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Strathdearn Community Website

Strathdearn Community Developments

Following the fantastic news that we now have full planning permission for the new Community Hub we are now contacting people who have previously used the hall or would use it in the future to hear in more detail just what you or your group might need or would like to see in our new facility.  We would really appreciate a few moments of your time to complete the following questionnaire - 

http://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/8DJRN/

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... And here is the news

Welcome to the new look SCD NEWS. As part of our obligation to consult and inform the community, Strathdearn Community Developments Co. will publish a detailed progress report in every Newsletter and if anything particularly urgent or newsworthy comes up in between, we will email or post additional updates to our members. These reports will also be published on the community website to form a permanent searchable record.

These are exciting times in Strathdearn. We are making good progress on many of the projects identified by the Cadispa survey - better medical services, a path through the village and improved broadband. Two other items on the list - a cafe and public toilets - will be incorporated into the new community hub which has been prioritised due to the condemning of our old hall. In addition, SCD has taken over running our local shop.

These changes will affect all of us for a long time to come so SCD needs to be confident it has your support. Two way communication is the key - you need to know what we're planning and we need to know what you think about it. We'll do our bit through SCD NEWS and the website and then it's up to you to make your voice heard and your opinions known.

You'll find out elsewhere in this bulletin how to get more involved, but you can start right now by considering as you read this first SCD NEWS how it can be improved.  If you have any thoughts or suggestions regarding the style, layout or content, we'd like to hear them.

 

Community Hub/Big Lottery ApplicationPlanning approved

A full strategic plan is now being worked upon by the Admin team for submission by the deadline of the 25th May 2017 for our Big Lottery fund application. The procurement procedure for the appointment of an independent Quantity Surveyor (QS) for the new hall build, has been completed, and a short list of applicants was reviewed. The Torrance Partnership have been selected as the QS to review project costs for the hall design prior to going out to tender for the new build and they will commence work immediately. The fee for Torrance Partnership to complete the first part of the cost review is paid for by the Big Lottery under our development funding application.  In addition to the Big Lottery Application we are now progressing other fund raising avenues. An application to the Bank of Scotland Foundation Fund has been submitted specifically to cover the cost of the power source for the new hub complex.

Planning permission for the new hub may be viewed on line at: http://wam.highland.gov.uk/wam/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=documents&keyVal=OBFR1FIHHHV00

 

DTAS Scottish Government Funding

An annual review has taken place with DTAS, for grant funding for the Administration team. Last financial year 2016/17 SCD received £43000 which included £3k for capital equipment and we are delighted that the grant objectives have been reviewed and objectives met. It is with great pleasure that the board can announce, that SCD will receive the grant funding for the Admin team for another year. This will be £40k for the year 2017/18. The recommendation from DTAS is that a third year of funding would be recommended, should it be needed.

 

Superfast BroadbandMoy Broadband

Our project to bring superfast broadband to Moy residents has been praised by BT and promoted on their website as a model for other rural communities which is fantastic news.  Agreements have been signed with Openreach for three cabinets to be installed and BT have promised the work will be completed by Christmas. Nearly every home in the area registered for a Better Broadband voucher of £350, considerably reducing the cost to the community. Plans to investigate the viability of extending the scheme to other areas have been put on hold until BT complete promised upgrades of Tomatin and Glen Mazaran exchanges. Read the full story on BT's website HERE.

 

Introducing F.A.Q.

Who are MAKAR?
What happened to the path?
Why will the hub cost so much?

SCD admin staff have created a FAQ to answer these and other Frequently Asked Questions. You will find it in the SCD section of the community website HERE.

 

Paths Project

The SCD board continues to review the additional requirements imposed by the roads department to meet the conditions of planning. Local councillors have been encouraged to coordinate a meeting to see if we can reach a compromise and Mark Clough of Highland Council is consulting with engineers on options for a green verge (not kerbed) with occasional drain ‘offlets’ and alternative re surfacing (currently bitmac is specified) reducing the amount of retaining wall needed. However, if alternatives are found then it will probably mean applying for a formal variation to the conditions – more time and possibly more upfront cost if technical drawings are needed, but would result in a reduction in capital cost. We hope to have a response from Highland Council soon and will keep everyone updated.

 

Communications

The community website has several new features. The online booking system is ready to use you can now check availability, book a room or sports facility, and pay for it by cheque, BACS or credit card. (You do not have to use the new system, you can continue to book and pay the same way you have always done). To attract more bookings from outside our area, we are working on an enhanced website description of the hall facilities together with a promotional leaflet. Take a stroll down memory lane - the redesigned photo gallery features pictures of Strathdearn people and places spanning over a century (more contributions welcome).

 

The Medical Group & Strathdearn CarersStrathdearnCarersBadge round

Highland Home Care now have a new manager, Angela MacDonald who will  be SCD’s main contact.  We are delighted to say that Highland Home Care will be providing further training to the staff covering our area.  Currently six Strathdearn residents are registered with numbers looking to rise in the future.  This is a great service within the community which offers both a lifeline to our residents as well as providing local employment.

 

Glenkirk Woodland

An expression of community interest in Glenkirk was submitted to the Forestry Commission under the Community Asset Transfer programme. However, when the SCD Ltd board discussed possible acquisition at the board meeting of the 23 March 2017 it was decided to withdraw our interest.

The principle reasons being concerns over Glenkirk becoming a viable community asset given access issues and distance from the village. SCD Ltd also has major commitments with the shop and community hub projects, especially to win funding.  A letter has been sent explaining this decision to the chair of the Community Council Mrs V Roden. It is important to note that the Board was keen to investigate further woodland opportunities in Strathdearn as part of a package of future projects.

 

Tomatin ShopTHE sign

Lee Anne and her staff continue to work hard in the shop providing a much needed service within the village.  They have completed their first stocktake since takeover and are constantly looking at ways to improve the current stock. Management accounts have now been issued and show that the shop traded at a loss over the winter months but every effort is being made to reverse these losses.

A new shop sign has been put up along with plans for a new rail and paint to freshen up the entrance to welcome in all customers.  Please remember the shop is community owned and needs your support.

 

Website

Don’t forget to check Strathdearn Community Website for local news, useful information, SCD and Community Council documents, photo gallery, and much more.

 

New Appointment

We regret to announce we are losing a valuable member of the administration team, but delighted to announce we have found a great replacement.

The SCD board and team would like to thank Fiona Fraser for her most valuable contribution and wish her every success in the future. The White River Trading admin post was advertised, interviews held and we are delighted to welcome Joan MacQueen who will start the position in May. The post is funded by Development Trust Association Scotland (DTAS).

 

SCD Membershipscd logo

We encourage you to become a member of Strathdearn Community Developments Company. Benefits include the right to attend SCD meetings, stand for election as a company director and vote in elections. You can find an online membership form in the SCD section of the website HERE, or you can request a printed form from the Company Secretary, Strathdearn Hall, IV13 7YN.

The next two SCD meetings are scheduled for May 25 and June 29. We meet in Strathdearn Hall at 7.30pm.

 

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EGM postponedDear Member,

Our EGM planned for 27th April is postponed to another date.

The purpose of this meeting was to provide the Members with updates on the various projects and in particular to seek Members' views on how to progress the paths project as the planning conditions imposed by the Highland Council meant the costs for completing the road side path through Tomatin had risen to eight times our original estimate, and some stark decisions needed to be made.

However, recent discussions with the Highland Council have identified some other possibilities and Council Officers will be reporting back to us in the next few weeks by which time we will also have a new set of Highland Councillors for our Ward after the May 4th Local Elections. The SCD Board therefore felt that we should postpone the EGM until this latest round of negotiations with the Highland Council and the new Ward Councillors have reached a conclusion and we are in a position to present to the Members some concrete options about the way forward.

Please be assured that other SCD projects, including the new Community Hub, which has planning permission, broadband for Moy and our community run shop, are moving forward.  

We will  let you know the new date via email and the community website (www.strathdearn.org). In the meantime, if you have any specific concerns or questions, please raise them with Edward Cameron-Mackintosh, Company Secretary on this e-mail address.

With best regards,

Richard Cooling

Chairman

Openreach vans 02

An open letter from James Machpherson, SCD lead director for broadband project :

Dear Community Members

As you may well know on 16th November 2016 the Moy residents voted unanimously in favour for BT Openreach’ s proposal to install 3 new cabinets within the Moy area, promising speeds of up 80mbps once installed. This solution is to be funded through around £85K Moy Windfarm Community Benefit funds, the Better Broadband Vouchers of up to £350 being claimed by all Moy households and BT’s own investment.

Strathdearn Community Developments, the facilitator in the process, has the challenging ambition of helping to bring superfast broadband to the whole of Strathdearn! This will be a very difficult and challenging task which must be completed in a number of stages.

The Moy upgrade was effectively seen as stage 1 of our strategy for improving broadband within Strathdearn, with following stages addressing the Glenmazeran Exchange, Coignafearn, Clune and  Balvraid and so on until we have managed to achieve superfast broadband throughout the entire community!

The next stage in our plans will be to improve the broadband speeds for properties up to and surrounding the Glenmazeran exchange.

In the latter stages of 2016 we proposed to Robert Thorburn, of BT Openreach (Chief Coordinator for Highland and Islands), the idea of a community dig up to the Glenmazeran exchange, connecting fibre directly to every property en-route, with BT Openreach contributing all the cabling, ducting, installation and connections. Subject to full costing and technical specification plans, this project would have been funded through the community as well as contributions from the property owners. Furthermore, the landowners would agree not claim any wayleave on this line and allow BT access for any ongoing maintenance. Initially we were given the impression that this was a solution that BT would be agreeable to.

We had had hoped that an Openreach surveyor/ engineer would meetup in the latter stages of 2016 so we could plan the optimal route for the new cabling so that we could attain quotes from local contractors, with the ambition of a spring 2017 dig commencing but disappointingly, Openreach did not propose any meeting date, even after a number of reminders.

Having continued to press Robert Thorburn, on a fortnightly basis, Robert has explained that his reasoning for not committing to this proposal is because he would like to explore another option first which may not require quite so much community investment or input.

Robert’s latest March 2017 update is the following:

“BT is proactively looking at provision of an upgrade to both the Tomatin and  Glenmazeran Exchanges from the max headline Exchange Activate speed of 0.5mbps ( Glenmazeran) and the ADSL speed of 8mbps ( Tomatin)  to 20mbps before the end of 2018. Whilst it is anticipated that Tomatin will likely complete during 2017, plans are still being progressed on how Glenmazeran will be deployed too with this technology.   A significant amount of work and investment will be required to make this happen. At this point, I have no clear path to explain how BT intend to do this which will be clearer over the next 2/3 months.

For example - when the upgrade occurs in Tomatin - ADSL customers will automatically benefit from slightly increased speeds predominantly those in the village or within a several kms' - it may not necessarily provide any real improvement for those heading towards Glanmazeran but will provide improved connectivity options which could be important for attracting businesses.
The same principle applies though that the further away from the exchange you are the lower the ADSL speeds will be..

Work continues on developing a FTTP and cabinet based fibre solution to support premises along the Strathdearn as we pave the way to reaching Glenmazeran.”

At this stage I would I think our best option is to wait to see what Openreach comes up with. It may be that a further community partnership will be required similar to the Moy project, but as soon as I have a proper update will let you know.

Yours faithfully,

James

Strathdearn Community Development Company's project to bring superfast broadband to Moy residents has been praised by BT and promoted on their website as a model for other rural communities. BT have promised the new fibre cabinets will be ready to use by Christmas. In an article titled "Breath of fresh air for Inverness-shire community as Moy windfarm helps fund fibre broadband," Robert Thorburn, BT Scotland project director, described the benefits:

“We know the huge impact broadband has had on our lives and it’s fantastic to have personally been involved with the Moy community to find a fibre broadband solution which will benefit local residents of all generations.

“This will allow many for the first time to effectively work or study at home, do  homework and run businesses which has been extremely difficult to do with the current speeds available.

“Additionally, the ability to retain and attract new people to their community harnessing the full benefits available, is massively important.”

The success of the project is largely due to the hard work and commitment of SCD director James Macpherson. Read the full story on BT's website HERE.

Development Officers report February 2017

Paths Project:
The SCD board is reviewing the cost of the additional requirements demanded by the roads department to meet the conditions of planning. The cost revision has been carried out by McGowan’s. The decision to proceed with the project will be put to the company members at the forthcoming EGM scheduled for Spring 17
Big Lottery Visit:
 A full strategic plan is now being worked upon by the board to meet the deadline for the lottery fund. Big lottery managers have given permission for the Board to publish progress on the application on the website and social media sites to keep the community informed. The application is time consuming and detailed. The Admin team along with the board members are working on this now.

Broadband:
Lead director James Macpherson has carried out a comprehensive dialogue with various broadband bodies in an effort to improve the broadband service in the remoter parts of the Strathdearn area. Various options and schemes have been discussed and are currently under consideration. The two areas currently under discussion and previously reported, are the village of Moy and surrounding area as well as the upper reaches of the Glen. The board are still in analysis of the data and options and this is very much a work in progress. Several meetings and board minutes reflect the on -going nature of this project. The contract to supply Superfast broadband to the Moy residents has been signed and the work is due for completion by December 2017. Moy residents are encouraged to sign up for the Scottish Government subsidy voucher to reduce the overall cost of the project.

Tomatin Village shop:
The Village shop has had an encouraging Christmas sales period and Lee Anne and her staff are now looking towards Valentine’s day and Easter offerings. Chocolate is on display at very competitive prices. It is important to note that a break-in to the village shop was reported just before Christmas which has resulted in an insurance claim of £1600 to White river trading insurers. The board are now actively considering close circuit recording cameras for the premises.  Review of the shop offering is being looked at with the product offering looking to expand.

Development Company Website:
Lead director Steve Cormack in association with Yellow Cherry marketing has now posted a new website. It is well worth a look as several new features have been added. The website now features an on line booking system for the hall and the sports centre. It is now possible to book and pay for Hall and sports centre bookings through the website. Anyone still wishing to pay by cheque or cash, can do so by paying at the village shop. The changes are to reflect the anticipated New Hall build so we are prepared well in advance.

Old Village hall/ Millenium hall:
A trail pit has been dug to ascertain certain measurements at the bridge. The small excavation was carried out early in the New Year. The results of the trail pit have been submitted to roads department at the Highland council planning department. The board are delighted to report that the conditions for planning have now been met and a VERBAL response has been received that the new Hall/ Hub planning application has been successful. The board hope to have the written planning permission from Planning department very shortly. This is excellent news for the community and triggers the completion of the Big Lottery application, referred to earlier in this report.

New Hall Manager:
Patricia Norton is taking over the position of Hall manager as of January 17. Patricia is part of the SCD admin team and her hours are fully funded by the Scottish government grant received last year. SCD board would like to thank Lee Anne Cornwall for her work on the Hall management and for her help and advice to Patricia during the hand over. The grant received has been extended to June 2017 with the hope that SCD will receive the grant for another financial year to March 31st 2018. Discussions on the continued grant support are on -going with DTAS. When concluded, the results will be published. Patricia is in the process of putting the hall records into a digital format for ease of access on line.  

Articles of Association SCD Ltd
An amendment to the company’s articles of association has been approved by the board to incorporate the addition of the Moy sub- committee. The articles include the addition of the Moy wind farm community benefits through ENECO’s wind farm. The amended articles have met with ENECO’s legal acceptance and SCD’s solicitors are checking the legal validity with OSCAR. SCD’s solicitors are happy that the article changes are acceptable. Please note that the legal bill for this work and amendments to the articles and terms and conditions, is being paid for by ENECO.  It is hoped that when the legal paperwork is complete, the board will hold an EGM to pass the amendments after which the monies from the wind farm at Moy will be received.

The next SCD Board meeting is February 23rd 2017 7.30pm at the Millenium hall.

Paths Project:

The SCD board is reviewing the cost of the additional requirements demanded by the roads department to meet the conditions of planning. The cost revision is being carried out by McGowan’s. The figures should be available this week for the board to decide on the viability of completing the project.

New Community Hub - Big Lottery Visit:

Three members of the Big Lottery funding team met the SCD board at the Millennium Hall on the 9th November.  A full two-hour session with the Big Lottery team took place to examine the plans for the new Community Hub and our request for a significant financial contribution from the Lottery towards our capital costs.  

 Following their visit and after careful deliberation the Development Company were invited to proceed to the next stage of the community assets funding. There were 3500 initial applications for the community assets programme for 2016/2017 and the number of applications being considered is now down to fewer than 10 – of which our project in one.

A full strategic plan for the Community Hub is now being worked upon by the board to meet the deadline for submission. The Big Lottery have given permission for SCD to publish progress on the application on the website and social media sites to keep the community involved, with progress.

Meanwhile…

Planning permission for the new Community Hub complex, that was submitted at the end of July, has now cleared all but one final obstacle prior to a recommendation for approval. Planners were on site with our architects last Monday. A trial pit is being dug to ascertain certain measurements at the road bridge to allow a foul waste pipe to cross the bridge and down Shop Brae to the Scottish Water treatment plant. Once these measurements have been calculated it is hoped that the project will receive consent in the very near future.

Broadband:

Lead director James Macpherson has carried out a comprehensive dialogue with various broadband bodies in an effort to improve the broadband service in the remoter parts of the Strathdearn area. Various options and schemes have been discussed and are currently under consideration. The two areas currently under discussion and previously reported, are the village of Moy and surrounding area as well as the upper reaches of the Glen. The board are still in analysis of the data and options and this is very much a work in progress. Several meetings and board minutes reflect the on -going nature of this project and progress has been made The board are grateful for the continuing hard work, and expertise, James has done on broadband. It has been much appreciated.

Tomatin Village shop:

The shop continues to progress and settle into Community ownership. Please note the shop signs have been changed to show the SCD logo and the name change to Tomatin Village Shop. Please watch for Lee-Anne’s bargain buys for Christmas, on the website and social media sites. The village shop has its own Facebook page. Our thanks to everyone who has taken part in the recent survey. This gives the team valuable feedback on your thoughts and opinions on your community shop. New part time jobs have been created at local level. If anyone would like to work, or volunteer in the shop please contact Lee Anne or the SCD Website. The shop welcomes Ruaraidh Macdonald to the sales team.
Christmas is coming and Lee-Anne’s expertise will ensure the shelves will have plenty of attraction for everyone. The first quarters trading has now completed and we have submitted our first VAT return. A net return of £60 to White River Trading! SCD has now obtained Quick-books and it is the boards’ decision to take the wage roll in house saving overhead cost with accountants.

Development Company Website:

Lead director Steve Cormack in association with Yellow Cherry marketing has now posted a new website. It is well worth a look as several new features have been added. The website now features an on line booking system for the hall and the sports centre. It is now possible to book and pay for Hall and sports centre bookings through the website. Anyone still wishing to pay by cheque or cash, can do so by paying at the village shop. The changes are to reflect the anticipated New Hall build so we are prepared well in advance.

Old Village Hall/ Millennium Hall:

The Old Village Hall has been boarded up due to vandalism. Lead director Jimmy Duncan is removing the bar and a new lock is being installed. This is to allow access to the old hall by user groups that require access to the old hall for stored materials. The key for the lock will be with Steve Culeen and anyone requiring access please ask Steve for the key.
The warning notice to the public should now be in place. Danger Keep Out!

New Admin team member:

Thanks to an underspend with the Scottish Government grant SCD received this year we have received permission to add to the admin team. A part time post (10 hrs per week) has been recruited and Mrs Patricia Norton has started with SCD. Tricia is responsible for social media postings, marketing of the village shop, and Facebook blogs for the community. The position is for the next 6 months and we are delighted to welcome Tricia on board.  

Articles of Association SCD Ltd

An amendment to the company’s articles of association has been approved by the board to incorporate the addition of the Moy sub- committee. The articles include the addition of the Moy wind farm community benefits through ENECO’s wind farm. The amended articles have met with ENECO’s legal acceptance and SCD’s solicitors are checking the legal validity with OSCAR. It is hoped that when the legal paperwork is complete, the board will hold an EGM to pass the amendments after which the monies from the wind farm at Moy will be received.

The next SCD Board meeting is JANUARY 19th 2017 7.30pm at the Millenium hall.

Book our Facilities

Use the online booking system to check availablity and request a booking for Tomatin Village Hall or the Sports Facility.

Booking Page

Contacts

site.manager@strathdearn.org

hall.manager@strathdearn.org

errors@strathdearn.org

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