In 2010 an opportunity came up to address the concerns, increasingly voiced over a period of years, that changing land use and demographics, particularly at the upper end of both valleys, was leading to question marks over whether people would continue to live and work in these areas.
The loss of hill sheep farms to commercial forestry and game birds, high house prices, coupled with the loss of cottages to rent and the falling rolls of the local schools, were all identified as concerns.
Some long-standing services had been lost like the village post office and shop but services regarded as essential now to most of the population, such as reliable mobile phone coverage and broadband, were still not available.
It was recognised that without new families and people of working age staying in the valleys, life for everyone would be less secure in the short-term and possibly unsustainable in future. A number of actions were taken to address these issues and a Community Development Company was formed which allows us to hold property and raise funding to give us an on- going vehicle for some of the schemes identified that would help our valleys.
Michael, our Chairman is a lifelong resident of the Valleys, a landowner and an enthusiastic businessman. He hopes to assist in sustainable economic development and to help create a better future for all in the area. The Community Development Company has been set up to identify ways of improving the quality of life and he hopes to play his part in ensuring that this happens.
A retired architect, Jeremy has lived in Yarrowford and Broadmeadows for over 30 years. He has been both Secretary and Chairman of the Community Council and has also been a member of the Steering Group of the Revitalising the Valleys Project, the forerunner of the Community Development Company (CDC). As a member of that Group, he was closely involved with the Community Development Plan and setting up the CDC. He has been a Director of the CDC since its establishment and presently acts as its Treasurer.
Lynne is a long-term resident of the valleys with her children and grandchildren living and working in the area. She runs a thriving business and is committed to ensuring that a sustainable future is secured for future generations. The Community Development Company has a vital role to play and she is keen to contribute to its success in whatever ways she can.
Gordon is Chairman of the Ettrick and Yarrow Community Council, and a Director of the Ettrick and Yarrow Community Development Company. He feels he has a significant grasp of the needs of the community and believes that Community empowerment is essential to enable rural communities increased control over their lives to make it a better place to be in.
His past experience as a business consultant provides him with a huge amount of logic. He is very enthusiastic and his drive and determination to succeed in tasks should prove to be an asset to EYCDC.
George has lived in the Ettrick Valley for over 30 years and believes he understands the needs and aspirations of the Ettrick valley and its community to which he is committed. Presently Chair of Kirkhope Parish Hall, he is committed to trying to ensure that we attempt to leave a lasting legacy for the future.
Business-wise, though retired, he is a partner in a successful small business and in the past has held a directorship in a major company.
Sandy is a retired engineer and lives in Ettrickbridge. In 1964 he moved to the Borders from Aberdeenshire and took up employment with Buccleuch Estates managing their workshop . During his 45-year service with them he gained considerable knowledge in all aspects of rural life. In the last two decades he has seen an alarming decline in the population of the valleys and would like to see a reversal so that future generations can live and enjoy the Border area.
Marjorie has lived in Ettrick valley since 1990 and has been actively involved in the community. She has worked for over 33 years as a Community Learning and Development worker with Scottish Borders Council in a range of roles including youth work, adult learning and community development. She was involved in supporting the early stages of the Development Company as a member of the Steering Group from 2011 -13. Her various roles have all involved a considerable amount of work with the Third Sector and a range of community groups and organisations. She is a member of the Development Company and has been interested in its aims and activity since it began.
Originally born and educated in Edinburgh Andy's career has been in Business, working for various blue chip companies across the UK holding roles in Purchasing and Supply Chain, Marketing and Corporate Strategy. He has lived in the Borders for over 15 years. His wife runs the successful ‘Fiona Henderson School of Dance’ based in Peebles. Together, they are both members of Ettrick & Yarrow Church where he leads the music. They both love living in the Valleys and are determined to do their bit to support the local community and playing their part in helping this area develop and prosper into the future.
I believe the EYCDC is important because it brings together the individual members of this community into a formally recognised association. It can then deliver improvements and benefits to the community, the residents and visitors, while being answerable to those members. I am very interested in the future of Ettrick Marshes and the project to buy part of Gamescleuch forest for the community.
I’ve been fortunate to stay in this beautiful area since 2013 and enjoyed being part of the friendly community. Working here has helped me appreciate the challenges of making a living from the land. The Ettrick & Yarrow Community Development Company has impressed me with the diversity and sustainability of their community development projects. I'm volunteering with this and other local groups to help give something back to the community.
Vicky grew up on a hill sheep farm in Ettrick and both her brothers still farm in the valley. She previously worked in event management then as a BBC radio producer before moving back to the valley in 2001 with her daughter. She represented the area on Scottish Borders Council from 2003 -2017 where she was the lead councillor for Economic Development from 2007 and for Culture, Sport and Community Development from 2012. She is passionate about rural development and finding sustainable ways for people to continue living and working in this historic and magical area. She was a founding member of EYCDC.
We always welcome new members to become part of EYCDC - if you're intereted in joining us please get in touch.