Grant Success Means More Schools Can See Auld Lang Syne Farm For Free

The farm where Robert Burns wrote Auld Lang Syne is opening its doors to schools for free this year after securing a grant to subsidise visits.

The Robert Burns Ellisland Trust received £3000 from the national agency, Museums Galleries Scotland, to cover the entrance costs of schools visiting the atmospheric farm which has changed little since the poet built it in 1788.

The grant is part of the Museums Recovery fund to help deal with the long term effects of the pandemic.

As well as seeing where Burns lived and worked, both as a farmer and a poet, pupils can explore the outdoor space such as the orchard and paths where he wrote Tam o Shanter and To A Wounded Hare. The farm also has an extensive collection of farm machinery spanning two centuries, including dairy and domestic equipment.

The subsidy means that schools who apply will have the entrance fee of £2.50 per pupil and £5.00 per accompanying adult met. All schools are eligible and the grant is not means tested. However schools need to apply to the scheme and the funds are allocated on a first come, first served basis.

Joan McAlpine, Business Development Manager of the Robert Burns Ellisland Trust, which runs the museum and farm, said the grant was welcome as the trust was a charity which has no ongoing government funding and depends on entrance fees, donations, memberships and grants to keep going.

“Unlike council and government museums, we need to charge for entry and for some schools that might be prohibitive. So for 2022-23 more pupils will get to enjoy this incredibly important site – which was entirely created by Burns himself and is categorised as “Exceptionally significant.” We are very grateful to Museums Galleries Scotland for supporting our scheme.
“To apply, schools just need to fill in our online form. We work with schools to deliver the kind of experience they want. For example, Shawhead Primary, who visited before we got this funding, explored the outdoors as well as the buildings. It was great to see the pupils running around completing the worksheets and writing their own poems under the trees in the orchard.”

The school visit scheme is part of a £17,000 grant from MGS and is the latest funding success for the Robert Burns Ellisland Trust, the charity which took over running the site in 2020. They recently received funds from The Holywood Trust to support jobs in 2022-23 and commission a masterplan for the site. The masterplan is also supported by the Architectural Heritage Fund in Scotland and will engage with the public to create a community and learning resource and first class heritage attraction which can support itself commercially.

To take part in the Robert Burns School Visit Scheme please complete the form here https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1mD0q_mZaX7IbdiARr6yopfD75_mWpKSbBp6-vMC8NIg/edit?usp=sharing

You can also contact the trust via email at [email protected] or call 01387 740426

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