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26th February 2020: Minutes from the Board Meeting
The minutes from the 16th January board meeting are now available on the ‘Board Meetings’ page.
11th February 2020: Asset Transfer Key Milestones – Community Representation
We have been making a request under part 5 of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015, to take on the Resource Centre in Kershader under Community Asset Transfer. The application has been checked by the Comhairle and is now available in full on their website here https://www.cne-siar.gov.uk/your-council/community-asset-transfer/requests-received/
This stage of ‘Community Representation’ advertises our intentions as part of a formal Comhairle process and invites anybody with an interest to say what they think. A notice has been displayed at the building and people have 4 weeks to respond – until the 9th March 2020.
Completion of this stage tells us that no other bodies have applied for ownership of the building and the Comhairle is prohibited by section 84(2) of the Act from selling, leasing or otherwise disposing of the asset other than to The Pairc Trust until our request is concluded. This will take no more than 6 months.
We’re delighted to have taken another step further towards ownership of this key building, to ensure its use is determined by the people who live in Pairc, now and in the future.
5th February 2020: Pairc Tourism Strategy
The Pairc Tourism Group met recently to sign off the Pairc Tourism Strategy. Intended to be an easy to read one-page document (like Visit Outer Hebrides’ TH2020) it identifies what the Key Assets of Pairc are and why Tourists choose to visit our unique area. The document has been made available on the Pairc Trust website and will be shared by all the stakeholders involved in its creation.
The group has been meeting to discuss the content of this strategy for the last 18 months and is comprised of representatives from;
- The Pairc Trust
- The Pairc Historical Society
- The Co-Chomunn who run the Ravenspoint centre (a local café, hostel, shop, museum & archive and 24 hour fuel pump)
- The Western Isles Tour Guide Association
- Local accommodation providers.
Co-ordinated by the Pairc Trust, but owned by all groups in the area it is has proved to be a good experience of collaborative working where many organisations with different aims, share the same vision.
31st January 2020: Resource Centre Survey Results
Feeling confident after our successful Gravir Housing project, the Trust is next looking at purchasing the Resource Centre building in Kershader from the Comhairle.
It has an excellent location next to Ravenspoint’s shop, hostel, museum, café and petrol pump and currently houses our office, Pairc playgroup and Pairc gym.
We’d like to make sure this key building is put into the communities hands long term and have consulted with everyone to demonstrate support for the idea.
We had a 175% increase in responses to a paper and online survey carried out during Nov/Dec, a big increase in participation since a similar survey carried out in 2016.
|1. Do you agree with the Pairc Trust’s proposal to purchase the Resource Centre to keep control of the building for our community’s use?||41||2|
|2. The Pairc Gym is also located in the building. Do you use the gym now or are you likely to in the future?||24||20|
|3. The building has excellent broadband speeds. Would you be interested in using any of the rooms to access the internet? (eg For playing music/video/audio-books in the gym, remote working, online appointments, video streaming, or any other suitable activity.)||26||18|
|4. It is becoming more and more important to consider the energy efficiency of a building, for financial and environmental reasons. If the purchase goes ahead the Trust could carry out an energy audit to find the best way forward for making the building energy efficient, and less costly to run? Do you agree with this plan?||42||2|
|5. If the purchase goes ahead it would be the trust’s intention to share all the annual bills between the users – Pairc Playgroup, Pairc Trust and Pairc Community Council – with the meeting room available free for Pairc community groups. Do you agree with this?||42||2|
|Would you be interested in getting involved in the ongoing discussions about the building, or do you have any suggestions that may encourage additional use of the building?||23||22|
Some of the comments made are as follows:
Do you have any suggestions that may encourage additional use of the building?
“I suggest turning the unused room adjacent to the meeting room behind the gym into a small library.”
“Dance or exercise classes, opportunities to learn new skills e.g. crafts. Get togethers to encourage new friendships.”
“It would be good to have combined exercise groups to encourage the community to use it more and have yoga for example… Also this space could be used as a dance class area for all ages. The gym would benefit from expansion and it would certainly encourage more people if there was floor space to work in.”
“Rent out another space to a local business.”
“More floor space for the gym that could encourage more group use. Also there are lots of plug sockets which could lend themselves to further educational projects within the community. Skill sharing, computer basic knowledge or craft classes, why aren’t we making Christmas wreaths etc as a community. Sharing sewing skills. Passing on cake decorating skills.…Find out what our community can offer help with and get people more involved and working together.”
