Sustaining Dunbar runs, nurtures, supports and partners with a whole variety of projects and initiatives in the Dunbar, East Linton and surrounding area which have community, cooperation and resilience at their heart.


What If Network
Community groups have been central to the response to COVID-19, and are now working on the recovery so the area can be home to thriving people, in a thriving place, while respecting the wellbeing of all people, and the health of the whole planet.

Belhaven Community Garden (BCG) is transforming the land beside Dunbar’s Belhaven Hospital into gardens where local residents, community groups, staff and patients can grow together. It has been running since 2012, creating a therapeutic and biodiverse space for growing and learning. To find to more and get involved, contact Lorraine on 07930906443.


Fixing For A Future: Repair Café
There are over 1,500 Repair Cafés worldwide. We are supporting the East Linton Melting Pot to set one up in East Linton. It will also have regular skills workshops and a DIY library.

Coworking Dunbar
A community co-working centre to provide workspace, inspiration and support to freelancers, commuters, remote workers, artists, businesses, social enterprises and community groups in and around Dunbar. We are currently searching for suitable premises, carrying out market research and undertaking a feasibility study.

Our flexible web publishing platform based on WordPress that allows individuals, groups and businesses to establish a web presence rapidly and cost effectively. Established in 2013, dozens of websites and micro-sites are hosted including community councils, small businesses, individual blogs and project sites.

Climate Action East Linton (CAEL) -a friendly, informal group of people living in the East Linton area who care deeply about the climate and biodiversity crises. We are all learning as we go and facing the crises together.  We used to be called East Linton Melting Pot but are now called Climate Action East Linton for better clarity. We have about a hundred members in total. Anyone is welcome to join and get involved as much or little as they want.  


Flourishing independent projects which we supported in their initial stages

Co-Wheels East Lothian
In 2011, a group of volunteers was supported to establish an independent Community Interest Company Sparewheels, responding to the community’s wish to cut back on their use of private cars
Thanks to support from the Scottish Government, they were able to launch in March 2011 with two community owned cars.
Sparewheels (Dunbar) later joined forces with EasyWheels (Haddington) and spread to North Berwick to become Co-Wheels East Lothian. This is now part of the UK wide Co-Wheels network of community-led carsharing clubs which gives members access to cars in over 60 locations from Dundee to Portsmouth.

Zero Waste Hub East Lothian
Miixer CIC (Make Innovate Incubate eXtend Educate Reuse) is a non-profit Social Enterprise based in East Lothian all about REUSE; keeping good things in local circulation, rather than landfill. Miixer CIC was established in April 2017 to continue and develop the legacy of Dunbar as Scotland’s First Zero Waste Town. They divert well over 30 tonnes of material from landfill every month to reuse for community benefit. From their shop in Dunbar they sell quality items cheaply to local people, donate to local groups and charities, and support those in need with free goods. Their clothing initiative “Big Pick” aims to eradicate clothing poverty in our County.

East Lothian Community Rail Partnership
is a bridge between the railway and the local community. The East Lothian Community Rail Partnership is one of over 50 Community Rail Partnerships around the UK. ELCRP works on realising an integrated transport network which is accessible to all.

Rural East Lothian Bus Users is working towards a well, co-ordinated, accessible and affordable bus service that meets the needs of local people.
RELBus puts the ‘public’ back in public transport, aiming to improve the reliability and frequency of the local bus services; promote and encourage the use of the local bus services; negotiate reasonable fares/season tickets/discount cards for local people. They focus on issues affecting rural areas as these generally have the poorest quality of service, but speak up for all bus users in East Lothian.


Since we launched in 2008, we have been busy.
Here are some highlights from the history of Sustaining Dunbar!

2014 – 2017
Zero Waste Dunbar

Scotland’s First Zero Waste Town: working to reduce waste to landfill and maximise the benefits of re-use and recycling.
Moving to be a Zero Waste Town is an ambitious project. We succeeded in starting the process of enabling our locality to seriously rethink and embed changes that will lead to zero waste to landfill.
The ZWD Project diverted over 34 tons of waste away from landfill and 12831 kgs of textiles for reuse in 6 months and moved recycling rates towards 70% by 2017. All six schools in the area now have the infrastructure and systems in place to carry out full recycling, including a food collection service. An estimated 29,253.6 kgs was diverted away from landfill in 2017 alone!

2015 – 2016
Feed Your Family From 50 Miles
Many of us would like to eat locally grown and produced food but sometimes we just don’t have the time to shop around to find it and some food and drink labelling can be vague and time consuming to read. By clearly labelling local produce and identifying places where you can This project intended to clearly identify and label food grown or reared within fifty miles of Dunbar/East Linton, including products made with locally grown ingredients.

