Elgin BID promise ‘bigger and better’ Food & Drink Festival

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Elgin Food & Drink Festival 2018. Photo by Michael Traill

Elgin BID’s popular Food and Drink Festival, now in its 9th year, is due back on Saturday 10 August, and a few stalls are still available

The festival organisers promise that this year’s festival will be “bigger and better” than before, running for the first time as a ‘dual centre’ attraction. Stalls will be spread between Elgin Town Hall and St. Giles Church, only few minutes’ walk from each other, “making it the ideal way to work off all those free samples between locations”.

There will be a number of attractions alongside the market stalls, intended to keep the whole family entertained. These include Hopscotch Magic, who “went down a storm during the Scottish Theme Day”, and Mrs Bubbles (the Clown), “who will be making her debut modelling balloons to keep the kids happy!” The Scottish Agricultural College will also be back with their popular tractor and milking cow.

In a message targeted at buskers, Elgin BID said they are “proud to be showcasing a number of local musicians and singers on the day, and we are currently advertising for buskers to who will play around the city centre throughout the day, so come along and show your support for Moray’s amazing talent – if you have a talent you would like to share with visitors on the day, visit the Elgin BID Facebook page for more information.”

Targeting the wider population, Elgin BID added: “If an abundance of stalls covering all things food and beverage wasn’t enough – there will be artists and crafters showcasing their wares on the day! As always, there really is something for everyone, and their taste buds, at this event! What’s more – it’s completely FREE to come along, as if you needed any more reason to attend!”

Gill Neill, Chief Executive of Elgin BID, said she is “thrilled to be bringing the festival to the people of Elgin and surrounds for another year. The Food & Drink Festival is one of our favourite events of the year, and this year is set to be even bigger and better.  Come along with the whole family and make a day out of it. After you have looked about the stalls and entertainment then make sure you take a good walk round the City Centre, there is lots to see and do, why not enjoy some lunch and then do some shopping.  Elgin has lots to offer and this is a fantastic way to do make the most of it.”

The full programme is yet to be announced but singing Chef John McCrudden will be providing cookery demonstrations throughout the day.

There are still a limited number of stalls available at this event; for details on how to get involved please contact Tina Mainland on [email protected]


Benevolent Fund anniversary celebration

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RAF Lossiemouth Voluntary Band. Image:Crown copyright

RAF Lossiemouth Voluntary Band will present an evening of music, provided by their Concert Band and Swing Band in aid of, and to celebrate, the RAF Benevolent Fund’s 100 year anniversary.  The concert will take place in St Giles Church, Elgin next Thursday, 27 June, at 7.30pm.

Since the Band’s last successful concert at the beginning of March the members have been hard at work, rehearsing twice weekly, preparing another exciting programme for this next performance.

Bandmaster Jim Gray said: “Over the years the band have raised thousands of pounds for charities in Moray and nationally.  As the name suggests, our members are volunteers, and not just in the RAF but from across the local community.  The band have been juggling a busy schedule of Service-focused engagements, and community and charity concerts.”

Corporal Vicky Richardson, who plays the flute, said: “The RAF Lossiemouth Voluntary Band provided me with opportunities as a player that I would not normally have had.  Taking part in the RAF 100 Parade last year in London was a highlight.  And I’m looking forward to the forthcoming concert at Symphony Hall, Birmingham on 7 July which involves all eight Voluntary Bands from the UK and Cyprus; there will be a total of over one hundred and twenty players.

“I’m really looking forward to our concert in St Giles on Thursday 27 June, as we have a wonderful variety of great music to play. And of course raising funds for the RAF Benevolent Fund’.”

The RAF Benevolent Fund provides financial, practical, and emotional support to all members of the RAF ‘family’, whether  they are serving or former members, as well as their partners  and dependants. They help members of the RAF family deal with a wide range of issues: from childcare and relationship difficulties to injury and disability, and from financial hardship and debt to illness and bereavement.

Tickets for the RAF Benevolent Fund fundraising concert will be available at the door.