“I’m happy with the building being used as it is.”
“Whilst the gym is not a facility I make us of, I think its great!”
“It would be a good central hub for the whole community”
No idea is ever agreed by everyone however, and we would like to properly acknowledge those comments made against the idea:
“I would have ticked ‘not sure’ if that was an option. I believe the Community Council has core funding each year to maintain it’s function. Presumably this wouldn’t be available for paying rent. If the annual ward funding, which in recent years has been distributed to local groups, had to be used for rent this would have a negative impact on these groups! Previously ward funding was used to support local projects: groups were encouraged to use it to unlock other funding, therefore bringing more into the community. This wouldn’t be possible if it was used for rent.”
“I believe until the Comhairle’s intentions for community devolvement is clear we should be very cautious… I think the whole area of Comhairle commitment to Pairc needs to be very carefully considered because we are probably weaker now as a community than we ever have been so that even the viability of the school must be a concern for us. With no school in this community it will be even harder to attract young families.”
“Unsure, is Comm Council useage lower than the other 2 parties”
“The only reason the Trust want to buy the building is because they don’t want to have to pay the council rates, they never asked permission to move into the building in the first place why do they think they control it.”
“What community council? Sharing costs with the playgroup? How tight from the community trust!!”
There are obviously lots of details involved in taking on the building, and no matter how people are communicating their thoughts, we’re very glad that the wider community is engaging with our work. Hopefully our future consultations will have as good a response rate as this, or better.
29th January 2020: Progressing Income Grant
We are very grateful that our Estate Office Manager role will be partly funded by Highlands and Islands Enterprise in the coming year. Community Ownership brings with it responsibilities and liabilities that take time and money to address. We have a small income from leases on the estate and have been self-funded for the last year, but this support will provide a welcome bridge while we continue to work towards a sustained income for the Trust.
20th January 2020: Records Officer
We started the new year with a new face in the office. After receiving a surprising 25 applications for our post of Records Officer, we appointed Donald Macleod to back-up our old crofting files. A resident in Balallan, he has a keen interest in music and likes to keep himself healthy and active. This often involves helping his Dad on the croft so scanning all the historical letters from the Crofting Commission will certainly give him some background to that!
After the terrible fire in the Galson estate offices, we were reminded of what a treasure-trove of information about the estate we now hold on behalf of the community. We’re really grateful that the Muaitheabhal Windfarm trust gave us 70% of the costs and the Western Isles Development Trust contributed most of the remainder through their small grants fund. We wouldn’t have been able to create this role if it hadn’t been for their support.
The nature of the work means we have been able to keep the hours flexible and the number of applicants demonstrates just how much interest there is from people to work flexibly nowadays, in our island’s modern ‘gig-economy’.
16th January 2020: Minutes from the Board Meeting
The minutes from the 13th November board meeting are now available on the ‘Board Meetings’ page. There was no meeting in December.
6th January 2020: Volunteering Award for Pairc’s Walk Leader
As Pairc’s programme of twice weekly Health Walks enters its 3rd year, we have seen some good coverage in the local newspaper, the Stornoway Gazette.
Firstly our regular walk leader, Dave Phillips, scooped an award for volunteering his time and effort in leading the walks. As well as being involved in the ‘Walk On Hebrides’ initiative, he also teaches ballroom and line dancing at some of the other trusts around the island. As Dave himself says;
‘Its very tempting to sit in the chair reading or watching tv, but a good walk with good company is far better for your mental, social and physical health.’
We’re very grateful to Dave for volunteering his time to help keep the community of Pairc active.
Secondly we are pleased that we can now offer Strength and Balance exercises as part of our Healthwalks.
A simple set of exercises has been put together by Paths For All, a charity working towards ‘a healthier, happier Scotland’ and detailed training is offered to all their Health Walk leaders. It explains why walking plus strength and balance provide the key to active older age. Walk Leaders learn how to do simple Strength and Balance exercises which help to promote independence and reduce the risk of falls.
More details can be found here https://www.pathsforall.org.uk/strength-and-balance
17th December 2019: Pumped Storage Hydro feasibility study
We are delighted to make the results from our feasibility study available in full on our website. Funded by Local Energy Scotland’s CARES Innovation Fund, it has looked at whether the Pairc estate, on the east coast of Lewis, is suitable for a Pumped Storage Hydro Scheme.
