Our Passion for the Community

Encouraging Engagement, Building  Trust and Transparency, Empowering  Communities and Creating Lasting Legacies

Working together

Woolfords, Auchengray and Tarbrax Improvement Foundation (WAT IF?) is a pro-active, locally based charitable organisation which aims to improve the quality of life for all residents. Muirhall Energy is particularly proud to have been pivotal in the development of this initiative.

From its inception, WAT IF? has worked hard to identify achievable initiatives which would support the local community.

WAT IF? is almost at the end of their second Community Action Plan (2018 – 2023) and some of the most successful projects include:

Woolfords Hall:
In one of WAT IF?'s first projects as a new community development trust, they successfully redeveloped a local community hall and car park that had fallen into disrepair. This was welcomed and used by the residents. During the pandemic the hall was successfully used as a community larder and is now a temporary base for a trial community shop/takeaway café. 
Community Transport:
Since 2014 WAT IF? has run a subsidised taxibus service to enable residents to access essential services such as healthcare, shopping and leisure facilities. To date they have supported over 1200 journeys. 
Grant Schemes:
Since 2014 WAT IF? have provided support to individuals as well as to other community groups and facilities. These include community grants, driving lesson grants, WAT Next education and bursary grants. To date they have awarded a total of over £160,000 of grants locally.
Community Broadband:
In partnership with Borders Online we provide a community satellite broadband service for residents as well as a voucher to assist with installation costs. 
Paths:
WAT IF? has successfully developed new paths linking key settlements and greenspace areas and have brought back into use many old paths and trails that had fallen into disrepair. They have developed a range of walks for all abilities including adventure discovery walks, health walks and Nordic walks. 
Affordable Rental Home:
Purchased by the trust, and with funding from the rural housing fund, WAT IF? successfully developed their first affordable rental property which is now rented to a local family. 
MUGA Floodlights:
WAT IF? worked with South Lanarkshire Council after the redevelopment of Auchengray Primary School, to provide floodlights to extend the use of its outdoor multi-use games area (MUGA).
Pop Up Café:
Prior to the pandemic WATIF? provided a monthly pop-up café that was well supported, particularly by older residents.
Covid Response - Community Support:
WAT IF?s response to the pandemic was the launch of a community support plan. With a network of over 50 local volunteers, they were quickly able to establish support projects that included the following:

Continuing our commitment

Continuing with our commitment to an excellent level of community investment, Muirhall Windfarm has made an annual community investment over 4 times the Renewables Fund Contribution Rate at the date of consent. Currently, the total community benefit distributed from the 11 turbines of Muirhall Windfarm and Extensions amounts to over £182,000 per year.

Chris Walker, Director at Muirhall Energy is pleased to see the positive results of the community investment fund; 

“We are very pleased that WAT IF? are continuing to pursue several exciting local initiatives with the wind farm funds. ‘Delivering Ambitions’ is part of our ethos, and we’re delighted to see that, as a result of our wind farms, we are giving communities the power to create opportunities and underpin sustainability in rural areas.”

For people living in a rural location with no public transport, being able to drive is vitally important, and thanks to the local development trust, residents of Woolfords, Auchengray and Tarbrax can apply for financial support to help with the cost of driving lessons.

Grants of up to £250 are available for residents living in the WAT IF? area, and the Trust awarded its first grant to 18-year-old Rebecca Black:

“The driving lesson grant from WAT IF? has meant I can start my driving lessons right away.  The application is super easy and Jemma, the Development Officer, was so helpful when I had questions about the grant. Staying out in the WAT IF? area I rely heavily on my parents for transport, whereas having my driving license means I’ll be able to travel to work, the train station to go to college and also meet friends whenever suits me, rather than when I’m able to get a lift”

First responders

The volunteers of the Forth Community First Responder Scheme who cover from Forth to Carnwath, including the villages of Woolfords, Auchengray and Tarbrax, received a second First Responders Kit through funding secured by WAT IF? This essential equipment means that there are two kits available for the volunteers to use, increasing the efficiency of how they operate.

Chris Walker, the Director of Muirhall, said:

“In our rural communities, the First Responders play such a key role within the emergency services and all credit should be given to the volunteers.  It is fantastic that the community investment funds can be used to support them and provide the equipment that they need.”

Achievement through co-operation

WAT IF? is an excellent example of what can be achieved though positive co-operation between local people and a supportive local developer. Muirhall Energy is delighted to have established such a strong relationship with this pro-active community and our ambition is to build on this success across our portfolio of projects.

“WAT IF? has consistently benefitted from the MuirhallEnergy community benefit funds since the Trust was established in 2012.  These funds have enabled the Trust to grow as needed, taking on staff and undertaking projects within the communities immediately surrounding the Muirhall and Muirhall South windfarms. The entire team at Muirhall Energy have always been very supportive of the Trust’s work, taking an interest in projects and attending stakeholder engagement events ”.
Pat Mavor
Development Manager


Meet the WAT IF? staff team below.

JANE WILSON

Steph Plotnikoff

Ilka Graham

Pat Mavor

WAT IF? continues to deliver important infrastructure and community enhancements. More information about WATIF can be found here  (Tel: 01501 785172 Email: contact@watif.scot)