CCDC is delighted to report that Acheninver Youth Hostel looks like having a brighter future. Scottish Wildlife Trust, who own the building and the Ben Mor Estate on which it sits, are inviting applications to lease the hostel. This offers someone with energy and enthusiasm an exciting opportunity to build a business and a life for themselves in an amazing place in the North West Highlands.
Acheninver Youth Hostel is on the Coigach Peninsula, and forms part of the community known sometimes as Achiltibuie (though strictly speaking, this only refers to the area from the church to the school). Roughly, Coigach covers the coastal area from Reiff to Culnacraig – (about 10 miles) with a population of approximately 250.
We are looking for someone with good ideas and practical skills who can: maintain and develop the hostel in some way to benefit the local community and economy; keep Coigach on the map as a great place for visitors and create a rewarding future for themselves as part of that community.
Coigach has spectacular scenery with mountains, moorland and a rugged coastline interspersed with sandy beaches overlooking the Summer Isles. The area is understandably popular with walkers, climbers, kayakers and anyone who enjoys the great outdoors. There is a small primary school, a hotel, two pubs, a couple of cafes, a craft shop and a comfortable community village hall which is a great asset. Coigach is part of a National Scenic Area and is also within the North West Highlands Geopark.
“But what do you do in the winter?” is a frequently asked question. The answer is we just get on with it! People work all year, go to school, and those that are involved in the (largely seasonal) tourism business sometimes remark that it’s good to have a bit of time to catch up! Though small, we are a very sociable community – regular community events at the village hall are well attended, well fed and fun. There are opportunities for people with shared interests to get together: skiff-rowing, music, singing, dancing, fishing, walking, photography, circuit-training, crafts – there is very little opportunity to get bored and no excuse to avoid exercise!
However, the area is not without its challenges. Described as “fragile” the community has suffered as result of de-population and a lack of opportunities for (particularly) younger people. Many of our young people have embraced education and a sense of adventure and gone off to find out for themselves what the wider world has to offer. This is good and Coigach has a broad and far-flung diaspora. Unfortunately it has become increasingly difficult for people to return to or come to live in Coigach. This is partly due to a lack of available, affordable housing and employment. CCDC (Coigach Community Development Company) was set up in 2010 to tackle some of these challenges and to help create a sustainable future for the community. We currently have planning permission for a wholly community-owned wind turbine which will generate an income to invest in local projects. We have two part-time employees funded by HIE (Highlands and Islands Enterprise) and as well as working on our development plan, we support and promote any projects which we feel will benefit the community. Hence our involvement here.
So come on if you think this is for you – details of the application process are in the Acheninver Hostel Prospectus documents below and the closing date is 21st February so don’t hang about!
The latest from CCDC in one handy place: CCDC Newsletter November 2015
And if you like the look of Coigach, or know it already come and visit:
Saturday 5th December:
Achiltibuie Winter Market
(further info on Facebook –Achiltibuie Winter Market)
Local crafts, food, wood fuels, bric-a-brac and more.
Soup and sandwiches on sale in aid of Coigach Community Hall.
** Calum Stiven from Community Broadband Scotland is coming along for an informal chat – a chance to find out what options might be available for Coigach ***
Link to Community Broadband Scotland
Tuesday 29th December:
Coigach Christmas Ceilidh
Music, merriment and dancing in Coigach Community Hall All welcome – tickets at the door.
Achiltibuie Tourist Association has a variety of accommodation on offer if you fancy a winter break – or are already making plans for next year.
If you heard us on BBC Scotland Out of Doors (broadcast Saturday 7th November, and available on iPlayer until early December) you will know that the hostel is now closed and the lease between owners Scottish Wildlife Trust (SWT) and the Scottish Youth Hostel Association has now come to an end.
You’ll see from our previous post that the hostel’s future was in question and we invited interest from people who would interested in taking on the lease (if that was an option), and there was a very positive response. We were able to tell the owners that there were, (as we suspected) willing folk out there who were keen to take on the lease, run the hostel or at least find out more about it.
We have since been told by SWT, that after much deliberation, they have decided they to sell the hostel in early 2016. This would come with burdens that would take into consideration (and benefit) the hostel’s heritage, and the local community – and there has been some interest in this too.
