Banks pipe up for local community band

November 26, 2014 | Birneyknowe News

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A community pipe band in Hawick has been given the chance to welcome new members, thanks to a donation from the Banks Community Fund.

Hawick Scout Pipe Band has received a £5,400 donation from the Banks Community Fund, a support fund set up by the Banks Group, the family-owned renewable energy and property firm employing 420 across Scotland and the North of England.  Banks Renewables, part of the Banks Group, is best known in the region for being the current sponsors of Hawick RFC.

The pipe band, founded in 1917, is planning to spend the much needed cash on purchasing six new sets of bagpipes and carry cases for their dedicated musicians.

Drum Major David McTaggart, who has been a member of the band for eight years, believes the funding will help grow the band by attracting new bagpiping enthusiasts.

He said: “We’re very pleased with the donation and would like to say a huge thank you to Banks Renewables for the opportunities this opens up to us.

“Six new sets of bagpipes and carrying bags will have an incredibly positive effect on our members and allows us to welcome new people to experience the joy of playing traditional Scottish music to crowds across the country.”

“With over 30 members, the band is made up of people from the Hawick community and plays a huge role in bringing people together. We welcome people of any age or ability, and have talented pipers and drummers who are willing to teach people within the community, how to play instruments.

“Being part of the band builds people’s confidence and develops team building skills, which are skills for life. It also gives the community the opportunity to visit other towns and areas of Scotland that they may have not had a reason to do so previously.”

The Banks Community Fund was established to support community groups and voluntary organisations in the vicinity of the Banks Group’s developments, ensuring that local communities share the benefits from Banks presence in the area.

The Hamilton based firm has submitted plans for the 15 turbine wind farm at Birneyknowe, between Hawick and Bonchester Bridge, to The Scottish Government’s Energy Consents and Deployment Unit and the Scottish Borders Council, for their consideration.

If approved the wind farm could generate up to a 60MW of clean, green energy – enough for up to 35,000 homes.

Banks Renewables also strives to provide communities that host its wind farms with benefits that will make a meaningful, positive and lasting difference to the lives of those living closest to the sites.

During an intensive two year period of public consultation, local residents said there were a number of local projects that would benefit from funding and said there was a void in employment and training opportunities in the area, which Banks Renewables hopes to address.

The Birneyknowe wind farm proposals have been designed to improve access to jobs in the Hawick area by providing local people and firms with a new fund to boost training and workplace learning opportunities.

A share of the wind farm revenues, totaling up to £7.5million over 25 years, would also be directed to the local priority projects agreed with the local community.

Miles Crossley, senior business development manager at Banks Renewables, said: “The pipe band is a hugely important part of the Hawick community and helps bring local people together therefore we’re absolutely delighted to help with some important funding to help strengthen the band.

“Our development with care approach is aimed at creating lasting improvements that are beneficial to locals in and around Hawick to provide them with a better quality of community life, while also offering employment opportunities and work contracts in the area.”

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