Lochalsh Community Council
Auchtertyre – Avernish – Balmacara – Kirkton – Reraig – Glaick
Tuesday 21st June 2022– 7.30pm
Present Adrienne Sowood, Tim Sowood (Chair), Emma Bennon, Sarah Longley, James Merryweather, Patrick Logue (Cllr), Roz Birch (HC Senior ranger)
Apologies Siobhan Barker, Holly Philp, Susan Pettie Lynne Crawford,
Tim welcomed everyone, particularly Roz and Patrick, noting that the meetings today (this AGM and the business meeting to follow) are our first face to face meetings for two years.
Minutes AGM 2021 – Approval
Proposed – Emma Seconded – James
Chairperson’s Report 2022
Over this last year, whilst we have been emerging and moving on from the pandemic constraints, considerable effort by our members has been focussed on three major issues, the safety of fast traffic and the bus shelter on the A87, the roadside environmental problems associated with fouling, litter and wild camping, and the proposed seaweed farms in Loch Alsh. We have had the first of two major beach cleans organised by Siobhan and Roz, and which was very well supported. Our barrel planting and maintenance, currently under way again after getting a grant from Highland Council, is being done by volunteers young and old. We will now have 22 barrels across the area. Emma has worked hard and has many volunteers establishing the new community garden in Auchtertyre. We have been aware for some time of the lack of an accessible defibrillator in our area and Siobhan has done sterling work in acquiring full funding and training, and locating it at the Spar in Reraig. Four of us have attended the Lochalsh Collaboration meetings with Emma and Susan taking active roles in producing the Community Action Plan due to be launched over the summer. James and Sarah have made regular talented and interesting contributions to the Community newsletter which we still deliver to every house in our area.
In the years I have been Chair (and Adrienne secretary) we have had many ups and downs. Despite edicts from the powers that be that Community Engagement is an important priority, I have found, from experience over those years, Community Empowerment has a long way to go yet at our grass roots level. We have experienced high handed intransigent attitudes and unhelpful responses from official government national and local bodies paying, in cases, only lip service to our concerns.
However, our closest contacts, ward managers Robbie Bain and more recently Dot Ferguson, and our new senior ranger Roz Birch have been exceptionally helpful and understanding. We have also been well represented by our Councillors Biz Campbell and, previously, Audrey Sinclair whose guiding hands have seen us through many issues. At national level we have had excellent support from our MP Ian Blackford and our MSP Kate Forbes in the difficulties we have had with Transport Scotland. Ian’s commissioning of the Safer Road Foundation gave new impetus to the ongoing issues on the A87 and we are most grateful to them, particularly their Executive Chairman, Michael Woodford for their continuing efforts.
Most satisfying during my and Adrienne’s tenure as Chair and Secretary, is the way, particularly in recent years, that our membership has flourished. We now have a vibrant, active, much younger membership which bodes well for the future of Lochalsh Community Council. Lockdown was almost a catalyst for this and subsequently the projects, issues, community involvement that have, and are being developed is most encouraging. Adrienne and I are not going away, just stepping down from our roles as secretary and chair and will be around and, hopefully active until the next CC elections in November 2023.
We thank you all for the support and contributions you have made over the years.
Tim Sowood -Chair
Lochalsh Community council AGM - 21.06.2022
203 - cleared 8th April 2021 to Beth’s Cafe for providing Community Food Bank catering.
204 - cleared 20th July 2021 to Loch Duich Plants
205 - cancelled.
206 - cancelled
207 - cleared 2nd November 2021 to Loch Duich Plants.
208 - cleared 28th October 2021 To Roddy for repairing the community benches.
209 - cleared 27th October 2021 for LCC website
210 - cleared 11th November 2021, Donation to Auchertyre Primary school to help with buying waterproof for the nursery children.
211 - cleared 15th November 2021, Donation to Balmacara Hall committee for Christmas lights in the square.
212 - cleared 15th November 2021,secretary expenses
213 - cleared 15th November 2021 Chair’s expenses.
We have had quite an active year despite being reduced mainly to zoom meetings. In some ways this made meetings more accessible but nothing beats sitting down with colleagues and I think perhaps we have all found getting used to IT in a way we’ve never had to before was quite tricky for some, particularly in light of the poor internet connections that many of us living here have. To that end all members of the council are to be commended for their dedication in what has been quite a difficult time. We had hoped to continue in some way melding zoom with our face to face meetings but this has not been possible due to lack of facilities and community empowerment issues. We have been unable to share community spaces such as schools and colleges.
It was therefore excellent to be able to use Kirkton Hall, the only community hall within our council area, yet we will face rental charges for this. Currently the Highland Council grant doesn’t cover the expenses of the Treasurer, Chair and Secretary together with our public liability insurance, this is before we even think about venue hire for meetings and is unsustainable. We will have to look at other fundraising avenues if the grant is not increased for these basic requirements. It must be remembered that we are all volunteers with families and busy jobs, to ask even more of our members may lead to a reduction in numbers as the pressure is very high.
We were particularly thrilled to support Beth’s Cafe with a community grant during the pandemic. It made a big difference to a lot of people.
Many of our members also worked voluntarily as part of a community response to the difficulties faced and I know that their efforts helped an awful lot of people, not just in our community council area, but others too.
It was also great to help primary school and to receive the lovely cards from the little ones was wonderful.
Balmacara Hall Committee put on a brilliant community event last Christmas, the first get together for everyone. Seeing the lights was great. Sadly they were vandalised after the event, but I believe were reparable. The event was thoroughly enjoyed.
I would like to thank the previous Treasurer for guiding me through the changeover and the Chair and Secretary for supporting me in this role.
But most of all I want to thank everyone in Lochalsh Community council for their admirable and continued hard work.
Adoption of Audited Financial Statement of Accounts
Proposed Tim Seconded James – the FS was adopted
Election of Office Bearers
Chair – James Merryweather; Proposed Tim, Seconded Emma
Vice Chair – Emma Bennon; Proposed Sarah Seconded Adrienne
Secretary -Siobhan Barker ; Proposed Adrienne Seconded James
Treasurer -Emma Bennon; Proposed Sarah Seconded Adrienne
note Siobhan had already indicated willingness to stand – unable to attend at last minute due to car problem
Lochalsh Community Council.
Accounts for the year ending 31st March 2022.