More recently we understand that has not been finalised so if you are interested in the hostel – either to lease or buy please get in touch and we’ll forward your enquiry on to SWT. Alternatively, you can get in touch directly:
All members are invited to attend
The AGM of Coigach Community Development Company will be held
7pm on Tuesday 24th November
at Coigach Community Hall.
- Welcome and apologies
- Chair’s Report
- Approval of the 2015 CCDC Accounts
- Fixing of annual subscriptions
- Election of Directors
Membership and subscription renewal
- Only members who have paid their annual subscription may vote at the AGM.
- You may renew your annual membership subscription (£5) any time prior to the meeting by handing it to LDOs Linda Macleod or Julia Campbell, by BACS, or by posting a cheque to our Registered Office, Coigach Community Hall.
- If you are already a member, you do not need to complete a membership form, if you wish to become a member please fill in a Membership Form 2015 and return it along with £5 to Linda or Julia, pay by BACS or post/leave at Coigach Community Hall.
- Linda and Julia will also be available from 6.30pm on the evening of the AGM to collect subscription fees at the hall.
If you wish to appoint a proxy you must complete a CCDC AGM Form of Proxy and return to our Registered Office at the hall no less that 48 hours before the meeting.
Nomination of Director
If you would like to put yourself or someone else forward as a director please complete CCDC Director Nomination Form 2015 which should be returned to our Registered Office at the hall no less than 7 days prior to the AGM.
How to Pay
Payment may be made in cash, by cheque made out to Coigach Community Development Company or by BACS to Coigach Community Development Company sort code 09-07-21, account number 82432289 (add your name as credit info).
Tea and chat!
The AGM will be followed by an informal session with refreshments so you can chat to the directors and discuss projects informally.
Coigach Community Development Company
Registered Office: Coigach Community Hall, Achiltibuie, Ullapool IV26 2YL
firstname.lastname@example.org tel 01854 622 744 (answering service)
Local Development Officers:
Linda Macleod 01854 622 372
Julia Campbell 01854 622 379
The house has been vacant for a few years now and has suffered from lack of maintenance but it is basically sound. And placed as it is – next to the school and the community hall it will make a big difference to that little corner if the schoolhouse is restored to former glory.
The next step is to to lease the house to Highland Small Communities Housing Trust (HSCHT) who will take over the refurbishment and convert the house into two smart, modern and comfortable flats: a two-bedroom upstairs, and a one-bedroom downstairs. HSCHT, who has all the relevant experience and expertise, will manage the tenancies and the property and we hope to see two new households in Coigach within the year.
Funding has been secured from the Nationwide Shelter Empty Homes Initiative which will go some way towards the refurbishment but not all, so we are pursuing other avenues, and Scottish Land Fund are helping with the legal costs. Although the purchase price was only £1, there are of course many other expenses! Read more…
Broadband for the Future aims to provide improved broadband to areas which will not be served by the new BT fibre roll-out in 2016 (95% of the country will benefit from this, Coigach is in the unlucky 5% who won’t). The Scottish Government is committed to providing high speed broadband to the entire country by 2020. Ullapool and Lochinver will get upgraded broadband in 2016 through the BT roll-out, however there are currently no plans to upgrade Coigach and other outlying areas.
Ullapool Community Trust and Coigach Community Development Company are currently working with Community Broadband Scotland (CBS) to identify and install an alternative solution to these areas.
We have secured funding for stage 1 which requires us to identify the need for faster broadband in our areas to source potential project partners and funders. In order to access the current situation with broadband provisions can please ask that you complete and return the attached questionnaire.
And although primarily aimed at residents, it would be very interesting to hear the views of potential residents or visitors to the area. Does broadband service affect your decision come here on holiday, set up business or live in Coigach? Would you come more often if high speed broadband was available? Do you know any young people who will not go anywhere offline?
For more information please see the full page: Broadband for the Future
Click here for the questionnaire
Community Broadband Questionnaire
Completed questionnaires can be emailed/posted/handed in to
Lee Heaney, Ullapool Community Trust email@example.com
Village Hall, Ullapool IV26 2XE
Julia Campbell, CCDC firstname.lastname@example.org
Coigach Community Hall, Achiltibuie IV26 2YG
Computer Weekly’s 2013 article – two year’s old but worth a read – and we like the accompanying cartoon: