The Ridge provides tailored and holistic support to local people to overcome the challenges they face in fulfilling their potential, through advice, counselling, specialist referrals, support groups, volunteering (in our gardens and soup group) and skills training.
We have a strong focus on helping people attain the dignity of paid work, working with all ages to build personal and practical skills including through apprenticeships in stonemasonry and joinery, which is practiced through the restoration of local historic buildings, creating end uses which serve the community, including a support centre, training kitchen and supported accommodation for young people.
Our organisation and the way its work has developed is entirely in response to local need. The Dunbar area is rural and geographically isolated. People struggle to access training and support services, most of which are located far away at the western end of the county or across Edinburgh, involving deterrently costly and complex public transport. There was little/nothing for those struggling in this area, and there was little being done to address the crumbling historic Conservation Area. We have developed ways to bring together solutions to both issues, by using the derelict built environment as a vehicle for personal regeneration.
A core commitment of The Ridge is to support people to move 'from dependency to contribution' and we hold ourselves to the same standard, building in development of income streams wherever possible, to reduce grant dependency and ensure it will continue to provide support and opportunity to local people into the future. For example, its social enterprise, The Ridge Foundations CIC undertakes commercial contracts; its SQA-accredited Construction and Rural Skills training provision for struggling pupils is via a paid-for contract with the Council; end uses for restored historic buildings include opportunities to generate rental alongside delivery of social purposes.
The physical restoration of wasteground garden sites and derelict historic buildings create a legacy which will be enjoyed by generations to come. And the high quality skills being generated as part of this work will mean that the community has access to a skilled (and passionately committed) local workforce to maintain this.
The Ridge has recently taken on a historic High Street site which has been an eyesore and increasing liability over the past century. The community has been engaged in the thrilling history contained in the time capsule blocked-off flats above the ground floor. The whole dangerous/ugly site is becoming a community asset, with end uses including creation of homes for local homeless youngsters. In the process, so much learning and skills acquisition is going on. Our gardens provide biodiverse 'green lung' spaces in the town centre, with cycle parking and a proactive policy of promoting/encouraging access by foot/bike/public transport.