AN AWARD-WINNING fashion school has extended its stay in the heart of Dunbar – much to the relief of its owner.

Dunbar Fashion School, with international fashion designer Jacqui Burke at the helm, has been based at Castellau House for the past five years.

However, they did not realise their lease with East Lothian Council was due to run out at the end of March.

Ms Burke, who thought the lease had another 12 months to go, was desperate to see the social enterprise, which works with different generations, remain on site.

So following some last-gasp talks with the local authority, the fashion school was delighted and relieved to be told on Friday that their lease had been extended for another year.

Ms Burke said it was “good news” and they had plans to extend their stay further.

The extension comes just days after the fashion school was toasting success at the Generations Working Together awards in Glasgow.

The fashion school picked up the award for contribution to reducing loneliness and isolation for its Design and Time project, while also being highly commended in the most innovative project category.

As well as coming home with two prizes, a fashion show, complete with catwalk, also took place.

The award recognised work in developing relationships between a group of secondary pupils and members of the local dementia friendly groups while learning and sharing skills, including the development and creation of mood boards, pattern construction, cutting room practise, machine study and garment making.

The budding fashion designers, aged between eight and 80, were given the chance to strut their stuff while wearing a garment they had designed and created.

Ms Burke said the award-winning project had helped break down barriers between generations.

She said: “The young people were saying there is a stereotype that sometimes older people are frightened of the younger people.

“It is breaking down stereotypes, there is nothing to be scared of with a tattoo or a piercing – they are just lovely people.”

The fashion school had been running for a number of years before finally finding a home in 2015.

However, Ms Burke explained her connection to Dunbar and reluctance to see the project move elsewhere.

She said: “You cannot put a price on the joy this brings to people at all. It is priceless.

“I’ve never left Dunbar – no matter where I show in the world – and I have always employed people from Dunbar.”