Help at hand for those in distress or emotional pain

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Penumbra staff with partners

An Aberdeen pilot programme which helps those in distress is being extended to the wider Moray area.

The Distress Brief Intervention (DBI) programme is an innovative new service which provides early intervention to people in distress equipping them with the skills and support to manage the causes of their distress and reduce the possibility of future distress.

So successful has the pilot been in Aberdeen, that the mental health charity Penumbra – which leads the pilot in Aberdeen – has been given approval by the Scottish Government to become the first DBI associate partner allowing it to share the DBI learning in Moray.

Penumbra chief executive, Nigel Henderson, said: “We’re delighted the Scottish Government has enabled us to become the very first DBI associate partner.

“It will see us utilise the excellent learning, approaches and tools from across the national DBI pilots over the first two years, to train other agencies in the Moray area to provide the connected, compassionate support which DBI provides.”

DBI is a short-term intervention for people in distress or emotional pain who do not need emergency medical treatment, who present in settings like A&E departments, GP surgeries, to police officers or Scottish Ambulance Service staff.

It consists of two parts, with part 1 seeing trained front-line health, police, paramedic and primary care staff help ease any individual.

They then ask the person if they would like further support and if the person agrees, they refer them to the DBI service with a promise of contact within the next 24 hours to start providing further face-to-face support.

Part 2 is provided by commissioned and trained third sector staff, like Penumbra, who contact the person within 24-hours of referral and provide community-based problem-solving support, wellness and distress management planning, supported connections and signposting.

Those who have received the DBI support show their level of distress has halved and report experiencing very high levels of compassion, and feel they are working towards their own goals.

Around 3,000 people nationally including nearly 700 in Aberdeen have benefited from the DBI support over the pilot period.

Moray DBI is live throughout June 2019 with support from partners; funding for the associate programme learning comes from the Moray Health and Social Care Partnership.

Pamela Cremin, integrated service manager for mental health services in the Moray Health and Social Care Partnership, said: “We’ve heard lots of positive things about DBI and we’re delighted to continue our collaborative relationship with Penumbra to make DBI available to people in Moray.

“This is directly in line with our service design and delivery that underpins Action 15 of the Scottish Government’s Mental Health Strategy 2017-2027, to ‘Increase the workforce to give access to dedicated mental health professionals to all A&Es, all GP practices, every police station custody suite, and to our prisons’.”

Welcoming the associate programme development in Moray, the Minister for Mental Health Clare Haughey MSP, said: “Our pilot DBI services have already made significant progress over the past two years, recently extending to 16 and 17-year-olds in two of the four pilot areas, with the other two expected to follow in July 2019.

“Penumbra has successfully led this important work in Aberdeen, and it’s excellent news they will now be extending this support to the Moray area to help even more people.

“Early intervention like this is such an important part of how we help mental and emotional health problems and the DBI is all about equipping people with the skills and support to improve their own health and to prevent future crisis.

“Mental health is an absolute priority for the Scottish Government and our ten-year mental health strategy clearly sets out our vision to address a number of challenges, including the provision of more efficient and effective mental health services and supporting mental health in primary care.”

DBI national programme manager Kevin O’Neill, said: “It’s testimony to the fantastic work that Penumbra has been doing as the lead DBI agency in Aberdeen, that they have become an associate partner.

“It’s also further evidence of the growing DBI movement through the North of Scotland with Aberdeen, Inverness and now Moray.”


Cairngorm to Coast “a huge success”

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Cairngorm to Coast 2019 – the hikers

Outfit Moray’s 5th annual Cairngorm to Coast challenge event “a huge success”, say the forty-seven people who took part.

The toughest challenges, hike & bike or bike-only 100km from Cairngorm to Lossie, finished at Windswept Brewing’s Tap Room, where the forty-two bikers were welcomed by a cheering crowd of family, friends and volunteers, plus a roaring fire.

David Scott of Fit Like Joggers was the first of the hike and bikers to arrive in a time of just over 5 hours, whilst Roberta Walker and Peter Devlin took just over 4 hours to complete the bike only element.

