Pay it Forward in Midlothian and the Scottish Borders

by Scotland Starts Here, 2nd April 2020
Leaderfoot Viaduct | Melrose.
Pay it Forward in Midlothian and the Scottish Borders

If you’re wondering how you can support your favourite local businesses while staying safe at home during the coronavirus lockdown, we have some tips. Even from the comfort of your sofa, there are several ways you can help to ensure local shops, attractions, restaurants and charities can weather the uncertainty and open their doors again in the future. 

From online shopping to vouchers and paying it forward, we have collated a variety of options from businesses across Midlothian and the Borders. Help save your faves with the ideas below. 

Restoration Yard | Dalkeith

Buy a gift voucher

If your favourite businesses are closed, consider supporting them by buying a gift voucher. If you already have a gift voucher, many are also happy to extend the validity to make sure you can enjoy all the perks in the future. 

Purchase a gift card for Restoration Yard, that you can use for breakfast/brunch, lunch or Afternoon Tea when things return to normal. The team is also working on their online shop, featuring kid’s toys, stationery, Spring fashion and more. 

Get a voucher for something to look forward to: Stewart Brewing’s Craft Beer Experience offers you the opportunity to create your own beer, from brewing to label design. 

The Borders hotel in the heart of Melrose is still taking forward bookings and also has gift vouchers available.

For now, we’re all enjoying homemade wellbeing sessions, but if you’re dreaming about future spa trips, Stobo Castle’s gift vouchers are still available. 

Mainstreet Trading Company | Saint Boswells

Go online shopping

Retail therapy comes with the great feeling of supporting small, independent businesses. Treat yourself or surprise loved ones with an online order from one of your local shops. 

Mainstreet has launched a Self-Isolation Book Subscription: This special new subscription includes a book every week for either six or twelve weeks. Available for adults or children, subscribers will receive a book hand-picked just for them every week.

Lindean Mill Glass

The online shop of the small glass studio offers contemporary tableware in rainbow colours, with each item handmade to order. 

You don’t have to miss out on the perfect brew thanks to Three Hills Coffee’s online shop. Why not share a picture of your coffee break with #ThreeHillsHomebrew – support comes in many shapes and sizes. 

The visitor attraction with restaurant, deli, brewery and more may be closed for now, but their online shop continues to operate. Shop their range of beers and gins, or support them by buying gift vouchers for activities including grass sledging and afternoon tea. 

The active lifestyle clothing brand from Innerleithen has turned its focus from promoting outdoor adventure to keeping happy and motivated at home. Their passion can be felt in their work, and their online shop is still open. 

The microbrewery in Tweedbank continues to ship orders from their webshop. And with a current yard sale, some discounts are available, too.  

While you can’t cuddle Dotty, Thowlie and the rest of the gang for now, you can purchase alpaca goodies – including cosy alpaca wool – from Beirhope’s online shop

The gin distillery located in the Secret Herb Garden continues to operate their monthly gin club. Each gin is specially created with notes of seasonal flowers and spices. 

Left Field Kombucha

Left Field’s one-man brew team is hard at work to continue making and sending out their kombucha across the UK. Those worried about accepting parcels can designate a safe place when ordering through the online shop

If you’re looking for a way to support Scotland’s oldest inhabited house during their closure, their pioneering microbrewery is an excellent opportunity. Have a look at their online shop for a range of Traquair Ales. 

The distillery in Hawick is currently offering free delivery when you buy a bottle of Puffing Billy Steam Vodka, Lower East Side whisky or Kerr’s Borders Gin from their online shop.

Rosslyn Chapel | Roslin

Support a charity or donate

Many museums and heritage sites rely on volunteer support and donations. Due to ongoing closures, some will now find themselves in difficult situations and unable to share their stories. This is the time to support their efforts.

Rosslyn has inspired people for centuries, and it relies on donations and income from visitors to conserve the outstanding building for future generations to appreciate and enjoy.

The Trust looking after the novelist’s home near Melrose is grateful for any support and online donations to help them continue looking after the library and collections during this difficult time.

The charity is looking to fundraise to support the museum as well as the local community during these uncertain times. They are offering a 15% discount across their entire online shop with the discount code JCT15. 

The 18th century blacksmith’s workshop and heritage hub had been preparing to carry out restoration work but is now facing delays. As a centre for local history, supporters can get involved by donating to support the works and sharing their heritage stories.

The historic house near Berwick upon Tweed continues to safeguard its nationally significant collections. But they can’t do it without help. In order to keep up their work, the Trust are raising funds to cover the essential maintenance of the building and its contents.


Take a (safe and responsible) walk

The many countryside walks around Midlothian, and the Borders offer much-needed respite at this time. Check for trails near your home and choose from local routes that will make keeping a distance straight-forward. 

If you find yourself crossing through the grounds of local country parks, castles or estates, check if you can support them by buying a grounds pass or making a donation. There are online options abound, which means you can keep practising social distancing while outside. And, at the same time, this supports the upkeep of local green spaces that might struggle during the lockdown. Purchasing a pass or making a donation online even when you don’t need to will help safeguard these places for the future.

Always remember to enjoy the fresh air responsibly. The landscapes of Scotland are here to stay, so keep close to home. Do not walk in groups and do not take any risks by venturing out in adverse conditions or into unfamiliar terrain.  

Show your support, spread the word

Finally, you don’t have to spend money to support your favourite local businesses. Let them know you’re thinking of them at this time. Share a picture of a past purchase on social media, follow their page or recommend them to friends. Give a shout out to the businesses you look forward to returning to help them keep their spirits up. 

Did we miss any local businesses, charities or sites? Get in touch and let us know.