skip to main content

Covid-19 fund supports club's work in Garnock Valley

Delivering 'packages of joy' in Dalry

The Barrmill Jolly Beggars Burns Club in North Ayrshire’s Garnock Valley has seen some of its toughest few months in the club’s 75-year history this year, due to Covid-19.

With a membership of primarily ‘vulnerable’ people, the pandemic has taken its toll on the 70 members, who attend regular team gatherings at Beith’s Masonic Hall.

However, in adversity the club has shown resilience and significant kindness to members and the wider Garnock Valley community by providing ‘packages of joy’ to people shielding, delivering them personally and also stopping for a natter.

It initially used its own funds to prepare small packages of groceries, books, puzzles and crosswords but has recently been boosted by financial support from local organisations.

The most significant of which was £2,500 from Community Windpower, which operates the Dalry and Millour Hill Community Wind Farms, and Dalry Parish Boundary Trust’s joint Covid-19 crisis fund.

Barrmill Jolly Beggars Burns Club’s activity has been spearheaded by Kilbirnie and Beith councillor Donald Reid, ably supported by his wife Kathleen.

He said: “In these challenging times, and with our club unable to meet, we decided to look at how we could help our members by making phone calls and using a small amount of funds we had.

“Those funds of £500 quickly went on providing the first ‘packages of joy’ for our sheltering elderly members across the region and it proved a real success.

“As word quickly spread, we received further requests for help coming in from the wider Garnock Valley community and a grant was secured to provide 240 parcels over a number of weeks.

“Since then the requests increased, at which point the Barrmill Jolly Beggars Burns Club turned to Community Windpower’s and Dalry Parish Boundary Trust Covid-19 crisis fund.

“Our funding application of £2,500 was processed within 48 hours, and it meant we would have enough money to continue the ‘packages of joy’ throughout the summer.

“Many of the people we’ve delivered packages to are shielding and experiencing significant periods of loneliness, which has made life very difficult for them.

“The ‘packages of joy’ are obviously very special to people and are greatly appreciated, not just for the contents, but for the conversations during delivery and the fact these people are being thought about – that’s something you can’t buy.

“It means each set of packages can take up to five days to deliver, because people often haven’t had chance to speak to anyone for days or even weeks.”

Those being supported also include people living at Connell Court, Watt Court, Laigh Court, Dickson Court, Spiers Nursing Home and Thistleknowe Nursing Home, along with staff at the nursing homes.

The packages have also been provided to other frontline and emergency services in the area.

The £2,500 from Community Windpower and Dalry Parish Boundary Trust will provide 360 packages delivered to up to 120 people each time over a period of weeks, to ensure the support is prolonged and also delivers comfort to those in vulnerable or lonely situations.

“My wife Kathleen uses all the money wisely to get the best offers on food, books and other supplies we put in the ‘packages of joy’,” added Donald.

“When my wife brings home the shopping, we create the packages then put them in our car and start delivering.

“It takes a while to get around because of social distancing and people just love to chat, but we really enjoy seeing the look of surprise and joy on people’s faces when we arrive with the package.

“And the responses after we left have been amazing, with messages on social media, cards and flowers to say thank you.

“We’ve spent plenty of time on this activity, but it’s been worth every minute.”

The final delivery of 120 packages is due to go out this month (August), at which point the club will assess the situation.

Diane Wood, community benefits director at Community Windpower, which operates the Millour Hill and Dalry Community Wind Farms in North Ayrshire, said: “We didn’t hesitate when this grant was applied for as it does exactly what our Covid-19 crisis fund was intended for; helping those in the community that need support the most during this pandemic.

“The feedback has been humbling for everyone involved and it’s great that an elderly members club can make this positive contribution to the wider Garnock Valley community, with support from ourselves and Dalry Parish Boundary Trust.

“It really does make a difference to people’s morale during these challenging times and we’re really pleased to be able to help.”

For more information on the North Ayrshire Covid-19 crisis fund, managed by Dalry Parish Boundary Trust, applications should contact John Smith at Dalry Parish Boundary Trust on 07768 017 864 or email

Back to News

  • © 2014 Community Windpower Ltd
  • Company Registration Number: 04588923
  • VAT number: 845 147 422
Visit our BeGreen Website