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Our Projects

Our community working together

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June 2019: Installation of community fibre

19 properties (8 local businesses, 11 private houses) received fibre broadband resulting from our government funding application. This directly improved children’s education, allowed residents to significantly improve their online charity work, and helped local businesses develop our local economy. Increased internet speed has been invaluable during the Covid-19 pandemic, when much of normal life has inevitably moved online.

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December 2020: Tree planting in Blackwood Estate

A successful application to The Woodland Trust provided 420 saplings for improving a public path within Blackwood Estate. This path was originally constructed in 1999 (funded by the Millennium Project) and links the Blackwood and Boghead estate roads, allowing a circular route between both villages.

Planting was carried out over one weekend by BECA trustees and Kirkmuirhill Men’s Shed volunteers, boosted by tea/coffee/rolls and bacon. Luckily, the weather was good (for December) and the trees are now forming a great shelter belt for wildlife, and a source of wild food for future years.


March 2021: Publication of childhood wildlife journal

In 1973, aged 11, Stephen Reilly, his brother and a close friend produced a detailed journal of Blackwood Estate’s wildlife (with a few extras thrown in for artistic licence). The boys regularly played in the woodland and sketched the wildlife they spotted, researching the written content to produce a 58-page journal. 48 years later, Stevie still walks the Estate and feeds the birds. We are in the coming weeks publishing 100 copies of his journal, to distribute free of charge to our local schools, nurseries and community groups. 

We are very grateful to Blackwood and Kirkmuirhill Co-ordination Group for fully funding this project.

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April 2021: Loch Wood Community Woodland, Blackwood Estate

This has been our most challenging venture to date, involving a funding package of almost £250,000 sourced from a wide range of public agencies. Their support and advice over the past two and a half years enabled us to purchase 65 acres of Loch Wood in Blackwood Estate, for use as a community woodland for Blackwood, Kirkmuirhill and Boghead. 

Local consultation revealed that the community wishes to keep most of Loch Wood as a wild area to conserve the local wildlife and protected species within. However, there is also demand for a limited path network around the boundary, and provision of outdoor learning areas for schools and community groups.

UPDATE: November 2021

Three outdoor learning areas are now used by our primary schools:)

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June 2020: Rescue Hedgehogs Rehomed

BECA worked with Hessilhead Wildlife Rescue to rehome a number of hedgehogs into Blackwood Estate. Lots of happy hedgehogs now snuffling around the woods.

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March 2021: Our first footbridge is completed!

Thanks to WM Services for helping us open up new areas in Loch Wood

We are pleased to announce that the first footbridge over the Cander Water is finished (just ahead of our grand opening ceremony!). A great team effort (particularly by WM Services and
our extremely competent, always amiable trustee John Ward)

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March 2021: We have celebrated the opening of Loch Wood Community Woodland

Great attendance, great fun, money raised for a very good cause

Thank you to our community for supporting us so enthusiastically, on a beautifully sunny day in March. More than 250 people came along to explore Loch Wood and find the random Brussels sprouts hidden in the treasure hunt. All funds raised were donated to DEC for Ukraine.

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April 2022: Free First Aid Training Course: Done!

Helping to make our community safer

On behalf of our local community BECA would like to thank Jacek (and Andrew, Willie, Karen, Cheryl, Veronica, Erin, Gail and Jonathan) for giving up two days of their valuable time for the Outdoor First Aid training course: they are now trained and good to go
This will benefit not only Loch Wood volunteering but also our wider community - so thank you all once again

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June 2022: Conventicle, The Covenanter's Tomb, The Dovecot

A well-attended ceremony dedicated the new memorial at The Dovecot, commemorating the Covenanter William Lawrie of Blackwood

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September 2022: Second footbridge now open

Thank you to WM Services for such efficient and professional work :)

Our second footbridge was opened at the outdoor learning areas, allowing safe access over the burn and opening up another secluded area for learning.

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January 2023: Our launch of the Dolly Parton Imagination Library in Blackwood and Kirkmuirhill. This scheme provides free books monthly by post for all children aged 0 -5

So many books. so many children!

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Winter 2022: Emergency fuel vouchers for those in need

We successfully sourced funding for £12,500 of fuel prepayment vouchers to help keep our community warm during the energy crisis. By partnering with Clydesdale CAB and Clydesdale Food Bank, a fast and efficient way of distributing vouchers was achieved.

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Feb 2023: Shelter belt planted at Loch Wood

Thanks you to our funder Paths For All

Volunteers from Clydesdale Community Initiatives and St. John's Primary worked (in very sunny weather!) to plant out mature trees, providing food and shelter for local wildlife.

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Feb 2024: Winner of the Renantis "Call For Projects" Climate Change Competition

£10,000 awarded to BECA for climate change project

Renantis S.p.A is providing funding for our new climate change awareness and education programme: baseline wildlife surveys are now being arranged and will be uploaded to our website as they are issued.

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April 2024: Tree planting session to extend the shelter belt

Thank you to The Conservation Volunteers charity for donating 950 trees and shelters

Now all we had to do was plant them! A fun session in great weather

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