Feature: The Moray charity that literally REAPs what they sow!

FOR OUR SECOND feature taking a closer look at the Moray charities who have been doing some fantastic work in the region we talk today to REAP.

REAP was one of the main recipients of funding from the Pitgaveny Farm open day in May, when thousands turned out at the estate near Elgin. Between them the chosen Moray charities shared a £10,000 boost from funding raised on the day.

REAP – Rural Environment Action Programme – was created in Keith as a local sustainable development charity for all of Moray. Their initial thrust was to show people how they could make significant energy savings as the charity sought to reduce fuel poverty in the region.

Recently REAP have ‘branched out’ a little, taking in local food growing and networks providing community consultation and training.

We spoke with REAP’s Catherine Fowler at Pitgaveny Estate earlier this week, asking first what activities they operated at the open day: “On the day we had a stall where we planted seedlings, spoke to people about compost and we were giving away seeds to encourage people to grow plants.

“We had lots of young growers on their hands and knees filling in the flower pots and taking away their seedlings to grow in their windows.”

Catherine then went on to explain the work being undertaken by REAP in Moray: “REAP has two main strands of work at the moment. One is food growing, helping people to grow their own food and to cut the carbon footprint of what they eat – use of compost and the ‘waste less’ food message.

“Our other major strand is energy advice, for which we provide free and impartial home visits to help people switch suppliers and get the best deal, loft insulation and telling them how they can save money on their home energy bills. Generally, it is to help tackle fuel poverty, which is a big problem in Moray.”

The REAP share of the £10,000 raised at the open day will be put to good use – although first will be subjected to a debate as several branches of the group will lay a claim: “We have lots of ideas on how to use the funding we have received from the Pitgaveny Farm open day – it will be discussed at a board meeting when we will thrash out who is getting what.

“It will I’m sure be used to help boost either of our main activities and it is certainly providing a very welcome boost for us.

“The open day has become a very important day for us and many other Moray charities and groups – it is important also that it allows us to get out and meet people who may not have come upon us yet, we have the chance to talk to lots of people and get our message across. It is just fantastic – and what a day that was this year.”

Tomorrow we will feature the final Moray charity group – Quarriers.