A site to the south of the estate has been identified as having the right landscape to provide the ‘drop’ required for Pumped Storage energy generation. All PSH schemes have similar operating principals – they require a head-pond and a tail-pond. Water is pumped up to and stored in the head-pond and on release, the water will travel to the tail-pond, through a turbine and generate electricity.
Loch Sgibacleit on the Pairc estate has been identified as a suitable tail-pond and the hills to the north west as a site for the head-pond.
The feasibility study has costed construction and revenue, measured generation capacity and considered environmental impacts of a number of different scenarios. Recommendations have then been made on preferred scheme designs and suggestions for next steps.
The full report is available from our Documents page here:
16th December 2019: Annual Accounts to March 2019
The latest set of accounts for the organisation is now available to view via the Companies House website here:
6th December 2019: Annual General Meeting
We were very pleased to see regular supporters and some new faces at our #AGM last night.
The presentation on a Pairc Pumped Storage Hydro scheme sparked questions from the audience and we’re very grateful Aecom were there to explain the complicated engineering in everyday language! We’ll be making the full report available online in due course.
Displays showing our achievements through the year will be in the Resource Centre board room for anyone who wasn’t able to make it on the night and any questions can, as always, be asked in the office.
#CommunityLed #Consultation #IslandCommunities
3rd December 2019: Resource Centre Refresh Survey
We’ve been talking with the community and at board meetings since 2016 about our aim to purchase the Resource Centre. But as we’ve been asked to Refresh our community consultation, we’ve prepared a questionnaire which will only take a few minutes to complete.
It’s important that we have measurable data showing support for our projects, so please take a moment to complete our survey by Friday Dec 20th. We’ll be handing them out at our AGM next Thursday and have made it available online with a link here.
27th November: Minutes from our last AGM
In preparation for our AGM, being held on Thursday 5th December at 7.30pm in Gravir school, we are making the minutes from our last AGM available to see here.
As part of the agenda, we ask any members who were present at the 2018 AGM to make sure we have recorded the proceedings accurately. We then ask for a Proposer and a Seconder. This process is much easier if everyone can see the minutes in advance, but they will also be available on the night.
Below are the Minutes and the Chairs report from the 2018 AGM.
18th November: Temporary Job Opportunity
We are delighted to be able to advertise an admin position working in our office at Kershader. Mainly funded by the Muaitheabhal Community Wind Farm Trust and Western Isles Development Trust, it will allow us to do an important piece of work that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise. Thanks to the support from our funders we are able to offer the position at the Real Living Wage rate of £9.30 per hour. Please contact the office for more details.
14th November 2019: Minutes from the Board Meeting
The minutes from the 9th October board meeting are now available on the ‘Board Meetings’ page
11th November 2019: Notice of AGM
We have now written to all our members to let them know about our forthcoming Annual General Meeting.
It will be held on Thursday 5th December at 7.30pm in Gravir school and anyone is welcome to attend, whether you are a member or not.
This year we will have a presentation following the AGM from AECOM, the consultants who have worked on a Feasibility Study on whether Pairc would be suitable for a Pumped Storage Hydro Scheme. We encourage everyone to attend to hear the findings from their report.
23rd October 2019: Minutes from the Board Meeting
The minutes from the 4th September board meeting are now available on the ‘Board Meetings’ page
6th September 2019: Resource Centre
Feeling Confident after the success of our Gravir Housing project, we are next looking at buying the Resource Centre in Kershader. We want to retain a much used building for community use and ensure stability for Pairc Playgroup and Pairc Trust.
There are a number of other groups and individuals who also use the building on a regular basis, for fundraising events, remote working, electoral voting or to use the Pairc Community Gym.
Please get in touch if you have comments or questions about this idea or would like to be involved. #communityownership #communityled #placebased
5th September 2019: Minutes from the Board Meeting
The minutes from the 10th July board meeting are now available on the ‘Board Meetings’ page
15th August: #communitylandweek19
A great day was had by all for Community Land Week, when the new tenants were welcomed to our community owned houses in Gravir.
It was good to see so many faces in the room who have been involved in the project in different ways, our Housing director Joe Wilson did a good job thanking them all for their contributions to a successful project.
There was also a good mix of people from the Pairc area and beyond, including Linsay Chalmers from Community Land Scotland. Community Land Week is in its 2nd year and the number of participants has doubled since its pilot year.
The Taigh Celidh, which forms part of the Carn Aonghais Housing scheme, was the perfect venue – a reminder that Hebridean values have always had community at heart.
