Press and Media
Press Release: Mill of Benholm
National Bird Nest Box Week is February 14th to
An event for all the family during the school holiday week Feb
14th to 18th.
North East families were invited to come along to Mill of
Benholm during the school holidays and take part in National Nest
Children were able to put together a nest box from one of
our prepared kits with a little help from our staff or volunteers
if required. They then learned how to choose the best location for
their box and with some help fix it in place or they took the box
home to put in their own garden.
The children also had opportunities to see bird ringers at
On three days during the week the Tayside Bird Ringing
Group were working on the site catching and ringing wild
birds. Families were encouraged to come along and watch and
ask questions and take part to learn more about the records the
scientists are making of wild bird populations.
The Mill of Benholm Tearoom is open Monday to Friday 10am to 2pm
during the winter season and the families took the
opportunity to warm up after taking part in the activities
with a bowl of soup and scones or bread.
The bird box kits were bought for £3.50 each (all funds
raised go to the Mill of Benholm Trust to support our charitable
work as a community resource).
The public were invited to call in at the Mill (a working
watermill museum) and sponsor a bird box.
Our location is Mill of Benholm, Benholm by Johnshaven, ANGUS
Tel 01561 361969 or look on the website www.millofbenholm.org.uk
We are two miles south of Inverbervie, six miles north of
Montrose on the A92. and can be found by the roadside signage:
Emma Ronald receives certificate of thanks
from the Mearns Leader
EMMA Ronald is pictured receiving a certificate of thanks from
Benholm Mill Project Chairman Ian Hunter. Emma had organised an
extra special birthday party this year for her many friends. Emma
asked her friends and relations NOT to buy her birthday presents
but to instead contribute if they wished to her favourite charity.
All those who attended her party contributed a donation and
together they raised £350 which Emma donated to Mill of Benholm.
Mill of Benholm is a charity working in partnership with
Aberdeenshire Council providing supported work, work experience and
training for adult learners. Emma was presented with a framed
certificate recognising her efforts and generosity during the Mill
of Benholm Christmas Fayre held this year at The Bervie Church
Centre. Emma works as a catering trainee at the Mill of Benholm
Tearoom. (Andy Thompson)
Orange Day - eSLT Create Training Garden at Mill
from Montrose Journal Online
dark nights are upon us again, it is still not too late to complete
your Orange Day for 2010, as was proved recently when a group of
leaders from the Montrose site spent a day helping out the Mill of
Just north of Johnshaven, Mill of Benholm is a community project
owned and operated by the people of Aberdeenshire and as a charity
it seeks to maintain and develop the Mill, it's buildings and
grounds as a resource for tourists and local communities and also
works with the local Council to provide work experience and
training for adults with special needs, in catering, horticulture,
furniture restoration, shop and office work.
The idea for the Orange Day came from Joanne Sinclair who told the
Journal, "I go and volunteer in the garden on my shift days off.
It's a very worthy cause and a beautiful location. I get a lot back
from helping out and not only do the guys learn they have a laugh
"There was a vision for the Mill to have a training garden that the
guys would use for their SVQ / HNC in Horticulture but the area in
question was too big a project for the Benholm crew and me, so Mill
Project Manager Mike Burleigh and I thought it would be a good
project for something like an Orange Day."
So a group from the extended Site Leadership Team, 15 strong
exchanged their desks for wheel barrows, shovels, rakes and hammers
to work with staff and other volunteers for the day to create a
garden of raised planting beds for use by the trainees.
With so many leaders in the group and a task to be completed in
quick time, the air was full of ambitious energy and any
unsuspecting onlookers could have been forgiven for thinking they
had stumbled upon an edition of 'The Apprentice'. Fortunately, the
task was completed on time and no one was fired!
