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Achiltibuie Schoolhouse Open Day

March 3, 2017
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February News

February 17, 2017
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Broadband (Buffering….Buffering….moans of frustration!) CCDC had been working with Ullapool Community Trust to lobby for better broadband but we were delighted, after loads of effort was going in and nothing moving on, when an expert team called Highland Community Broadband (a subsidiary of Ullapool Community Trust) formed to finally provide super-fast broadband to Ullapool and surrounding area. Using a series of receivers and transmitters, we expect that the whole of Coigach will have coverage – receiving speeds of up to 50mbps. As anyone knows with busily gaming youngsters in the house or a business to run, this will be a massive improvement on the patchy and often rubbish service we get at the moment. The target fund to do it (£75,000) has been well surpassed through the subscriptions of bandwidth-hungry locals! Work will begin in Ullapool shortly and Coigach in April. It is not too late to sign up! Further info at http://www.hcbroadband.co.uk 

achiltibuie-schoolhouse

CCDC’s very first housing project sees new tenants moving in any day! The level of applications was such that it was proof, if proof were needed, that Coigach needs more affordable housing! Anticipating that Highland Council might simply sell it off to the highest bidder, as it has done to schoolhouses elsewhere, CCDC had successfully bought the old and empty building for the community. Highland Small Communities Housing Trust (HSCHT) took on the project with CCDC and with funding from the Scottish Government’s Rural Housing Fund, the Nationwide Foundation and Highland Council they turned the much-loved but unfit old house into two well-insulated, comfortable flats. HSCHT have taken on the job of tenant selection and managing the leases. A wee open day is planned to let the community have a peek before the happy new tenants move in…. there may well be cake.

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The All-New-but-still-the-same, characterful Acheninver Hostel!CCDC advised and closely assisted Scottish Wildlife Trust (the owners) in their search to secure energetic new tenants. Under the enthusiastic new management of recent-ish locals Ruth Bradley and Iain Simpson (Iain has strong family ties with Coigach) the hostel has had a facelift and been open for business and welcoming guests since early July.  Iain and Ruth had a very busy summer and have extended the season by staying open all year! Big plus all round for all Coigach’s businesses and for visitors desperately seeking overnight or short-stay accommodation. http://www.Achininverhostel.com                                                Look out for great courses being held there too!

summer-isles-steamieOur Community-owned (ex) Smokehouse: CCDC has a policy of allowing new business to jump start with a very low rental here … and so was born Summer Isles Steamie (Rachel Macleod’s laundry business) which opened in February 2016, providing a much welcome service to self-catering and accommodation businesses as well as busy households. Rachel can be reached on 01854622744 or on her Facebook page “Summer Isles Steamie”. Another local new business plans to use part of the building for the summer, so watch this space.  CCDC is still exploring options for the building’s long term future and as a community asset and how it can benefit the whole of the community best.

Now’s the time to bring your business idea to fruition! See Julia or Anne any Wednesday morning at the Hall or give them a bell… always happy to help!

Coigach Assent Living Landscape Partnership: 

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CCDC is a partner in the CALL Partnership Scheme: In July last year, Coigach and Assynt Living Landscape Partnership Scheme heard they’d been successful in the 2nd phase of their bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund. Yipee-i-ay, pardners!! This important five-year scheme boasts 28 great projects in total – with the potential for more. Some are already off the blocks and the selection process for small grants for more projects is in train as we write. We are up 5 new jobs! Scheme and Assistant Scheme Manager, Education Manager, Woodland Manager …and there’s potential for more. Full scoop at coigach-assynt.org. As partners we’re involved in creating footpaths and taking forward a musical heritage project, all for Coigach.

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Old Dornie Harbour improvements: Bye (Brexit) bye to European funding soon and no confidence about what might replace it, so ambitious plans to improve facilities at Old Dornie have had to be scaled back.  However, CCDC has secured funding from HIE to help kick-start the project, which is being taken forward by the Pier Users Group under the chairmanship of Richard Williams.

