What If? Bulletin #1

Welcome to Sustaining Dunbar’s first What If? Bulletin.

We have been looking for an effective way to share our work with partner organisations and would like to trial a bulletin. We hope that it will provide some useful information without overwhelming your inbox! As this is our first bulletin, it’s a bit long but we promise to keep the future ones much shorter! We would be most grateful for your feedback regarding its content and whether you are happy to receive it once a month.

If you would like to receive this update by email, please contact

The What If? Project

As a society we need to respond to the immediate challenges people face as a result of the pandemic, and also to tackle the growing threats of the environment and climate crisis.

The project brings together community groups, local people and key stakeholders to work for a future where no one is left out, where Dunbar, East Linton and the local villages are home to thriving people, where nature thrives on the land and in the sea – while also respecting the wellbeing of all people, and the health of the whole planet.

The project has three closely related strands:

  1. Engaging and listening: meeting with people, 1:1 and group meetings, to learn what’s needed, explore how we can help each other, including collaborative projects.
  2. Sharing stories: Promoting the essential work that local groups are doing, and encouraging people to get involved.
  3. Turning ideas into action: Securing funding to extend and grow existing projects and to develop new ones.

What’s happened:

  • Developed a temporary website for the project.
  • Over 30 organisations and individuals have joined the network.
  • Held over 60 meetings.
  • Created and shared three podcasts, four videos and a number of project blogs (here)
  • Raised £88,000 for local groups working on COVID resilience (April 2020) and £75,000 for local groups working on recovery (November 2020).
  • Established two thematic groups: Local Good Food Alliance and Local Community Halls Network (see below)

What’s next:

  • Through the network, and in collaboration with other stakeholders, we aim to support the development of a community-led local recovery and resilience plan.
  • Upcoming meetings include exploring local health and wellbeing and its links with nature and the outdoors; exploring the What If? project with local artists and creatives; supporting local economy and initiatives designed to help our High Streets thrive.

Local Good Food Alliance

During our conversations it quickly became apparent that food is a important issue locally. As a result, we set up the Local Good Food Alliance which works across Dunbar, East Linton and surrounding villages to help shape a food system that is better for the planet, better for people and better for producers.

What’s happened:

  • We agreed a manifesto and action plan: Local Good Food Alliance.
  • Over 18 groups have joined the alliance: Members
  • Raised £3,100 to buy an apple press and related equipment to reduce waste and support community events
  • Raised funding to appoint a temporary, part time, coordinator (in post from December 2020)

What next:

  • Start implementing the action plan and strengthening agreed local initiatives

Local Community Halls Network

Following many conversations with the locals, we have embarked on setting up a support and knowledge exchange network of groups and individuals who are custodians of the village and church halls in Dunbar, East Linton and the area (Ward 6).

What’s happened:

By working together through this network we aim to strengthen our local communities, improve local cohesion, reduce isolation and enhance collective resilience.

  • We created a temporary website and agreed an action plan
  • All local community hall committees joined the network and identified representatives
  • We exchanged a lot of information and discussed ongoing operational issues during Covid19

What next: