Innovation Exchange

Burnfoot Community Hub


Key activities

Benefits and impacts


Further Information

Scottish Borders Council (SBC) has been integral to the development of an asset- based approach to tackling the persistent deprivation experienced within the Burnfoot area of Hawick. Through a joint approach, SBC has helped Burnfoot Community Futures (BCF) to build its capacity, enabling them to secure £2.1m to develop a Community Hub in partnership with a range of other local agencies, encouraging a step-change in the way in which the public sector addresses and works with the community in order to deliver common, shared outcomes and help communities to move from ideas to project delivery.

Theme: Community Planning and Empowerment

scottish borders council

The project is about delivering long-term sustainable, community led change which will be delivered by the community through the enablement and empower of its own resources.  The vehicle by which this will be delivered is through the development of a Community Hub.


The Community Hub project transformed a derelict/disused building into a sustainable Community Hub (“the Hub”), using £2.1m raised by the community and managed by Burnfoot Community Futures (BCF), a charitable company limited by guarantee.


Construction on the Hub started in late 2014 creating:

  • a nursery suite (day care provision supporting people back into training , education, work)
  • community café (focus on healthy eating, cooking to a budget)
  • soft play (focus on active play, linking young families into local services)
  • 4x office spaces (Healthy Living Centre and 1 sound proofed for young people’s music studio)
  • multi-function room (focus on education and physical activity - dance studio, workshops, training, events)
  • garden and growing space (links to healthy eating, outdoor activity)
  • play areas ( focus on active play, family support, outdoor activity).


The Hub opened in October 2015 and is already exceeding business plan projections in terms of patronage and usage.


The project created 5.84 FTE direct project jobs, 9 indirect jobs (created or sustained), 30 volunteering opportunities and has a comprehensive Business Plan showing a sustainable Hub by Year 4 through its income generating services.

Outcomes were developed for the majority funder, Big Lottery Fund, and agreed by other funders:


  • Community confidence, empowerment and resilience through community ownership and development of the Hub;
  • New sustainable services and opportunities to address the needs of the Community helping to overcome inequalities and disadvantage
  • Community ownership creating new employment, training and volunteering opportunities.

Previously focussed on community deficits, public investment in areas of deprivation was based on the well intentioned “fixing of problems”. This ‘done to’ approach failed to have any real impact on deprivation figures, with many becoming worse over 10 years. The project changes and shifts the emphasis to a ‘done by’ approach where the community itself is in control, sets the mandate for change and leads on the delivery of the solutions. Community control and confidence will lead to improved wellbeing through an empowered approach to changing the social and physical environment of Burnfoot. The project will be the catalyst for long term change and tackling inequality.


The learning from the Burnfoot project will be a showcase for a community asset approach for public bodies to support in the future and roll out to other key areas of deprivation in the Borders. SBC is now involving BCF in discussions pertinent to the area, i.e. Early Years Centre, Healthy Living Centre, reshaping care for older people. BCF, through its funding streams, will offer opportunities to try new ways of working which deliver benefits for the community and the public sector.  BCF is now held in high regard and is now a sounding board for future development.


Starting with 2007, with a Local Community Action Planning initiative (funded by the Scottish Borders Community Planning Partnership), which recognised the need for a hub-type facility, it should be recognised that this approach takes a huge amount of time and commitment from both public sector partners and the community. It is not a “quick-fix” but will provide a sustainable solution into the future.


The purchase and control of the community’s first asset (with scope to develop – land purchase, social enterprise, service level agreements, community service delivery) is the step change required to change community image, instil community confidence, develop community skills and be the springboard to improved well-being, with a measurable impact on deprivation.

Contact details:

To find out more about this case study, please contact:


Jan Pringle

Safer Communities Policy Officer

Scottish Borders Council

01450 390410

Case study added to site: June 2016

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