“With massage, good food and, of course, good beer at hand, all our participants were able to relax and enjoy the after-party vibes of their 100kms efforts”, said Outfit Moray’s Community and Corporate fundraiser Karen Cox. “Incredibly, our three fourteen-year old participants completed the challenge in seven and a half hours. Less incredibly, they also thoroughly enjoyed their burgers and massages!”

Cairngorm to Coast 2019 – the young bikers

This year’s event will raise just over £6,000 for Outfit Moray due, in most part, by a much-needed financial boost from Fred.Olsen Renewables.

“I am delighted that Fred.Olsen Renewables were sponsoring this year’s Cairngorm to Coast event in aid of Outfit Moray” Fred.Olsen Renewables’ Stirling Site Manager, Finley Becks-Phelps said.

“We have been working in the Moray area for a number of years now, at our windfarms at Rothes and Paul’s Hill, so we have been aware of the amazing work that Outfit Moray does for young people and their families in the area.

“As a business, we are passionate about the great outdoors and feel that everyone should have the opportunity to experience it for themselves. We hope that by sponsoring this event, we can help the team at Outfit Moray continue to provide opportunities and respite to deserving Moray families in the years to come”

Outfit Moray is reliant on grant and trust fundraising to deliver their programme of activities for vulnerable and disadvantaged young people across Moray and events like Cairngorm to Coast bring in vital additional funds to help them continue this work, so they were thrilled when Fred.Olsen Renewables became the event’s main sponsor, ensuring that the money raised from the event will all go to supporting young people.

“We are extremely delighted and incredibly grateful that Fred.Olsen Renewables chose to support our Cairngorm to Coast event this year. Their donation means we will be able to support more young people over the year ahead”, explains Outfit Moray’s CEO, Tony Brown.

“There are over 530 charities in Moray, but we are the only ones doing what we do and every pound raised for Outfit Moray directly benefits young people in Moray, particularly those who are vulnerable or disadvantaged.”

Whilst C2C participants recover and look back on an event well done, Outfit Moray are already putting plans in place for C2C’20.

Karen Cox, Outfit Moray’s Community and Corporate fundraiser explains, “We have so many plans for 2020. We want to encourage younger people and families to take part, so we will be looking at how we can make C2C more affordable for them. The changes we made to this year’s event seemed to work well and we will definitely be keeping the 100km bike-only option for future years.”

Karen finishes by adding, “Cairngorm to Coast brings in participants from all over Scotland and even from as far as the south coast of England, meaning local accommodation providers also benefited. We are working hard to grow C2C’s reputation and popularity as a ‘must do’ event for outdoor enthusiasts far and wide. Cairngorm to Coast 2020 will take place on 23 May 2020, and we are looking forward to working with all our generous supporters to put on another fantastic event.”

For more information on Outfit Moray’s work with young people in Moray, visit their website

More information on the work Outfit Moray does with vulnerable and disadvantaged young people across Moray can be found online at as well as on Facebook and Twitter.


Thumbs up for new nursery

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Pilmuir Nursery Children and parents see the plans for their new nursery on site

Children from Pilmuir Nursery in Forres have given their new nursery building a big thumbs up after going on a site visit last Thursday, 13 June.

Due to open in early 2020, the new building signals a £2 million investment in the Forres nursery as part of the Scottish Government’s early learning and childcare (ELC) expansion.

The children currently at Pilmuir Nursery have enjoyed seeing the daily changes to the building site and were keen to get up close to the development, especially the diggers! During the visit they got to meet the architect and site manager who showed them plans for the new nursery and gave an insight into what it will look like.

Headteacher of Pilmuir Primary School, Mr Leslie Tulloch, said: “It’s been such a positive experience for the children in the nursery to get up close with the building site and I hope it gives them a real sense of ownership, a feeling that this nursery is theirs, when they move into the new building. The children moving on to P1 after the holidays will be able to continue to see the progress from the playground and you never know, we might have some budding architects, engineers and builders in our midst as a result.”