Ben More Hydro: It’s up and running close to the Achavraie burn and making loads of lovely clean electricity already having been officially commissioned on the 19th December last year. It looked at one point in mid-2016 that it was all water under the bridge and the end of the road for BMH, but by transferring the project to energy company Locogen who agreed to take on the project – and all the risk and cost- it has been able to continue successfully after all, in no small part due to huge efforts by our volunteer directors.   The turbine has already achieved its full output of 500kW on several occasions.  The community will benefit, although it doesn’t own the project, by receiving a stonking 12.5% of BMH’s profits via CCDC, and another 12.5% which will be invested into local Coigach Assynt Living Landscape projects. Win, win, we would say!

wind-turbine-base

Coigach Wind Power: The wind it doth blow, and we shall have….a revenue stream for community benefit for many, many years to come! Our single community wind turbine will be kissing the wind very soon: the track to the site is complete (for use by walkers, crofters, anyone after the turbine is up) the crane pad is finished and the underground cable is buried ready for plugging in. The foundations and base build are well underway in readiness for the turbine crossing the briny from Denmark (where it was built) to its new home in Achavraie. Prize for the best name suggested but NOT Windy MacWindface, please! We look forward to selling Coigach-generated wind power by late March: good for our community, good for the planet!

CCDC is converting to a Charity: As noted above the revenue from our renewable projects is moving ever closer.  As a result, we have undertaken a review of our structure to ensure that every penny earned by the projects finds its way back into the community.  The review showed that converting CCDC to a charity was the most efficient way to deliver that objective, and so we recently submitted an application to OSCR (Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator) to convert to a Charity. In the proposed Articles, we have clarified that when we are able to give grants, that decision making will be made by a group separate from the Directors of the company, thus ensuring that the giving of grants is separated from the running of the company.

PDF Version of this newsletter  February 2017 CCDC Newsletter

 

info@coigachcommunity.org.uk

@coigachcdc              Coigach Community Development Company

Reg. Office: Coigach Community Hall, Achiltibuie IV26 2YG

LDO’s Anne Campbell/Julia Campbell  01854 622 274/379

Nollaig Chridheil

December 19, 2016
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Merry Christmas, Joyeux Noël, Feliz Navidad, Buon Natale, Fröhliche Weihnachten, Nadolig Llawen, Wesolych Świat, Nollag Shona, Bronya Merry, Happy Holidays, Gelukkig Kerstfeest, Meli Keuliseumaseu, Arahaba tarry ny Noely, Merikirisumasu, Niro Kikuyu Kibuya, Christmas yabwino, Mboni Chrismen.

 

With best wishes for a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous  New Year from all at CCDC and Coigach Wind Power Ltd:

Iain Muir, Iain Scott, Ann Macleod, Phil Shaughnessy, Steve Husband, Alison Sinclair, Anne Campbell and Julia Campbell

Thanks to our Fair-trade chocolate advent calendar for the translations (today’s was Gaelic).

Who ate all the chocolate?

Who ate all the chocolate?

Another Day, Another Digger

December 19, 2016

Eleven, twelve, dig and delve..

 

 

Work starts on the track to our community turbine site (with the Ben Mor Hydro pipeline in the background). Renewable energy – and an income for the community is on its way!

It’s been all go in the East End of Coigach these last few months with several construction projects in action. RJ Mcleod have been busy on the Ben Mor Hydro site, Curries are now at work on the turbine site, and Kinellan Building and their sub-contractors have been all-out at the Schoolhouse. Scottish Water have had a new road put in below the Piping Cafe for the new water treatment works and a new house is going up in Badenscallie.

It’s all great entertainment for some of the younger members of the community who are delighted by the parade of lorries, diggers, vans and other mysterious vehicles – and good for the local cafe and shop where sales of bacon rolls and snacks have received a welcome boost.

Looking for Construction Work Experience?

