Gordon & Ena Baxter Foundation

Community groups across the Highlands and North East celebrate £75,000 in funding

We are delighted to announce that the legacy of one of Scotland’s best-known business families is continuing to spread a little fertiliser. Just over £75,000 has been awarded to community organisations across the Highlands and Islands and North East at the Foundation’s first funding round of 2017.


Awards just announced will benefit 29 organisations, with projects ranging from youth and sporting initiatives to those focusing on heritage, the environment and health. Celebrations are taking place across the country, with the geographical reach spreading from Lewis and Eriskay on the Western Isles to Peterhead in the East.


Among projects to benefit are an all-abilities surf school, shinty clubs, men’s sheds, a drive to create an accredited boat-building course for secondary pupils, a centre for traditional skills and a music initiative to help sufferers of stroke.


Trustees were delighted by the quality of applications received and the diversity and innovation of sustainable initiatives showcased.


The Foundation awards funds twice a year, helping groups working in arts and heritage, care, conservation and the environment, education, health and sports.


Enquiries are now welcome for the next funding round and anyone interested can visit www.gordonandenabaxterfoundation.com for more information. Please get in touch with me for an initial discussion by email at kay@gordonandenabaxterfoundation.com or on 01343 822599.

Top tips for funding success

It has been a busy and exciting first half of the year.

The Foundation has visited many creative local groups and charities across the North of Scotland and awarded over £34,000 to 20 worthy causes in the first funding round of 2016.

Some of the successful projects include, Brook Scotland, the Highland Wildcats American football team, the RSPB nature reserve at Dunnet Head and The Young Karers East Sutherland (TYKES).

With the second awards round now open, we’re looking for community groups with innovative projects and events to get in touch and apply.

To help with the application process, we’ve created a top tips video on how to complete a successful application and help secure funding:

We hope the video will offer some guidance and be useful for organisations to refer to while completing their application to ensure it ticks all the right boxes and is successful:

top tips

Organisations have until Friday 30 September to submit completed application forms and successful awardees will be announced in October.

To find out more and how to apply: visit our website or telephone the Foundation Manager for an informal chat about your project that will make a positive impact on the wider community.

We look to hearing from everyone.

Cullen Sea School

Bringing ideas to life

One of the most rewarding roles for The Foundation is to watch local groups, charities and community organisations succeed in bringing their projects and good work to life.

Whether it’s an initial idea or new project they are looking to develop, each group works closely with communities and share the similar aim of making a positive impact on local people and the area.

One such project we’ve followed with great interest is the Three Harbours Association’s Cullen Sea School.  Following the opening of its newly refurbished facility for small boat building, sailing and various water sports at Cullen harbour in 2015, the group was keen to invest in and build its own St Ayles Skiff.

After a visit to the group and its facility last year, it was clear that this is a truly creative and community led project. We awarded a donation to purchase the tools to build their own skiff.

Cullen Sea School

After much effort by the group’s boat-builders, the St Ayles Skiff was officially launched and named – Mairi – at a special ceremony at Cullen harbour. It was fantastic to see so many members from the local community join the festivities and watch the skiff being launched into the water for the first time.

This is a great addition to the Cullen Sea School and something that can be used and enjoyed throughout the summer months by people of all ages.

An inspiring start to 2016

2016 is already shaping up to be a very busy year for The Foundation.

With the recent round of funding now in place, many local groups and community-led initiatives have been in touch to share their exciting plans for projects for this year.

Elgin Youth Cafe

An important part of my role at The Foundation is to meet with these groups to find out more about them and how we can support them. I find it extremely rewarding meeting with such enthusiastic people who are passionate about what they do and making a difference to their local communities.

So far my travels have taken me across the North of Scotland to visit groups in Elgin, Inverness, Golspie, Ullapool and Wick. Each organisation is very different in what they do, from education, health and sport to social welfare, conservation and the environment. Yet all have the same aim of delivering creative ideas which can have a positive impact on local people and the area.

As well as meeting with those who seek support, we spend time visiting existing awardees to see what they’ve achieved and how their projects are developing with funding from the Foundation.

Recently I was lucky enough to join the Elgin Youth Café’s Delta Force’s kick-off 2016 meeting. The Foundation has supported this award-winning group for many years. It offers assistance to a variety of community based projects including marshalling at events, helping with conservation activities, undertaking gardening projects and working with other local charities to help fundraise.

This certainly made a great start to the year to see such a lively and committed groups working as teams sharing bright ideas for the year ahead.

Good luck to everyone in 2016 and we look forward to visiting many more exciting community projects very soon.

Highlights from 2015

2015 has been another busy year for the Foundation with supporting a range of diverse projects and awarding over £200,000 to over 40 worthy community-led initiatives across the north of Scotland.

As Foundation Manager I’ve met some truly passionate and inspirational groups throughout the year who work hard to deliver projects that make a positive difference to those in their communities.

