Bill McLaren foundation aces £5K grant from Banks community fund

October 14, 2015 | Birneyknowe News

The Bill McLaren Foundation has received a crucial £5,000 grant from the Banks Group, via the Banks Community Fund, helping to transform an area of a Hawick public park.

The Bill McLaren Foundation successfully applied for a grant to improve the area which previously had derelict tennis hard courts on.

The grant helped pay for removing the old tennis hard courts, the levelling of the ground, adding topsoil to the area and seeding it for grass. This area is now grass hockey pitches.  New hard court tennis courts were then installed in an area near the new grass hockey pitches.

The Bill McLaren Park, which applied for the funding, is part of the Bill McLaren Foundation, which was set up in March 2010 with the help of the renowned rugby union commentator’s family, to support the development of rugby and its values and to recognise the huge contribution he made to the sport.

The tennis courts are for public use and will be enjoyed by the local club and by local Schools.

The brand new grass turf hockey pitch will be used by Hawick High School’s hockey teams, as well as by other football, rugby and athletic clubs ensuring that a wide range of the local community benefits from the new facilities.

Brian Renwick, business development manager at Hawick Volunteer Park, said: “We are incredibly grateful to Banks Group and its Community Fund for all the help and support it has provided

“Before the renovations, this section of the park was in a state of disrepair for over ten years – but thanks to the donation, the area has been given a new lease of life and will encourage youngsters to take part in more sport. That can only be a good thing for the Borders region.

“This donation and the changes we have made will definitely benefit the entire Hawick community as not only can the pitch be used for hockey, but it is very much multipurpose and can also be used for football, rugby and general training.

“We are extremely happy to be associated with Banks Renewables and once again they have shown their willingness to invest in local communities. Having a wind farm development close by is hugely beneficial to a small town like Hawick and such an infrastructure is set to significantly contribute to the community. I’m 100 per cent behind it.”

Banks Community Fund is a charitable fund set up by the Banks Group, the Hamilton-based property and renewable energy business, which can be used for everything from church hall repairs to community garden schemes while charities, youth groups and voluntary organisations are also urged to apply.

The Banks Community Fund provides grants for community groups and voluntary organisations in the vicinity of both operational and proposed Banks Group projects.  Anyone interested in applying for funding should contact James Eaglesham at the Banks Community Fund on 0191 378 6342 to see if your project is eligible for funding.

Siobhan Samson, community engagement co-ordinator at the Banks Group, said: “It is clear how much this project means to the local community of Hawick and I am delighted we have been able to support this project through the Banks Community Fund.

“We work extensively with local communities at all of our wind farm proposals. We hope to create lasting improvements that are beneficial to locals in and around the town, providing them with a better quality of community life.

“We are thrilled to be able to help the Bill McLaren Park with their hockey pitch and tennis courts project and it is very exciting to see it all come together.”

Banks Renewables is currently awaiting a decision on its 15 turbine Birneyknowe Wind Farm between Hawick and Bonchester Bridge, a development capable of driving significant investment into the area as well as supporting local groups and initiatives, with a community fund that could reach £300k per year.

In addition to providing green energy, Banks Renewables 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 – such as the support granted to the Bill McLaren Foundation.

To find out more about the proposed Birneyknowe Wind Farm visit

To support this important project that will bring investment, jobs and clean, green, renewable energy to the Scottish Borders Council, please click here. It only takes a few seconds.

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