An all weather sports pitch, a community car park, a refurbished Jubilee Bridge - just some of the projects supported by Appin Community Trust.
Current Project Updates
This has been a busy in the background quarter for the Trust. We had a welcome cash boost with £5000 Community Cooperative Shareholders Dividend donation to the Trust after a successful year in Port Appin Stores with a record turnover.
We have funds in place to donate over £2000 to the Skiff group to help to get the boat on the water; once we are satisfied that there are plenty of people planning to use it (which I'm sure there will be) we will release that money. This has been an excellent community project and we congratulate the small band of enthusiasts who are making this happen after 6 years.
We received a request from the Church to consider increasing our contribution to the cost of publishing "The Light" and we happily agreed to double our contribution for which the Treasurer expressed gratitude.
The Community Development Trust requested help with their administrative costs; after much discussion we agreed to give them a one off donation of £500.
Compassionate Communities Project
The Compassionate Communities project has agreed to modify plans for a Menshed to something more in keeping with the Community Garden, Playpark and Playing Field all of which will need storage space and shelter.
The Big Screen is now available to us and we are in discussions with Appin Village Hall to install it there as there is more space than in the Port Appin Hall. The internet rental charges are higher than we hoped so we will concentrate on supporting the Big Hall and giving support to Port Appin Hall to probably lobby for better mobile reception in Port Appin rather than burden the Hall with a £50 a month line rental for little usage.
Weekly Walking Group
The weekly Walking Group continues to attract new faces; We have now done 50 walks in the year with an average of 12-15 walkers per week enjoying company, exercise and sustenance in various local hostelries who have all been very welcoming. We meet every Wednesday at 11 a.m. in the Appin Community Car Park. Just come along if you are interested - anyone can do it (our oldest walker is 91) as we park support vehicles along the routes if possible.
The bench and interpretation boards on the Clach Thoul walk have now been completed in memory of Richard Smidowitz and have been receiving favourable comments. Thanks to John Landale and Neil Black for all their hard work.
Robbie Dunlop's sister gave a generous donation in Robbie's memory and we are donating part of it to the Lunch Club's Christmas Lunch at Creagan, which Robbie so enjoyed.
We are delighted to see that the generous donation of funds for the Appin School of Dance held by the Trust continues to allow the girls to flourish at home and abroad. They deserve all their success as Ambassadors for Appin.
The Compassionate Communities Project continues to grow but we are asking your opinon on the 'manshed' as we don't think a Traditional Work Bench/Toolkit Model is what Appin wants so we are requesting your opinion. The big screen should be in Appin in the very near future and we are discussing with the Appin Hall and the Port Appin Hall the best way of taking advantage of this opportunity.
Previous Trust Updates
Autumn/Winter 2016 The main focus of the Trust has been supporting the start-up of the Appin and Lismore Homercare Scheme, which is close to going 'live'. See more below.
Community Transport: A Trust Sub-Group are looking at getting a Community Transport Scheme up and running in 2017. We are also investigating a Scottish Government Scheme to establish what they call a 'Dementia Community', but I would rather describe it as improving facilities for all our vulnerable Community. A number of us plan to attend a meeting in Fort William in December, which will be addressed by a lady from Helmsdale, Ann Pascoe, who is successfully running such a scheme and has offered to help and support us.
The Skiff: The Appin Skiff Group are close to being ready to start building the vessel, and we are trying to support them in any way we can. We expect developments in the next few weeks as The Community Empowerment Legislation comes into force on 23 January 2017.
Holy Cross: John Connolly has joined the little Sub-Group investigating possible uses of the Church.
Information source: Iain McNicol
The main Trust activity over the past two months has been the planning and organisation of the Appin and Lismore Community Homecare. This has been in collaboration wiht the Argyll and Bute Integrated Care Team (Health and Social Services) and Highland Homecare (an employee owned Care Provider). Everyone has received questionnaires to assess the level of need for potential future care and transport needs, as well as availability of potential volunteers especially for the transport aspect. The advert for the co-ordinator is out and we hope to appoint before the Appin Show. We will then recruit carers and be up and running in the early autumn. The whole idea is to produce an easy, user friendly service, especially for those in need of the Government's Personal Care Programme. Nobody's care will be affected, but the carers will receive better conditions of pay, pensions, training etc. And patients will have more security of service.
Andrew Gordon Duff is donating his final plot of land to the Community Trust in front of Seaview, Port Appin, which will secure it as an open space and the current outline planning permission for two houses will be withdrawn.
We have had no further update on the West Highland Housing Association's plan to give the small plot of land currently a play area which they plan to remove back to the community. Once it progresses, we plan to hold a Public Meeting to decide how best to use that land.
The Trust is currently involved in 3 projects:
Community Hydro Scheme: Three options for community investment and benefit are still being explored on Forestry Commission property. At Appin Hill, the Community Trust has commissioned a professional feasibility study having secured state aided funding to do this. The study is taking place now and will enable a more robust decision to be made on whether or not to proceed to the more serious design, certification and construction phases. If the outcome, expected in January 2016, is positive, more detailed proposals will be put to a wider Appin Community before proceeding. The other two options, in Glen Creran, are being explored by other developers with Appin being given the option to participate. The government incentives to invest in renewable energy have been significantly reduced recently, so there will be much more focus on the financial analyses within these feasibility studies before deciding to proceed. (Source: Bob Cornish).
