Spring has most definitely Sprung!  A whole lot has happened since my last update – we have had some disappointments, some exciting developments, North Bute had it’s first Forest School workshop and our planned Spring Event is a lovely memory.

Success came in the form of an award from Climate Challenge Fund – this will be used to progress our Hydro Electric Scheme.  A detailed feasibility study is required including a number of environmental studies.  The path to achieving a sustainable income stream for our community and the projects we hope to progress has many challenges and, quite rightly, a great deal of scrutiny from bodies such as SEPA, SNH, and Argyll & Bute Council.  As we move forward your support will be crucial for this important project that will help sustain the management of the forest and development of other community projects.

The disappointments – three of our funding applications were turned down.  This doesn’t mean we are sitting with our heads in our hands on the contrary – we just need to get inventive!

Two of the applications were needed to take forward our Forest Events programme.  Our summer event – The Big Green Picnic,  a community event for families – an opportunity for us to celebrate our ownership of the forest, share a jelly piece and have some fun.  Funding was needed to prepare the site, put on some great entertainment, and provide transport.  In recent weeks, we have witnessed what this community can achieve when inspired to action.  So how do we come together as a community to make our party happen?  I invite you to come forward with ideas and support.

The third application was not a total rejection but an invitation to work a bit harder on the proposal – I always welcome constructive feedback and with our directors will ensure the revised application takes full account of the feedback received.

I was delighted to attend the inaugural general meeting of Community Land Scotland, on the Isle of Harris.  We have achieved a great deal in a short space of time and perhaps by being so busy by inward focus we haven’t realised what a historic step has been taken.  A light bulb was seen to appear above my head, as I realised that our community is part of something very big and very special.   I am often struck by the wealth of knowledge and expertise in our community and the commitment of individuals to make a difference in their own and others lives.  And also wonder how much we might be missing amongst those who have yet to get involved?

In building contacts with other inspiring and passionate people we will learn and achieve much more and for those who perhaps think owning this wonderful forest isn’t about them – I would like to leave you with a quote from someone I met at that conference.

“Community ownership, …, is a quality of the owner, not the land, and reflects characteristics of the landowner”.  Andy Wightman

For more information on Community Land Scotland click here

Andy’s website can be accessed here