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About Berwickshire

The county of Berwickshire is one of the most sparsely populated areas of the Scottish mainland, and is an area of mixed upland livestock farming and lowland, arable farming, with approximately one third of the population living in coastal communities. The area is located to the south-east of Edinburgh, on the border with England.

According to the 2001 Census of Population, there were some 21,844 people resident within the seven Berwickshire electoral wards of Scottish Borders Council and an average population density of 0.22 persons per hectare across its 99,000 hectares. This compared with 0.65 persons per hectare for Scotland, itself sparsely populated compared to the UK as a whole.

Significantly, the population of the area has declined by some 40% since its heyday in the 1861 Census, ata time when agricultural production was highly labour intensive. This decline has been at a rate only exceeded by areas of the north-west Highlands and the Islands of Scotland.

Today, the area suffers from continued decline in the traditional employment sectors of agriculture, fishing and manufacturing while there are poor training opportunities and poor levels of public transport across the county. In addition, there are few centres of graduate employment to retain young people, resulting in a loss of many of our talented young people to the bright lights and opportunities of the cities of Edinburgh, Newcastle and beyond.

It is vital for the future sustainability of vibrant communities within Berwickshire, and for the continued cohesion and sense of identity and self-confidence of the people of the area, that the existing 33 Berwickshire communities, through their community councils and other community representatives, act collectively to ensure that they co-ordinate their activities and events, be they social, cultural, educational or organised by the voluntary sector.

Following discussions at the BCCF meetings and at local community level, in response to requests for improved accessibility to village news, information and community events, it has been proposed that the BCCF would benefit from having a community website, “Berwickshire Communities Online”. This website will operate as an information portal and to thus represent the collective activity across the 21 community council areas of Berwickshire.

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