Reflecting afterwards on a very tiring day Joanne said, "The area
has been transformed from a muddy square of uneven, unusable
ground, to an area with raised planting beds. The areas around the
beds have also been finished off with quarry dust and levelled off,
which is important as some of the guys are not the steadiest on
Mike Burleigh added, "The new garden has the advantage of being at
the top of the Benholm valley where the south facing meadow slopes
will give the horticultural students the benefits of a longer
growing season and less severe winter frosts than those in the
"Many of the trainees are studying a horticulture course with
Aberdeen College and this new garden with these raised beds will be
Well done to all those who took part!
Employees swap desks for rakes and spades with charity garden
project - P&J
GREEN-fingered employees of an Angus company spent a day in the
garden yesterday to help a Mearns charity.
Fifteen people volunteered to create planting beds at Mill of
Benholm near Johnshaven.
The employees from Montrose-based GlaxoSmithKline exchanged
their desks for wheelbarrows, shovels and rakes to work with mill
staff and other volunteers.
The Mill of Benholm project provides adult learners with work
experience and training in catering and landscape management. It
also operates and develops the site as a visitor centre and
community resource. The new garden area will be used by the
Mill project director Mike Burleigh said: "It's a superb example
of a local company supporting a local charity.
"Many of the trainees are studying a horticulture course with
Aberdeen College and this new garden will be much appreciated."
GSK donated £1, 000 to pay for various materials used in
creating the garden area.
The company's production director, Greig Rooney, said: "The
company has a day which employees can spend helping a charity or a
"We are delighted to help the Mill of Benholm. The staff have
been working hard and have not been afraid to get their hands
The new garden has the advantage of being at the top of Benholm
valley, where the south-facing meadow slopes will give the
horticultural students the benefit of a longer growing season.
An article from The Courier regarding the same topic as the
HORTICULTURE trainees at a Mearns mill project have been given a
helping hand by a community team from the Montrose GlaxoSmithKline
The GSK team of 12 have exchanged their desks for wheelbarrows,
shovels, rakes and hammers, digging in with the staff and
volunteers of the Mill of Benholm to create a garden of raised
The watermill offers adults with special needs work experience
and training in various skills from catering to landscape
The garden being put in place has the advantage of being at the
top of the Benholm valley where the south facing meadow slopes will
give the students the benefits of a longer growing season and less
severe winter frosts than those in the lower garden.
Project manager Mike Burleigh said, "The beds will be a useful
resource for our trainees, who are studing for qualifications in
horticulture at Aberdeen College."
Members of the volunteer team (from left) Kirsty Mclaren, Dave
Stewart, John Pickering, Ian Morrow, George Skinner, Greig Rooney,
Stewart Doyle and Joanne Sinclair
NEOS Art Exhibition with Paul Hurst
AN art exhibition by a retired fisherman has brought visitors
flooding in to a Mearns community project.
Painter Paul Hurst, from Whitley Bay, displayed his work at the
Mill of Benholm, near Johnshaven between September 11 and 19 as
part of the North East Open Studios event.
Over 90 visitors flocked to the attraction last Saturday alone,
with many more coming throughout the preceding week.
Project Manager Mike Burleigh has said he would like to see the
Mill host similar events in the future.
He said: "Our Neos event was a great success, with over 90
visitors to the Mill on Saturday, and the tearoom abuzz with
activity and excitement.
"We were delighted to have Paul here, as the word got out on the
street and we've had double the numbers that we had last year
which is great for us. It is about the Mill earning its own keep
and it has proven in the last 15 years that it cannot really earn
its keep as a museum but hopefully if we can find more people like
Paul willing to hang their work here, we can encourage the number
of returning visitors, the reasons why people should make return
visits to the Mill of Benholm.
"We've also been putting in various walks that people will
hopefully re-visit during the seasons and other things that will
make the place a community resource."
Mr Hurst, who studied painting at Newcastle College of Art
alongside Mr Burleigh, has only returned to art in the last few
years after making his living as a fisherman for some 40 years.
Many of his pieces are inspired by marine subjects.
Mr Hurst said: "I've found the Mill quite a good venue for
exhibiting - it wasn't until we put the paintings up that it seemed
to work, but it is very atmospheric and the lighting is fine.
"I would think any other artists would quite like this space
too. If I was asked back then yes, I'd come up again."