A display of photographs showed the full renovation process from start to finish, which attracted a lot of interest from those with construction knowledge and those with none.
The new tenants attended and were presented with gifts to welcome them to their new homes. One has already moved in and the others will be picking up their keys in the next week.
The event marks the end of Pairc Trust’s first visible project. The Trust has undertaken a number of behind the scenes feasibility studies and development work since taking ownership of the estate in 2015, so it is good to now also have something tangible in evidence. We hope it is the first of many successful projects.
8th August: Looking Forward to Community Land Week
From 10th to 18th August across the length and breadth of Scotland, community groups will be celebrating the steps they took to take ownership of land and assets in their areas and the benefits which have derived for the people in their local communities as a result in “Community Land Week”. 45 projects will be celebrating this year, more than three times as many as in 2018. Community Land Week is organised by Community Land Scotland in partnership with Scottish Government.
The Pairc Trust are holding a Housewarming event to celebrate the completion of their Community Housing Project, from 12.30 at Carn Aonghais, Gravir.
A number of steps were taken to reach this point and a wide variety of organisations have helped to turn Pairc Trust’s idea into a reality. First a Housing Needs Analysis was carried out in 2016, funded by the Muaitheabhal Community Windfarm trust, to identify that there was a lack of rented accommodation in Pairc and that demand existed. The Trust then purchased an empty disused building from the Comhairle, with help from the Scottish Land Fund and Highlands & Islands Enterprise and brought it back to life as 2 warm and energy efficient new homes, to rent at an affordable rate. The renovations work was funded by the Rural Housing Island’s Fund, Outer Hebrides LEADER and the Western Isles Development Trust, and carried out by local firm O’Mac Construction. Tighean Innse Gall have supported the Pairc Trust as project managers and will now act as the letting agent.
This project is the first visible acknowledgement of the power of community ownership to improve the lives of the estate’s residents. It also demonstrates the range of support that is available to communities to become empowered to make positive changes to their environment.
Linsay Chalmers, Development Manager for Community Land Scotland says: “When communities purchase the land on which their people live and work, they have the tools to reinvigorate their areas and improve the prospects of future generations.”
“This week of celebration is justly deserved. A huge number of people across diverse areas of Scotland have put in enormous effort to get to this point. Community land acquisition is the start of a long journey, often to reverse many years of decline. The acquisition quickly stimulates confidence which empowers communities to develop economic and social opportunities, such as creating jobs and affordable housing or protecting vital community assets”.
The Pairc Trust would like to see more new housing being created in its area. The 2 properties at Gravir attracted interest from tenants even before renovation work started and the Trust believes any new houses would soon be filled if they were built. There are a number of ways that Housing Needs can be met – whether by providing Rented, Rent to Buy or Shared Equity properties – and communities are in an ideal position to tailor provision to their own needs.
Community Land Scotland is the membership network for community landowners. The current membership owns and manages around 560,000 acres between them. Community Land Scotland represents these existing and aspiring community landowners to reflect their views in promoting changes to legislation to empower communities.
Further information about Community Land Scotland can be found at: www.communitylandscotland.org.uk
16th July 2019: Staff Holidays
Please note that the Estate Office Manager is now on holiday until the 1st August, so if you need to get in touch with the Trust office before then, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for some temporary contact details. If you’d like to pay your croft rents during this time the Ravenspoint centre have kindly agreed to take them for us.
10th July 2019: Calbost Classic 7 Miler & Fun Run
Pairc Trust is once again pleased to provide the backdrop for the Calbost Harriers Run, this year taking place on Saturday 24th August. The Harriers provide the following local history to entice runners to sign up…
“This year’s 7 mile race runs from Calbost to Ravenspoint, Kershader.
After signing up at Ravenspoint, free transport will take you to the start line.
The starting line is at the old Calbost Mission house, a place well frequented by the Harriers in their youth.
The Mission house is currently being renovated by the Glasgow Based Turner Prize nominated artist Lucy Skaar. Above the Mission House is the hill where sits at the top the real “stone of destiny”. Give it a climb if you like. If you touch the stone you are apparently a prince or princess for the day.
As any frequent visitor to Calbost will know, the hill, on a wet day, has a head slide better that any American resort can offer.