Here are some of the worthy groups and exciting projects the Foundation has supported this year:

Leonard Cheshire Disability – art exhibition

The art therapy programme which has been running for the last 18 months at Cheshire House in Inverness. Visitors to Eden Court Theatre during November witnessed an exciting collection of artwork by a talented group of young people with autistic spectrum disorders. There is no doubt that Gordon and Ena would have thoroughly enjoyed this exhibition.

KeRBS (Keith Rollerblade, BMX and Skateboarders) – skate park upgrade

This dedicated group of parents and youngsters took up the challenge to match fund the initial phase of their project to install four new skate ramps in Cuthill Park in Keith. Through the group’s tremendous fundraising efforts, along with support from the Foundation, local youngsters are now benefiting from the new skate ramps.

Highland Wildlife Park – new materials

The RZSS Educational Programme at Kincraig welcomes more than 2,000 children each year who benefit from structured, comprehensive workshops where they can get close with vulnerable Scottish wildlife in conditions developed to replicate habitats in the wild. The Foundation’s funding has assisted RZSS to acquire new educational materials to enhance the current programme.

True to Gordon Baxter’s vision, all the Foundation’s Trustees will continue to follow closely the progress of every project it is helping.

Along with the funding awards, the Foundation has created and honoured its first Ena Baxter scholarship to one of Gray’s School of Art’s undergraduate students. The £10,000 scholarship package is designed to support an undergraduate student studying at RGU’s

art school. Ena often spoke of her happy student days in Aberdeen and this is a fitting tribute to her memory. We’re looking forward to following the progress of the first successful candidate to benefit from this special award.

As we move into 2016, we look forward to finding more innovative and creative projects for funding opportunities. To keep up with the latest news from the Foundation, remember to Like us on Facebook and Follows us on Twitter.

Read our full 2015 review here – Newsletter 2015

With good wishes and all the best for 2016

Kay Jackson

Foundation Manager at The Gordon and Ena Baxter Foundation

Ena Baxter Memorial Scholarship launched at RG

The Foundation has honoured our first Ena Baxter scholarship to one of Gray’s School of Art’s undergraduate students.

Along with our biannual funding awards to worthy causes across the north of Scotland, we have created the new scholarship in creative arts as a tribute to Ena Baxter, an accomplished artist who studied drawing and painting at Gray’s School of Art.

Ena Baxter Scholarship

First year Communication Design student Mark Roach (23) is the first recipient of the scholarship, which is a £10,000 scholarship package designed to support an undergraduate student studying at RGU’s art school.

Gordon and Ena Baxter had a real passion and spent many years supporting the arts in different ways. Ena’s love for her art is preserved in her paintings of flowers and still lifes, which are displayed in various exhibitions throughout the year.

Being part of the Foundation offers the chance to get involved with some inspiring groups and individuals with exciting ideas. We’re looking forward to working with RGU in this special project and seeing each student progress throughout their degrees with support from us.

Mark said: “I feel very honoured and surprised to receive the scholarship. Though I have previous years of higher education under my belt, I had never been given the opportunity to apply for a scholarship, never mind to be awarded one.

“Apart from lessening the every constant student financial woes, it will enable me to budget more on projects and to be able to start some personal projects on the side.

Discovering the impact of art in the Highlands

One of the most rewarding parts of my job as Foundation Manager is seeing first-hand the fantastic work that organisations across the north of Scotland are doing every day.

This week I spent some time at the Art in Transition exhibition at Eden Court in Inverness which is showcasing artwork created by some talented young people with autism through an art therapy programme at Leonard Cheshire Disability’s Cheshire House in Inverness.

Daryl Sinclair
Daryl Sinclair

Most inspiring of all was hearing from the young people themselves about how art has not only brought them great enjoyment but has also improved their confidence and helped them to communicate with others around them.

Graeme Colgan
Graeme Colgan

The Foundation is excited and privileged to have been able to support Leonard Cheshire Disability in running the art therapy programme and in staging this exhibition. There is no doubt that Gordon and Ena Baxter would have loved it.

The exhibition is on all month and is free of charge. Get along and see it for yourself!

Kay Jackson, Foundation Manager

Trees for Life Gets Bothy Backing

Kay Jackson, George McIntyre, Alan Watson Featherstone
Foundation Manager Kay Jackson with shakes hands with Trees for Life Executive Director Alan Watson Featherstone (right), with George McIntyre (left).

Conservation and environmental projects are a key part of the Gordon and Ena Baxter Foundation’s development plans, so when Moray-based Trees for Life approached us about their plan to expand the ancient Caledonian Forest, we were keen to hear more.

Trees for Life is Scotland’s leading conservation volunteering charity. The Gordon and Ena Baxter Foundation was delighted to approve a funding package for them this Autumn which will see us donate £20,000 towards the renovation of a disused bothy in Glen Affric. The bothy will be used as a base by conservation volunteers who are out planing healthy, native trees in the glen – creating a forest for the future, and a home for native wildlife.

Athnamulloch Bothy
The bothy, which is due to be renovated thanks to assistance from the Gordon and Ena Baxter Foundation.

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