The Mill have recently launched a new Friends group aimed at
generating more ideas of how it can be best used as a community
resource, while an extraordinary general meeting of the Mill of
Benholm Trust is to be held in Johnshaven Village Hall on
Wednesday, October 6 at 7pm.
The main purpose of the meeting is to elect/re-elect the Mill of
Benholm Board members. Voting rights will be accorded to anyone who
agrees to become a member of the Mill Trust.
Mill launches new group
by Jenny Rush - email@example.com
A LOCAL charity hoping to encourage more community involvement
launched its new Friends group at an open evening last week.
Around 50 people turned out on Wednesday evening to show their
support for the Mill of Benholm Project, near Johnshaven, which
provides supported work and training in catering and horticulture
for adult learners, in partnership with the local authority. Among
those who attended were representatives from Aberdeenshire Council,
the project's Board of Directors, staff and volunteers.
The newly launched Friends scheme will allow people to become
more directly involved in the project and contribute their own
ideas as to how it can be developed as a community resource.
Mike Burleigh, Project Manager, said: "The new Friends group
provides an oppurtunity for a much larger number of people to
influence the development of this project. They will be able to
contribute and realise their own ideas as to how the Mill museum
and how the Mill valley could become the community resource which
the community wants."
Keith Jones, chairman of the Mill of Benholm Board of Directors,
said: "What we are trying to do is provide training for those who
have special needs, in catering and horticulture, and hopefully
we'll be able to extend to other areas before too long. We have a
wonderful asset to the community here, with the old mill, the
tearoom - which I hope the community will continue to patronise -
and the various walks around the area. We want to make this a very
pleasant place for the local community to use as a recreational
"We are looking for ideas now - we are in a situation where we
have achieved a lot but we need to look at ways of generating
attitional income and support. What we would hope is that the
Friends group would themselves bevome self-sufficient to the extent
that it could run various events and provide support for the
Sir Robert Smith MP, who attended at the open evening, said: "It
is good to see the community turning out for the evening launching
the Friends of the Mill. The employment opportunities, the
preservation of this historic site and the potential to grow
attractions for the visitors - there is a lot that could be
achieved here on the back of what has been done already."
Mearns councillor Jean Dick, who was present, said "I think what
the Mill does is great and I'm very impressed by what we have seen
tonight. I visited when Mike Burleigh first took over as Project
Manager and there has been a great improvement. It is really good
to see the trainees progressing, the Mill coming on and to see the
fruits of their labout."
Those interested in joining the new group can download an
application form from the charity's website,
Invest in our communities
LAST month saw the publication of the Kincardine and Mearns
Community Plan 2010-2014. The plan combines actions being delivered
by a number of public, private and voluntary sector organisations
who are committed to working together to improve the quality of the
life in the area. A major focus in the plan is on developing and
supporting local community groups and enterprises to achieve their
social outcomes while, in many instances, also contributing to a
growing local economy.
One of the ways the Community Planning Partnership aim to do this
is by promoting the funding schemes that exist to help this happen.
Within the Partnership in Kincardine and Mearns, the key
organisations doing this are the Council for Voluntary Services
Aberdeenshire (CVSA), Mearns Area Partnership (MAP), Kincardine and
Mearns Area Partnership and Aberdeenshire Council's Community
Learning and Development Team, located at the Viewmount Office in
Locally, the Partnership has designated CVSA as the lead agency for
providing community groups and projects with funding guidance and
support. CVSA share an office with KMAP at 42-46 Barclay Street
Stonehaven and their development worker can be contacted on 01569
668055 or Linda.firstname.lastname@example.org. They also offer a "Funding Pack",
available through the development worker or their website at
www.cvsa.co.uk, with useful suggestions on funding strategies,
business planning and writing applications.
It is important to remember that actually looking for funding is
only one part of the process and should not be approached in
isolation. Funders will look at how the application fits into the
outcomes of the project so it is important to have a longer term
strategy or business plan with budgets.
