Astronomical society bids to bag cash boost

Members at last year's day of the region in Glentrool.
Members at last year's day of the region in Glentrool.

Galloway Forest Astronomical Society is bidding to bag a cash boost from the Tesco Bags of Help initiative.

Tesco teamed up with Groundwork to launch its community funding scheme, which sees grants of £4,000, £2,000 and £1,000 – all raised from the 5p bag levy – being awarded to local community projects. Greenspace Scotland is working with Groundwork to provide support to communities in Scotland.

Three groups in every Tesco region have been shortlisted to receive the cash award and shoppers are being invited to head along to Tesco stores to vote for who they think should take away the top grant.

Galloway Forest Astronomical Society (GFAS) is one of the groups on the shortlist.

GFAS is fundraising to build a new storage facility for its collection of stargazing equipment. Working with Newton Stewart Tennis Club we plan to build a secure, insulated storage cabin beside the tennis pavilion in York Road, Newton Stewart.

“This will make the society’s facility much more accessible to local residents, especially school students, and will make stargazing events much easier to organise and deliver. Check out the GFAS website at or visit out facebook group “galloway forest astronomical society.”

GFAS Chairman, Antony Berretti, said: “working together with the tennis club is a win-win situation for both groups. While GFAS operates mainly in the winter months and the tennis club mostly in the summer, there is plenty of room for both on the site and with both groups working together we should be able to offer better experiences to young astronomers in and near the Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park.”

Voting is open in stores throughout May and June. Customers will cast their vote using a token given to them at the check-out in store each time they shop.

Tesco’s Bags of Help project has already delivered over £28.5 million to more than 4,000 projects up and down the UK. Tesco customers get the chance to vote for three different groups every time they shop. Every other month, when votes are collected, three groups in each of Tesco’s regions will be awarded funding.

Tony McElroy, Tesco’s Head of Communications in Scotland, said: “We are absolutely delighted to open the voting for May and June. There are some fantastic projects on the short-lists and we can’t wait to see them come to life in hundreds of communities.”

Emma Halliday, Community Enabler Coordinator at Greenspace Scotland, said: “We’ve been thrilled to see the diversity of projects that have applied for funding, ranging from outdoor classrooms, sports facilities, community gardens, play areas and everything in between.

Funding is available to community groups and charities looking to fund local projects that bring benefits to communities. Anyone can nominate a project and organisations can apply online. To find out more visit