Bursary Spotlight: Donations Breathe Life into Midlothian Causes

The recipients of this year’s Bursary, in partnership with the Midlothian Advertiser, have finally been revealed.

22 August 2018

After careful consideration from a selection panel, consisting of CALA staff from different areas of the business and Janet Bee, Editor of the Midlothian Advertiser, 13 successful groups have been awarded a share of £10,000.

Over the remainder of the year, we’ll be shining light on the range of amazing work being carried out by the awarded groups and organisations from throughout Midlothian, and finding out more information on how the money will be put to good use.

From food banks to youth volunteers, this year’s scheme has awarded grants to a variety of good causes throughout the region.

Five worthy causes that are providing essential care and life-saving skills to people in Midlothian are highlighted below;

Dalkeith Midlothian Kinship Carers SCIO

Awarded: £1,000

Dalkeith Midlothian Kinship Carers SCIO is a small charity that supports kinship carers who look after and care for relatives or friends’ children when they can no longer live with their natural parents.

The group was awarded £1000 from the CALA Community Bursary and will be used to help support kinship carers.   

Terry Harkins, a front-line kinship carer, said: "Children can find themselves needing to rely on kinship carers through neglect, abuse, parental substance abuse or bereavement, and it can be a huge strain on the extended family.

“A grandparent can go from having a quiet life, to taking on the upbringing of four kids, for example.

"Some of the children may have suffered difficult experiences and need psychological support and trauma/bereavement counselling as a result.

"Through just word of mouth the charity has grown considerably in a short space of time.  To date we have supported 59 carers and around 90 kids - helping with small things, such as local day trips, supermarket shopping vouchers and warm clothing at Christmas time. 

"Funding like this is just so important for us to support what we do. The reality is that the number of local children in kinship care in Midlothian keeps increasing - and we want to try to help more people in the future."


Roslin and Bilston Community First Responders

Awarded: £500

Roslin and Bilston Community First Responders is a group delivering life-saving support to the community. 

To date the group has trained more than 100 people in the community in basic lifesaving skills and free courses are held frequently.

Recently the group has received a donation of £500 from the CALA Community Bursary.  This funding will help to purchase two new Laerdal Q-CPR meters, which are used to measure the depth and rhythm of the CPR performed on a patient, and will ensure the best quality of CPR is given.

Jo Anderson said: "The way in which our first responders group has grown is amazing and we're delighted to have such a network now in the local area, however we always need new volunteers.

“We are always looking at ways to grow and improve with superb support from the Scottish Ambulance Service.

"The Q-CPR technology in these meters really does have the potential to save lives - and having new meters also means that we can use our existing ones, which are now out of date, for further high-quality training. 

“We are very thankful to CALA Homes for the Bursary Award.”

Penicuik Community First Responders

Awarded: £500

Penicuik Community First Responders was one of the first groups of its type in the East of Scotland, and has helped train and spawn similar lifesaving groups in Midlothian.

Awarded £500 from the CALA Community Bursary, the group is looking to fund a third publicly accessible defibrillator to be located within Penicuik. 

Mark Halliday, chair of the group, said: "We've built up a current network of nine active responders, and we're hoping to expand further in the coming years by recruiting more. 

"That has enabled us to achieve a response in an average time of just four minutes.

"Not just that, over the past 12 years on average we have attended in the region of 265 call-outs a year - which gives a sense of the scale of the operation. 

"We're so grateful for this funding. It could really make a difference to someone's life in Penicuik, adding to our two other Public Access Defibrillators in the town." 

Beeslack Life Saving Club

Awarded: £500

Founded around 28 years ago, Beeslack Life Saving Club is a volunteer-run organisation aimed at advancing the education and training in water safety and drowning prevention. Affiliated with the Royal Lifesaving Society UK, Beeslack Life Saving Club currently delivers RLSS UK courses and awards.

Through the CALA Community Bursary scheme, the group has been awarded £500 which will be used primarily to train teenagers to become future life-saving instructors.

Committee member, Jane Shepherd, said: “The funding is allowing our older club members to complete the RLSS UK Survive and Save instructor qualification – paving the way to pass on their lifesaving knowledge to the next generation.

“Now, with CALA’s help, we’re able to take the club forward and help to secure its success for the future club members.

“We couldn’t be happier to have received this funding from CALA. Its bursary scheme is a great initiative, and we’re so thankful we were chosen from the large number of applications.’’


Awarded: £500

Founded in 1988 Lothiansound is a talking newspaper that enables blind or partially sighted people to have access to news stories, allowing them to keep up to date with what’s happening in their local community.

Lothiansound has been awarded £500 from the CALA Community Bursary scheme for equipment including memory sticks and recording devices.

Lothiansound’s Treasurer, Eric Mulholland, said: “We are run purely by volunteers and the product, which is stored on USB sticks, is provided free of charge to listeners.

“Our ongoing costs are about to increase significantly as our current premises will soon no longer be available to us.

“So we’re very grateful to have received this CALA Bursary as we will be able to continue our important and inclusive line of work.”