Port Appin Land: We have passed car parking ideas for Port Appin Pier area to Appin and Lismore Community Councils for comments. Councillor Elaine Robertson is exploring funding from the Roads Capital Budget Programme, as the development on Trust land would tidy the area up. It would make it safer for pedestrians and improve the parking with a potential 25+ extra parking spaces which would especially benefit Lismore. Plan B would be to seek other sources of funding. (Source: Dr Iain McNicol)
Holy Cross: We are trying to gather an appropriate sub committee to oversee the Holy Cross Project. That too may end up needing a parking arrangement but that remains a little way off. (Source: Dr Iain McNicol)
Jubilee Bridge Renovation
The Community Trust were funding agents for the splendid renovation work carried out on our iconic Jubilee Bridge. The project involved replacing the approach paths to the bridge and repairing deck beams, deck boards and handrails on the bridge. The project was managed by local retired engineer Mike Rayworth and Appin construction firm SE Carmichael.
Appin Craft Shop
In 2013, the Trust bought the Craft Shop - site of the original food store. The premises is now leased to a local business and offers a lovely range of gifts and locally made crafts.
Community Car Park
Using land donated by the late Brigadier Ian Stewart, the much-needed car park provides parking for Appin Village Hall and the Church of Scotland. A connecting track to Sustrans National Cycle Track 78 was also built giving easy access from the car park.
All-weather Sports Pitch
Completed in 2012, the all-weather sports pitch attached to Strath of Appin primary school received significant funding from the Trust. The sports pitch can now be used for a range of school and community sports all year round and is a vast improvement on the old muddy, waterlogged grass pitch.
Solar Panels on shop roof
The solar panels were installed on the shop roof at the end of 2012 to help reduce the cost of heat and light to the shop which we had identified as a major challenge to the shop's long term viability. It also offered us an increasing return of over 10% on reserves we had which far exceeds bank interest.
We also replaced the fluorescent lights in the shop with LEDs which increase the light by 30% and have halved our lighting costs. This has also improved our Green credentials along with a policy of charging for plastic bags which we introduced 3 years ago and reduced our useage from 50,000 pa to 5,000.
Shop car park
Additional land was bought to extend and re-surface the parking area at Port Appin Stores and Craft Shop.
Donation of land at Clach Thoul
The land, donated to the Community by Andrew Gordon Duff in memory of his mother, flanks the track at the start of the Clach Thoul and Appin Rocks headland walk. Recent work to clear rhododendrons has opened up the stunning views over Loch Linnhe.
New floor for Port Appin Hall
Port Appin Hall has been the centre of village social life since 1948 - it's used for meetings, country dancing, Appin Art Group, children's activities, Appin Historical Society, SWRI meetings, private parties and much more. Using a grant from Appin Community Trust, the well-trodden hall was re-floored in 2010.
Shop vanThe shop van, replaced in 2013, was an essential investment for the work of the Cooperative - to collect stock and make food deliveries to elderly/infirm residents throughout the community.
Build new Port Appin Stores
The new, larger shop with Post Office, built in 2001, enabled the Cooperative to install additional refrigeration and extend the range of fresh produce, frozen foods and groceries.
Bealach na Mara housing development
The houses were built on land that the late Colin Wallace sold to the community at a heavily discounted rate. The Trust then sold half of the land to Lorn and Mull Housing Association. As Dr Iain McNicol, Community Trust Chairman recalls "We turned the other half of the land into a playing field and play park. The Trust also paid for the planning permission which enabled the housing association to apply for government funding."
About the Trust
Established in 1991, the Trust is the charitable arm of the Cooperative. The 4 trustees are appointed by the Cooperative Management Committee (2 Trustees) and the general community (2 Trustees) with an appointed chairman.
Iain McNicol - Chairman
Bob Cornish - Secretary
John Landale - Treasurer
Jessie MacKenzie - Trustee
David Dunlop - Trustee
Caroline Henderson - Trustee
The trust whose income comes predominantly from the cooperative, enhanced by legacies and donations, donates to many charitable and educational activities in the north Lorn area.
In recent years the trust has been the funding agent for several large projects – the community carpark, the all-weather pitch, the reflooring of the Port Appin hall and the major refurbishment of the Jubilee Bridge.
The trust also runs the 100 Club to raise funds to maintain and improve Appin’s leisure facilities. See The 100 Club tab below for how to join and to see a list of recent winners.
Contact the Trust
The 100 Club
The Trust set up a 100 Club in 2010 to help fund the ongoing maintenance of leisure and sporting facilities as well as encouraging new ones.
100 Club funds have been used to support volunteers clearing rhododendrums and scrub on our land around Clach Thoul and to contribute to the grass cutting of the Port Appin playing field. We also expect at some stage to support the maintenance of the all-weather pitch which we gave a significant contribution towards.
How it works
100 Club members pay £4 per month by standing order and the monthly draw has 3 prizes worth £100, £50 and £25 each. We currently have about 80 members so there is room for more!
How to join
Contact Iain McNicol, c/o Port Appin Stores or call 730433 if you'd like to join the 100 Club.Recent 100 Club winners are:
March 2019: 1st Bob Cornish 2nd. Donald MacColl 3rd. Alex Gourlay.
February 2019: 1st. Frank Reid 2nd. Anna Gregory 3rd. Ian & Isobel Jackson.
January 2019: 1st. Janet Tricker 2nd. Caroline Henderson 3rd. Margaret Ross