Fergus Ewing opens Tyne Esk LEADER event

Event attendee group shot
James Rose

Fergus Ewing MSP offered his services locally last week as he opened an event vying for the continuation of EU funds.  The Tyne Esk LEADER Past, Present and Future event showcased the work done by the fund across rural Midlothian and East Lothian, and called for elected officials to endorse it in post-Brexit discussions.

In his Key Note Speech, he cited Volunteers Week as he thanked the volunteers involved in LEADER projects.  He also praised the £131m funding LEADER has brought rural Scotland over the past 25 years and the locally based methods used to deliver the scheme.  He spoke of his own knowledge of local projects such as The Rocketeer and Drift Coffee House in North Berwick, before discussing the Shared UK Prosperity fund which is touted to replace EU funds.  Though the details of this are not known, he concluded cross party support for LEADER and its continuation in some form was strong.

You can watch the whole of Mr Ewing's speech below.

Tyne Esk LEADER: Past, Present and Future | Fergus Ewing Keynote Speech from ScottishRuralNetwork on Vimeo.

The 50 strong audience went on to hear from live Tyne Esk projects.  These included the Cornerstone Project which has created a secular community hub at Mayfield/Easthouses Church, quirky Dunbar farm diversification John Muir Alpacas and a co-operation project spanning five LEADER areas focussed on increasing footfall to the John Muir Way.  The downside to a last minute change of venue meant the alpacas could unfortunately not attend.  Original venue East Linton Auction Mart was also a Tyne Esk project, and the change meant a tour of the site was replaced by a lunchtime talk through.

At event close Tyne Esk LAG Chair Andrew McDonald commented he hoped the event had achieved its aims.  If comments from one local councillor are correct, it seems to have:

“I am now a huge fan of Tyne Esk LEADER and will shout about it, support and endorse and do anything I can to ensure its continuation.”