Site Manager, Mr Paul Skilling, from contractors Morrison Construction chatted to the children and showed them what the new nursery will look like.

Afterwards he said: “It’s been a pleasure to host the children. The joy and excitement they brought on their visit has been the highlight of our week.

“Our site visits are always popular with the schools that take part and allow us, particularly with the young children, to reinforce a health and safety message in a lively and creative way. The children enjoyed looking at the site and it was great to be able to show them some of the different roles on a construction site – perhaps it will even act as an incentive for some of the group to consider construction as a career when they’re older.”

Preparing for the increase in Early Learning and Childcare hours offered to parents from August 2020, the new building will offer a more modern early years’ experience for the children attending Pilmuir Nursery, which will be under the management of a new Nursery Manager from August 2019.

With parents being offered 1,140 hours a year of funded early learning and childcare from August 2020, Moray Council is updating a number of early years provisions in line with the delivery plan, which sets out the extent of refurbishment in a number of nurseries and in conjunction the Scottish Government’s A Blueprint for 2020: The Expansion of Early Learning and Childcare in Scotland.


Green for go in Moray

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Chair of Moray Council’s Economic Development & Infrastructure Services Committee, Cllr Graham Leadbitter with HITRANS officers Julie Cromarty and Jayne Golding

A new electric bus service described as “pioneering” is being piloted in rural Moray. It is expected to cut emissions by up to 70%.

For the first time in at least seven years, the communities between Aberlour and Forres will be connected by public transport, thanks to investment from the Scottish Government’s Green Bus Fund and ERDF funding. The new service, m.connect, is a HITRANS project operated by Moray Council.

Yesterday, 13 June, saw the formal launch of Moray’s new eco-friendly bus service, which offers a ‘hail and ride’ option for customers – meaning the driver will pick up and drop off passengers at any safe point along the route, which takes in Aberlour, Craigellachie, Knockando, Archiestown, Dallas, Rafford and Forres.

Described as “ideal for commuters thanks to the convenient timetabling, for tourists hopping between Speyside’s countless visitor attractions, and for connecting locals in Moray’s rural communities who would otherwise face lengthy public transport journeys, or rely on a car to get around”, the new service will operate on weekdays. It will leave Aberlour at 7.20am, terminating in Forres at 8.30am, with the return journey leaving Forres at 17.10.

Councillor Allan Henderson, Chairman of HITRANS said: “m.connect is a very welcome addition to the Moray area. It’s an important step towards joining up our rural communities and I would urge locals to take advantage of the free trial and jump on board.

“It’s important for the future that we all consider green public transport as a serious alternative to taking the car and this service takes a positive step in enabling that.”

Leader of Moray Council, Councillor Graham Leadbitter said: “I am delighted that Moray is the first rural area to trial this new type of travel. We know the significant impact electric buses have had in urban areas and we are keen to demonstrate that clean, green public transport is a sustainable and economical way forward for rural areas too.”

Timetable and further information is available on

Further investment in a low carbon Speyside is also being celebrated at the weekend.

Moray Council is hosting a community event in Alice Littler Park in Aberlour on Sunday 16 June from 12-4pm. Attending will be Home Energy Scotland, Sustrans, HiTrans, Outfit Moray, Living Streets, Moray Carshare and Dicksons of Inverness, who’ll be showcasing active and sustainable travel initiatives in the area.

Residents and visitors will have the chance to try out electric bikes and cars, and a fun range of other bikes. Hot drinks, ice cream and other refreshments will be available.

It forms part of the £810,000 grant awarded to Moray Council by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Low Carbon Travel and Transport Challenge project, and Transport Scotland, to encourage Speyside communities to explore a range of options for changing to low carbon and active travel modes for everyday journeys.

Convener of Moray Council, Cllr Shona Morrison, is looking forward to attending the event: “Speyside has welcomed significant investment in low carbon travel initiatives, which will help transform the way people travel in the area. I’m interested to hear from residents and visitors alike how they’re embracing these opportunities.”