Before the start, enjoy the stunning surrounding views. Overlooking Calbost Bay, Camus Chalboist, you can view the Harrier’s Head Quarters with its unmistakeable red roof standing proudly next to Loch Dubh and adjacent to some of the best fishing grounds in South Lochs,
As the race continues north and you climb out of Calbost, on your right is 8 Calbost, home of Angus “Ease” Macleod MBE, the South Lochs historian whose writings are archived in Ravenspoint.
The race then passes 2 Calbost, the derelict remains of the home of Bhoyda, the last Calbost Harris Tweed weaver. He passed away in the early 70s and was the last Calbost born inhabitant to leave the village.
Continuing the run, thankfully now on the flat, to your left is Loch a Ghrugaich, one of the deepest local lochs.
On the right we will pass the “half-way” houses. These are the home of families that have returned to the village. The “half-way” term does not relate to the race but simply to the distance to our next village.
Beyond the “half-way” houses you see Loch na Bualie Dubhe, the loch that belongs to the seagulls and most recently a fishing ground for sea eagles.
Heading out of Calbost beware of the cattle grid and a couple of blind hills!
We are now heading to Marvig which is one of the most stunning villages in Lochs and often referred to as the Capital of South Lochs (well…by a number of locals!). Unfortunately, we bypass this village, turning left at the crossroads, but take time to view the village bay. It is spectacular on a clear day. If you get the chance, have a look and give a like to Marvig’s facebook page “Capital of Lochs”.
As we leave Marvig we pass 13 Marvig, the croft belonging to Murdani Kennedy, our famous Gold Medal Mod singer and composer. Murdani’s compositions includes Oran na Beart, a song often sung by the South Lochs’ born Calum Kennedy. As we leave Marvig, we pass the MacLennan Brothers crofts. They were the last of the herring fishermen and renowned stalwarts of South Lochs.
To the right as we leave Marvig, we pass Loch Catiosbhal.
The run continues to weave past the peat bogs of Marvig and as we turn left at the Cromore crossroads we are now running on the road which takes us to the crossroads at Eishall.
Eishell is the crossroads with a pre-cast bus stop, where a bus has been known to stop at, at least once a week or was that a day! This is were the water stop will be. Grab you bottle and keep on running or if you are needing a rest or a pick-me up have a wee chat with the marshal.
As we turn right at Eishall we ignore the sign for the villages of Gravir, Lemreway and Orinsay and join the B8060 heading back towards Stornoway.
We are now on the last 3 miles, most of which is downhill to Kershader and the finish line. This area is renowned for its animal life. Beware of the bird life, the hawks and eagles as they may swoop to try and steal your precious drinks!
This is were the fun runners begin their race. They will start after the first runner of the main run passes the drink station. Give the fun runners a cheer if you pass any of them All encouragement is welcome.
The views to the left are of the hills of Harris and are as the crow flies, no more than 10 miles away.
The road surface to Kershader is good but in many stretches is single track with passing places, be mindful of traffic.
Before reaching the finish line you will pass through the quaint village of Garyvard.
The web page Hebridean connections compliments Garyvard in the following terms;
“A small village of straw thatched huts built partly of stone and in pretty good repair, to which there is attached a considerable portion of arable land, but the inhabitants derive their chief support from fishing, the herring fishing is their great harvest. That fish being found in great numbers at the mouth of Loch Erisort in the months of May, June and July.”
So Garyvard was described in the 1850s, at the time of the first Ordnance Survey.
Gearraidh a’ Bhàird – Bàrd in Gaelic means poet. Bàrd or Várd in old Norse means a watch or shepherd, sometimes a cairn. Local oral tradition maintains that Garyvard is an ancient settlement. There is a map of about 1740 with the village marked, “Gearslbaird” and it seems to include an area of about the present size of the village.
In 1830 there was a population of 38 people at Garyvard rising to a peak of 117 in 1921. The adjoining village of Caversta, which the run passes the entrance road to it, included Torostay which peaked at 78 people in 1881 despite only having 4 crofts and another 2 in Torostay.
The people of Garyvard had more contact with Keose than their neighbouring villages. Apparently, there was a lot of going and coming across the loch and they even used to shout to each other over the water. The main boat crossing (aiseag) across to Keose was from Garyvard and was used by all those going to Stornoway or to the doctor or Registrar who in those days were both located in Keose.
Leaving Garyvard is one of the last climbs to the finish. Forget about the pain and savour the stunning views of Loch Erisort.
Enjoy the run, Pairc, the fresh fresh air and all the environment, for at the finish line, the goodie bags are waiting.”