2012 – 2015
In 2012, we kicked off a number of projects which responded to the community’s desire to cycle more. Dunbar Cycle Links began campaigning for better local cycle routes. Bikeability helped folk get their bikes out of the shed and onto the road – plus, running cycling training and a Dr Bike safety check scheme for schools. Cycle Friendly Dunbar was all about encouraging local businesses to have bike first-aid kits on hand to give local people the confidence to cycle more and cycle further.

2009 – 2012
Incredibly Edible Dunbar and District
helps reconnect people to the land, soil, resources and climate around them by giving them access to food, knowledge, skills and tools. All this aims to increase awareness around the many miles food can travel to get to our plates and the food we often end up wasting. We aim to develop practical local ways forward to reduce food miles and food waste by making it easier for folk to access and eat locally grown food. The project includes the Dunbar Community Chicken Coop, Edible Places & Spaces, Community Bees and edible flower pots around the town.

Dunbar Fairtrade Town
Since 2012, Dunbar has been a Fairtrade Town, with Dunbar Fairtrade Group engaging with schools, local businesses, churches and community groups who sell Fairtrade products.

First Steps to Resilience
In the 12 months following the publication of the action plan, we got busy. 2011/12 saw the establishing of the independent car sharing club Sparewheels, six schools and 72 households took up worm composting with Worms Work, and a scheme for a community-owned wind farm was finalised. 121 household participated in Household Canny Challenge, reducing energy and food bills, making our streets and roads safer for playing, walking and cycling and getting neighbours together. We also ran a successful Canny Schools programme in the local primary and secondary schools.

Connecting Dunbar
In 2011, we spent a year researching local travel patterns, identifying the barriers to greater use of walking, cycling and public transport and producing resources such as route maps and timetables. You can read the Connecting Dunbar Report here and have a look at the Transport Surveys here.

BeGreen Dunbar
The BeGreen Dunbar Energy Advice Centre was opened by the privately owned Community Windpower Ltd in November 2008. For a number of years our team of home energy advisors were based in The Energy Advice Centre which has advised and assisted numerous local residents from Dunbar and the wider District with a wide range of energy saving technologies, from the installation of loft and cavity wall insulation and draft proofing measures through to the installation of solar thermal and solar PV systems, replacement boilers and air source heat pumps.

The Local Resilience Action Plan is a draft vision and action plan for starting to build a resilient low carbon community in Dunbar and District over the coming years to 2025.
It builds on local survey findings where over 1500 residents in the Dunbar and East Linton ward area were interviewed during 2009-2011, highlighting a strong desire to be able to source more locally produced food, live in more comfortable and energy efficient homes in neighbourhoods which are safe and attractive to walk and cycle around, for increased opportunities for local employment and much more. The surveys also highlighted the many barriers which currently prevent us all from doing many of these things. This action plan provides a guiding framework for the work of Sustaining Dunbar.
Here is the short version of the plan – have a read!

2009 – 2011
Dunbar 2025
The overarching aim of the ‘Dunbar – 2025’ project was to ask people what is important to them and lay the groundwork for the future structural changes in the local economy required to achieve substantial long-term carbon savings. At the same time we wanted to start making immediate carbon savings where it was easy to do so. There were two main objectives to this project:
1) To engage as many and as wide a range of people as possible in preparing and starting to implement a Zero Carbon Dunbar Vision and Action Plan – Dunbar 2025 – a vision for Dunbar in 2025 and a plan for the action which we need to take now in order for us to get there.
2) To bring about a significant and rapid reduction in carbon emissions from domestic energy use through reducing energy wastage, improving energy efficiency and installation of micro-renewables where appropriate.

We hosted the first Scottish Food Relocalisation Gathering, which led to the Declaration of Dunbar and the creation of a new national body campaigning for quality local food in Scotland, which operates independently as Nourish. Read the report on the event here.

Launch of Sustaining Dunbar. We set up Sustaining Dunbar to steward and support the Transition Town project, aiming to provide a means for people to get together to start planning and creating a positive and sustainable future for the Dunbar and East Linton area.
“As we wean ourselves off our dependence on fossil fuels, how can we use this as an opportunity to build a better future for ourselves, our children and grandchildren?”

Dunbar becomes Scotland’s second Transition Town, a grassroots community project aiming to increase self-sufficiency so that we can build a caring, sharing community as we move away from fossil fuels, reduce emissions and tackle climate change.

This is not an exhaustive list! Not pictured here are all the films shown; talks and lectures hosted; workshops, trainings and discussions held; books read and events put on over the last 12 years.