August 8, 2016
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Flensburg Students (2).jpgWork Experience Opportunity –  Conversion of Achiltibuie Schoolhouse

The Highlands Small Communities Housing Trust who are a trusted and respected organisation are managing the above project and  would like to offer work experience to a young person in the local area.  This is a real chance for a young person to achieve a work based learning experience which could enhance their future prospects.

Are you aged between 16 and 24?  Do you have a specific  interest in construction or joinery?  Would you like to gain some meaningful  work experience and earn a training allowance along the way for approximately 20 weeks ?  If you have answered YES to all of these questions then this opportunity could be for you.  If you would like to find out more then please contact Julia Campbell your local Development Officer on 01854 622379 or email info@coigachcommunity.org.uk  or download the Application Form – Work Exp Placement 2016 and return it to:

Julia Campbell, LDO CCDC, Coigach Community Hall, Achiltibuie IV26 2YL (or drop in to my house) or email it to info@coigachcommunity.org.uk by Friday 19th August.

Green Light for Achiltibuie Schoolhouse

July 19, 2016
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Good news for Coigach as all the funding is now in place for the renovation work needed. Construction will start soon and it looks as if we should have the flats completed by the end of year – or early next. The tenancies will be advertised later in the year and managed by Highland Small Communities Housing Trust.
Press Release:

 

(end of press release)

The Ground Force!

Community volunteers who cleared the overgrown garden.

 

Achiltibuie Schoolhouse Jungle

Before: Chris and Ken’s quest for drains and tobies lost in the jungle.

ruth clears the jungle

After: Undergrowth chopped back by Ruth – and although we found a fine selection of footballs and sports paraphernalia jettisoned from the playground next door, it seems the drains were elsewhere..

People at work

May 30, 2016
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Men at work

Digging and Delving

If you’re in the eastern end of Coigach you will see that RJ Mcleod have started  work on the construction of Ben Mor Hydro (BMH) in and around the Acheninver Burn.  Back in the autumn it looked like it was the end of the line for BMH as a community project as with limited time  to complete the project and the associated financial risks, it was unlikely it could be constructed and operational in time to take advantage of the current FITs (Feed In Tarrifs). (BMH was then a joint (50/50) venture between Coigach Community Development Company and landowner Scottish Wildlife Trust.) However, salvation arrived in the shape of Locogen, a specialist renewables company, who had been managing the project. Locogen have agreed to take on the project and all the related risk in its entirety and BMH has now been transferred to them. The really good news is that Coigach will still benefit as 25% of the profits will come to the community, but with none of the risk or work previously involved.

During the construction period there may also be opportunities for people in Coigach to benefit from the project as the contractors may require casual labour, trades, cleaners and accommodation providers. If you are interested in registering your details or offering your skills and services please contact Craig Donn at RJ Macleod tel 07765402947 or email Craig  cdonn@rjmcleod.co.uk

 

Eating and Drinking

Another new enterprise in Coigach is Wez Macleod’s snack van “Top Bun”. Currently situated at the County Shed, Badentarbet, Wez is open early in the morning for hot food and drinks – and is proving a popular spot for the BMH work force and local fisherman who like an early breakfast.

 

Top Bun

 

And congratulations to Am Fuaran Bar in Altandhu who are celebrating 40 years of business – serving delicious bar meals to visitors and locals alike. This popular watering hold (which translates as “the well”) was started by Shona and Andy Wilson and is now in the capable hands of their daughter Catriona and her husband David. The couple have since added Port A Bhaigh Campsite  – with hook-ups for campers and caravans and space for camping (and it’s just across the road from the pub!).

The Piping School Cafe is open daily next to Coigach Community Hall with a splendid array of homemade cakes, lunches and good things to eat. And there’s a water bowl for your dog! Evening meals too.

Fancy a night out on the Isle of Tanera? Coigach Community Rowing are holding a fund-raising dinner hosted by Lizzie and Rich Williams.  You can row yourself over to work up an appetite – or if you’re not that energetic there is a ferry. Places are limited so booking is essential  so please contact Lizzie@summer-isles.com  01854 622 797  or 07824 828 858  Further details on Facebook:  Tanera Nights