2023 beneficiaries

WEST of Scotland rainfall may be bad news for some, but not the six community groups in East Loch Lomond that have received awards totalling nearly £24,000 from a local community hydro society.
Buchanan Community Hydro Society (BCHS) is a community benefit company (bencom) with financial surpluses earmarked to support projects within the Stirlingshire parish of Buchanan – from Rowardennan in the north and taking in Balmaha, Milton of Buchanan, Buchanan Smithy and Buchanan Castle Estate to the south.
The project was commissioned in July 2022 and in under a year of operation its profits exceeded forecasts meaning that by the end of the financial year (30 June 2023) there was enough surplus to grant awards to all eligible applications.
The 2023 beneficiaries include Buchanan Memorial Hall which submitted four successful applications with a combined value of £11,744 for electrical work, lighting and internal maintenance.
Hall committee secretary Maggi Milner says: “Buchanan Memorial Hall is delighted to receive funding from BCHS to support modernisation and improvement of facilities for the local community.
“Updated and more efficient lighting which – along with long overdue internal painting – will make the space much brighter. It’s a brilliant opportunity and much appreciated!”
East Loch Lomond Community Trust (ELLCT) received £730 over two awards.
“We’ve been discussing the idea of a community Christmas tree for a while now…but the trust has not had the budget to make it happen The award means we can organise a tree and lighting which will, this year, be in Milton of Buchanan,” says ELLCT secretary Margaret McDonald.
The ELLCT’s award also includes help towards hosting and maintenance of its website.
Buchanan Sheep Dog Society received £956 for folding tables. These are primarily for use at the annual sheep dog trials, but, as the society’s Sheena McAllister explains, they didn’t arrive in time for this year’s event: “Unfortunately the tables didn’t arrive until two days after this year’s dog trail but we’re looking forward to using them next year.”
The tables are available for wider community use having been put to good use in the tea room at last month’s Buchanan Flower Show as well as by stallholders at the ELLCT open air market in Balmaha.
Sheena adds: “We’re very grateful for the grant – the tables we were using were well past their sell by date.”
Another successful application, for £5,000 towards road repairs, was made by Buchanan Castle Golf Club on behalf of residents on the Buchanan Castle housing estate.
Two organisations based just outside the scheme’s catchment area also received awards as both are used by residents of Buchanan.
Drymen Scouts made two successful applications totalling £4510 for camping equipment, insurance and summer camp trips.
Another Drymen based organisation to receive an award is the local Youth Café which received £1000 towards insurance and trips. Lynn Armstrong is delighted to hear of the award: “We are grateful to BCHS for the grant which will be used to take our young people on an outing and buy some games equipment for our café nights at Drymen village hall.”
Award applications for next year’s fund will be open around March/April 2024 – specific information will be posted on BCHS social media nearer the time.
Pictured, from left: back row – Joel Milner (Buchanan Community Hydro Society), Robin Merrick (Drymen Scouts), Jamie Graham (Buchanan Community Hydro Society), Rosie Allan (Buchanan Sheep Dog Society).
Middle row: Margaret McDonald (East Loch Lomond Community Trust), Maggi Milner (Buchanan Memorial Hall), Samantha Baird (Buchanan Castle estate resident), Sasha Malone (Drymen Youth Café).
Front row: Sienna Malone (Drymen Youth Café), Kara Baird (Drymen Cubs), Ryan Baird (Drymen Youth Café).