the Legacy:Scotland projects progress.