10th July 2019: Minutes from the Board Meeting
The minutes from the 12th June board meeting are now available on the ‘Board Meetings’ page
1st July 2019: Housing Application Deadline Passed
The last few pieces of the jigsaw are fitting into place on our #AffordableHousing project – the new turf installed last week looks good enough for #Wimbledon!
The deadline for applications has now passed. Thank you for everyone’s interest, we had a good turnout on the 21st and visitors were clearly impressed with how the interiors look, even though they’re not completely finished yet. People commented on how large the rooms are and how well insulated and warm they already feel.
We look forward to welcoming our lucky new tenants in the coming weeks….
21st June 2019: Open House Event
We’re looking forward to seeing lots of folk at our Open House Event on Monday – the perfect chance to at last see inside our brand new #communityowned #affordablehousing in Pairc.
We Love Stornoway are also helping to spread the word here: http://welovestornoway.com/index.php/home/welovesyhomepage-2/13831-nearly-ready-gravir-new-homes
A copy of the application form is available to download here.
17th June 2019: Minutes from the Board Meeting
The minutes from the 8th May board meeting are now available on the ‘Board Meetings’ page
17th June 2019: Gravir Housing – Nearing Completion
At this exciting time as our Housing project nears completion, we’d like to feature an interview with the Pairc Trust (PT) Estate Office Manager Fiona Stokes, about the New Community Owned Houses in Gravir.
What’s it like being involved in a housing project like this for the first time?
It’s really satisfying to see an idea take shape and become a reality. There have been a lot of people involved in the project, it really is all about teamwork. From the Comhairle housing team and the funders to the Housing Association & Project Manager’s Taighean Innse Gall (TIG), construction company O’Mac and all the specialist trades involved on site – everyone has done their part to make it happen. It’s been good to know the Trust is being guided by the experts – it may be our first project, but they all know exactly what they’re doing – we’re in safe hands!
What have been the biggest challenges for you?
Probably the parts that were outside of our control. A lot of paperwork has gone into this development and at some points, when we were waiting to hear back from funding bodies or solicitors, it has felt like it would never happen. But to see the transformation of the building from derelict and damp to shiny and brand new is just wonderful.
How ‘hands-on’ are PT at this stage of the project?
Even though we have TIG project managing for us, PT are still involved in lots of ways. One of our Directors who has expertise in construction, Joe Wilson, attends the monthly site meetings and is consulted on anything that’s happening on site. Another director Kenny Mackay who has an interest in housing and myself have been working with TIG on the paperwork and making sure we cover all eventualities. Kenny is very good at asking the ‘What If’, questions.
When do you expect the houses to be ready?
O’Mac have always told us they will be finished at the beginning of July and at the moment the project is on schedule.
What is the layout of the houses?
They are called ‘2 bedroom, 3 person’ homes. There is a kitchen/living area, bedroom and family bathroom downstairs and another bedroom and en-suite upstairs. Just as an example, they would make an ideal starter-home for a young couple, with the playpark and school just across the road.
Will tenants be allowed to keep pets in the houses?
Yes, we know that pets are very much a part of a family, so following TIGs advice a maximum of 2 small pets would be allowed in a house of this size.
PT will own the houses. Does that mean that tenants will be dealing directly with PT?
No, we have decided to source the necessary expertise by employing TIG as our letting agents. We will set the letting policy, but they will assess the applications, draw up the tenancy agreements, collect the rent and deal with any issues that arise.
How are you going to find tenants?
We’ve already had indications of interest, but everyone will have to go through the process of applying. TIG will advertise the properties though their normal channels – Social media sites, Events newspaper – as will we. We’re hoping that this together with word of mouth will spread the news and ensure that as many people as possible know about this opportunity.
It’s been great to follow the progress of the renovation on Facebook…but nothing beats a good nosey round a new house? Will there be an opportunity for folk in our community to have a look around?
Absolutely! We’re planning to have an ‘Open House’ one afternoon/evening during the last week in June. Even though this has technically been a ‘renovation’ almost everything on site is completely brand new.
When do you hope to be able to hand over the keys to the new tenants?
It all depends on whether people need to give notice in their current homes, but we anticipate anytime from 1st August onwards. The closing date for applications will be 4pm on 1st July 2019.