The schemes, grants and funding sources out there range from
European and Scottish Government Programmes, such as LEADER,
through charitable trusts, including the The Big Lottery (who have
just launched their new programme for 2010-2015 and are hosting an
information day in Aberdeen on 20th September) and Comic Relief, to
various small grants and private business schemes. Different
funding bodies will have different priorities, which may change
from year to year so do not dismiss a particular fund just because
it did not seem applicable last time. There are various online
search tools that are able to help, for example Grantnet which has
information on over 4,000 grants, loans and other initiatives.
There are many wonderful examples of groups and community
enterprises in Kincardine and Mearns who have successfully secured
funding to develop a project. Some active residents of Laurencekirk
set themselves up as Laurencekirk Play Park Group and very
successfully drew in funding from the local authority, private
sources and LEADER in order to get a "state of the art" play park
facility installed for local children. The Mill of Benholm Project,
a charity seeking to maintain and develop the mill as a community
resource, put together a successful funding application to The
Lottery's Awards for All programme to help build up a greater
volunteer database. More information on how to get involved in this
project can be found on their new website at
www.millofbenholm.org.uk. Portlethen and District Community Council
also managed to secure £10,000 from the Awards for All for
Christmas lights for the town. CVSA are currently supporting a
group to apply for funding for a Community Bicycle Workshop in
Laurencekirk. These projects all started out as an idea in the mind
To view more of the funding successfully brought into the area with
the support of the Community Planning Partnership and for further
information on funding sources and how we can support you to
develop a project in your community go to
www.ouraberdeenshire.org.uk/kincardinemearns. Community Planning -
together we can.
Friends group opens the door on Mearns charity
Mill of Benholm project asks people to contribute ideas and
influence future development
CHARITY PROJECT: Natasha Hepburn and Keith Jones with pictures
of Benholm Mill at the charity project for adult learners. Kenny
A MEARNS charity hosted an open evening last night to encourage
more community involvement.
The Mill of Benholm Project launched a friends group which will
allow people to contribute their own ideas on how it can be
developed as a community resource.
Last night's event allowed individuals and groups in the area to
meet the project's board of directors, staff volunteers and
Aberdeenshire Council representatives, and find out more about the
Mill of Benholm works in partnership with the council to provide
work experience and training in catering and horticulture for adult
Project manager Mike Burleigh said: "The new friends group
provides an opportunity for a larger number of people to influence
the development of this project.
"They will be able to contribute and realise their own ideas as
to how the mill museum and the mill valley could become the
resource the community wants.
"The trust responsible for the visitor centre works in
partnership with Aberdeenshire Council to provide work and training
in catering and horticulture for adults.
"However, the site could also be imaginatively developed to
provide employment opportunities for people in the nearby
communities of Inverbervie, Gourdon, Johnshaven, St Cyrus and
The charity oversees the museum, tearoom, shop, gardens, plant
centre and public park.
Those interested in joining the new group who were unable to
attend the open evening should call in at the tearoom from Monday
to Saturday between 10am and 3pm to complete an application form,
which can also be downloaded from here. Alternatively, you can just go to our members page and apply directly.
(The application form may be e-mailed to
email@example.com or printed and posted)
Friends / Open evening on August 25th
The trustees of a historic Mearns water mill are hoping to
garner more local support for the project by forming a Friends
Volunteer Joanne Sinclair and project manager Mike Burleigh.
Mill of Benholm, a working waterwheel mill near Johnshaven, also
provides invaluable training and employment opportunities for
adults with special needs.
Since first opening as a tourist attraction in the mid-1990s the
mill has had a chequered career, leading to serious doubts over its
long-term future. However, 2002 saw the formal launch of the
Mill of Benholm Project with the object of providing community
support for adult learners and work experience in catering,
horticulture, furniture restoration, shop and office work.
With it came financial support from Aberdeenshire Council social
work service and its prospects have picked up considerably.
Project manager Mike Burleigh said, "The trust needs to
establish a number of reliable income streams to ensure the project
remains sustainable. The paid staff and supervisors, all part-time,
are supported by a band of dedicated volunteers who do wondrous
things with limited resources.
"Each and every one of our volunteers significantly supports an
aspect of the project which would not be possible without them -
but we want to gather together more people who will support the
project by showing an active interest in the aims and objectives of
"It is essential that more people become involved if the mill is
to fulfil its full potential and remain viable."
An open evening at the mill for anyone wishing to become
involved in a Friends group has been planned for August 25 from
6.30pm, when more information will be provided on how the project
In the last couple of years, with a new management board
elected, urgent improvements have been carried out at the A-listed
building including repairs to the wall of the mill's dam, which was
leaking. A small shop has been created out of a former tractor shed
and there is also a plan to create an art gallery.
From the Mearns Leader
"Volunteers are urgently needed to help in the running of the
Mill of Benholm."
That was the message which came over loud and clear from a power
point presentation given by Mike Burleigh, Project Manager at the
Mill, to the monthly meeting of the Community Council in the
Village Hall on Wednesday night.
Since first opening to the public as a tourist attraction in July
1995 and enjoying a very successful inaugural year, the Mill has
had something of a chequered career and in the late 1990s and into
the new century there were serious doubts over its long-term
However, in 2002 with the formal launching of the Mill of Benholm
Project, (henceforward the Project) formerly the Benholm Mill
Interest Group, with the object of providing employment
opportunities in the café and gardens for adults with special
needs, financial support from Aberdeenshire Council's Social Work
Service, and the appointment of a Project Development Co-Ordinator
and a Day Support Worker, the Mill's prospects have picked up
In the last couple of years or so an even greater dynamic has
been evident at the Mill which is now an A-listed building. A new
management board, now a Registered Charity, was elected in 2008 and
in the same year Mike Burleigh was appointed project manager with
day-to-day responsibility for all aspects of the site and its
Mr Burleigh's presentation on Wednesday night illustrated the very
many necessary and indeed urgent improvements which have recently
been carried out, including repairs to the wall of the mill dam
which was leaking, crucial drainage work on the access slope from
the car park and fulfilling health and safety requirements to the
approaches to the gardens and other paths.
However, Mr Burleigh's main purpose was to highlight the need for
more "friends and volunteers" to be involved with the running of
He stressed that the management of the Mill is a partnership
between the Mill of Benholm Board and Aberdeenshire Council in the
shape of its Social and Landscape Services and that people should
not be put off by the word "board" which was simply the technical
name for the volunteer group section of the partnership.
He went on to say how important it was that in order to stay viable
the Mill must increase visitor frequency. Saturday art, craft and
science family workshops help to attract more visitors to the tea
room at weekends and a small shop has been created out of a former
tractor shed while a number of regular events drawing people in
already take place at the Mill throughout the year - Yellow's on
the Broom workshops in May, North East Open Studios in September
and a Christmas Fair.
The environs of the Mill have also provided a film set for the
"Father of the Bard" while Mr Burleigh is presently working on how
to create an art gallery within the working mill itself so that the
key element of the enterprise can earn its keep.
Accompanying Mike Burleigh was Ian Hunter, a member of the board,
who emphasised that because the Mill was in trust for the community
it was vital that the community of Benholm and Johnshaven became
involved with it. He said there were many rewarding opportunities
for individuals with different skills and interests.
The Board would welcome people from business and commerce: the
working mill would benefit from someone with mechanical or
technical ability: the mill pond and wood have attractions for the
environmentalist and the café for the caterer.
A huge asset to the wider community, the Mill of Benholm, in its
idyllic setting by the Burn, has never quite fulfilled its full
potential and if it is to do this it clearly needs support.
It was, of course, the Benholm and Johnshaven Community Council
which took the initiative in persuading Kincardine and Deeside
District Council to purchase the Mill of Benholm in 1984 and over
£300,000 was eventually spent on its renovation.
On Wednesday night, councillors listened intently to what Mr
Burleigh and Mr Hunter had to say and in particular to the
suggestion that everyone keen to promote the attractions Benholm
and Johnshaven should pull together in the interests of both.