Diversification in full swing for Tyne Esk farmers

James and Kay Gilchrist outside a chalet
News from Tyne Esk LEADER

A Dunbar farm has been the first to benefit from the Tyne Esk LEADER pot specifically allocated for farm diversification. In this article from Tyne Esk LEADER you can find out more.

West Meikle Pinkerton, owned by James and Kay Gilchrist, received funding last autumn for a holiday chalet fit out for disabled/less able holiday makers and their project is fully underway. The Chalet has already received a five-star review on Euan's Guide!

The fund, which covers Mid- and East Lothian, hope it marks a flurry of such projects, and encourage enquiries and applications.                   

Kay Gilchrist told us more about the project.

You must have been delighted when you were awarded the grant. Can you tell us how you felt about the news?

Speechless!  We couldn’t believe that we had actually got it! There was also a sense of relief. We had been told numerous times that it was a great idea but we were nervous that we wouldn’t actually be offered anything from LEADER.

What was the thinking behind the project – was there a personal motivation making it accessible to all?

We had thought about building a chalet before and when we looked at other places for ideas it became clear that very few provided accessible accommodation, or, if they did, it was a ramp, that was all. We decided that we wanted to cater for everyone, which meant providing a safe, non-clinical environment for everyone to enjoy. By being granted the LEADER funding we were able to make this happen as we would not have managed to provide such good facilities without it.

How far on are you with the project now?

The chalet is nearing completion. The decking and ramp should be finished by the end of next week which gives us a bit of time to have everything ready for our open day on the 29 April. 

When will you take your first booking?

Our website is nearly ready to accept bookings so we are aiming for May 2017 to accommodate our first guests.

What does the project mean for you at West Meikle Pinkerton?

We now have the opportunity to provide a holiday home for families to get away from their normal life and have an enjoyable holiday with facilities to ensure a stress free stay. We would love to see our guests coming into the farm to experience farm life and enjoy the local countryside, which is not something that many people have the chance to do. We are looking forwards to the future and to welcoming our guests to life at West Meikle Pinkerton.  

What support have you received and would you recommend the fund to other farmers?

We would definitely encourage other farmers to apply. We managed to complete all the paperwork ourselves which was difficult on occasions but having Neil and Dawne just an email or phone call away made it much easier.

Visit The Chalet website for more information.

Interested in applying?

NFUS representative of Tyne Esk LEADER Local Action Group (LAG) Kerry Clark commented:

"If any farmers are looking to diversify or develop their business, this could be the scheme for you. I would encourage anyone with an idea, no matter how big or small or how developed, to get in touch and find out more."

As well as farms, Tyne Esk LEADER is open to community groups, charities, third sector organisations, rural businesses and public sector organisations in Mid- and East Lothian. The team would encourage enquiries, however informal, via 0131 271 3590 or info@tyneesk.co.uk.

To find out more visit the Tyne Esk LEADER website.

More about LEADER across Scotland

You can find out about LEADER across Scotland in the LEADER section of our website, where you can also submit an Expression of Interest form if you have an idea for a project.

And watch our short film below to find out more about six inspiring projects that received funding in the LEADER 2007-2013 programme.

Scottish LEADER programme from ScottishRuralNetwork on Vimeo.