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Busy Year for Blairgowrie & Rattray Development Trust

Date: Tuesday 2 January

Busy Year for Blairgowrie & Rattray Development Trust

Blairgowrie and Rattray Development Trust (BRDT) had another busy year in 2023.

Over the last 12 months, nearly £400,000 was raised to support the community in Blairgowrie and Rattray by the east Perthshire town’s development trust.

The money has come from a variety of sources including the National Lottery’s Community Led and Cost of Living funds, the Gannochy Trust, the Robertson Trust and the Strengthening Communities Programme (SCP) from the Scottish Government and managed by Development Trusts Association Scotland – as well as BRDT initiatives such as Booklore and the BaRI Food and Refill store.

The funding will support the work of the Trust – including providing and developing its core activities such as Booklore, The HEAT Project, the BaRI Food Project, Rattray Community Garden, community group support, the Biodiversity Blair project, the Open Spaces focus group, the Town Forum and mental health support - and a range of projects being undertaken by community groups and organisations in the town over the coming 12 months and beyond.

Teresa Donaldson is chair of BRDT.

She said: “Blairgowrie and Rattray Development Trust has a number of roles within the community, working alongside local people, community groups, businesses and the local authority to have a positive impact on the town and contribute to creating a thriving and attractive town with a strong sense of community and identity, appealing to those who live, work and visit the area.

“Part of this is to coordinate, communicate, promote and develop what is happening in Blairgowrie and Rattray and help to facilitate the delivery of objectives identified by local residents as being of the most importance to them in the town’s Community Action Plan.

“Looking back over the last 12 months I think we have come a long way towards achieving that once again.

“We have also spent a significant amount of time developing a new operational structure as part of our ongoing efforts to have a positive impact on the town through working with local people, community groups, businesses and the local authority.

“It has been another busy and productive year for the Trust and huge thanks must go to our team of staff, trustees and volunteers who make it all happen.”

The BaRI Food Project aims to reduce food waste and food costs in the local community and encourage growing more food locally.

The BRDT run BaRI (Blairgowrie and Rattray Initiative) Store in Blairgowrie works with Fareshare and Neighbourly and receives surplus food from Tesco, the Co-ops, Lidl and Sainsburys. The store sells in-date food and food which is at its best-before-date that the supermarkets cannot sell anymore. A range of items is available to purchase at heavily discounted prices, including fresh fruit and vegetables, bread, cereal, pasta, sauces and tinned soup and fruit and vegetables and over the last 12 months the store has served nearly 1600 customers.

The store also stocks eco-friendly cleaning products and toiletries which can be refilled at the store, saving on the number of plastic bottles that end up in landfill. Approximately 120 litres – the equivalent of one blue bin load – of plastic waste has been diverted from landfill in the last seven months.

As well as reducing food waste in the store, some of it is distributed through the community larders in the town or used as ingredients for Saturday and Wednesday lunch clubs and for nutritious pre-cooked meals, initiatives that first developed as part of the town’s response to the global coronavirus pandemic and efforts to reduce social isolation, malnutrition, food costs and food waste.

In 2023, nearly 5000 lunches and more than 600 meals were delivered to local residents and an estimated 60 tonnes of food was diverted from landfill by these initiatives.

BRDT’s HEAT Project provides a free, professional energy advice service to households, private landlords and tenants in north and east Perthshire to help them reduce their energy bills and meet Scottish Government energy efficiency targets.

Over the last 12 months, the team has carried out more than 320 home visits, attended 123 events and provided advice to more than 970 people across the region. This resulted in energy debt of £56,000 being written off through the Home Heating Fund and potential household energy savings of an estimated £120,000 (based on the average household saving at least 10% on their energy bills after advice from HEAT).

BRDT is also responsible for the publication of the free Hub magazine which is distributed four times a year to some 5000 households in the town, operates the popular and well-established second-hand bookshop Booklore on Upper Mill Street in Blairgowrie, and runs the Discover Blairgowrie website.

Looking ahead to 2024, the Trust’s focus will be on its core activities, working with groups and organisations to facilitate delivery of the town’s aspirations included in the community action plan, and promoting the work that is being done.  

Teresa said: “The whole purpose of BRDT is to facilitate activities and bring together groups to make things happen and the team at BRDT remains committed to supporting community groups, individuals, and volunteers to deliver projects that have a positive impact on the town.”

For further information on BRDT, including how to get involved with any of the projects, see the website at