|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
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.