Once again we are hugely grateful to all our funders who have supported us in this project: The Scottish Government through the Rural Housing Fund, the European Community Outer Hebrides LEADER 2014-2020 Programme, Highlands & Islands Enterprise, Muaitheabhal Community Wind Farm Trust and the Western Isles Development Trust.
We are delighted to be able to announce the advertising of our Affordable Housing in Gravir.
5 & 6 CARN AONGHAIS, GRAVIR
ACCOMMODATION TO RENT
- 2 bedroom semi-detached houses available for rent, in Gravir.
- Newly renovated, fully insulated throughout, underfloor heating, air source heat pump, all new kitchen and bathrooms, en-suite bedroom.
- Available soon.
Anyone interested should collect an application form from the Pairc Trust:
In person/post: The Resource Centre, Kershader. HS2 9QA
By Email: email@example.com
By Phone: (01851) 880728
We look forward to hearing from our potential new tenants!
6th June 2019: Volunteers Week
This week we have enjoyed taking some time to thank the many volunteers in Pairc, for #VolunteersWeekScot. By holding a joint event with Pairc playgroup we were guaranteed to make it a truly inter-generational event.
Representatives from many of Pairc’s community groups attended; Ravenspoint and the Cho-Chomunn, Pairc Historical Society, Pairc Social Club, Pairc Trust, Pairc Playgroup, Muaitheabhal Windfarm Trust, Orinsay Village Association and Hebridean Connections – though it was noted that some people often wore many hats!
Following a buffet lunch, Tracy Jacques outlined some of the ways she and her husband Steve help the playgroup, by providing new and stimulating activities for the children that focus on the outdoors and nature. Donnie Morrison spoke about the variety of positions he holds with community groups, Fiona Stokes highlighted just how many volunteer groups exist in Pairc and Kayleigh Mackillop thanked everyone for attending and welcomed any new volunteers who might like to get involved at the Playgroup.
Volunteers play such an important part in bringing about positive change in our area and we’re so grateful for their actions, big and small. Without people giving up their time to help the wider community Pairc would certainly be a lesser place.
9th May 2019: Minutes from the Board Meeting
The minutes from the 20th March board meeting are now available on the ‘Board Meetings’ page
15th April 2019: End of Muirburn
We would like to remind all crofters and grazing committees that the season for muirburn ends today – 15th April – as outlined in the Hill Farming Act 1946. An easy to follow Muirburn Code is available online and sets out the issues involved in using fire or cutting machinery in uplands and moorlands. When muirburn is done well, in accordance with this code, it can provide benefits. When done badly it can cause significant and lasting damage.
A copy of the code can be found here
21st March 2019: Minutes from the Board Meeting
The minutes from the 20th February board meeting are now available on the ‘Board Meetings’ page
12th March 2019: 1st Gravir Site Meeting
It was good to meet all the specialists involved in our Gravir Housing project today at the 1st site meeting. From left to right: Brian Chaplin (TIG Chair) Fiona Stokes (Pairc Trust) Angus Rennie (Quantity Surveyor, TIG) Mark Macdonald (O’Mac) Angus McDowall (Pairc Trust Chair), James (Todd) Macdonald (Clerk of Works, TIG) David Macphail (TIG).
The project is running well despite some challenging weather conditions – as shown here the roof is being removed this week and new trusses have already been delivered to site.
Our Facebook page is regularly updated with the project’s progress and can be found here https://www.facebook.com/PaircTrust/.
11th March 2019:
We were very sad to hear of the passing of Angus Mackinnon at the weekend.
Angus served as a director of the Pairc Trust from 2003 – 2009.
We would like to offer our condolences to Liz, Roddy, Marie and the wider family.
8th February 2019: Work Begins in Gravir
Work to renovate a disused building into 2 new homes has started at 5/6 Carn Aonghais. The contractors have set up site in what is usually a very quiet village, but any disruption now will be worth it in the long run when we welcome our new tenants later in 2019.
To find out more, the plans are available to see by contacting the office and we are featuring regular updates on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/PaircTrust/.
25th January 2019: Local Contractor Appointed
Having gone through a procurement process in December 18, we are delighted to announce that we will be working with local Building firm O’Mac Construction Limited for the renovation work on our Gravir Housing Project. Their reputation is unrivalled for quality of workmanship and for exceptional customer relations, so we are pleased to be welcoming them on site in February.
16th January 2019: Minutes from the Board Meeting
The minutes from the 22nd November board meeting are now available on the ‘Board Meetings’ page
17th December 2018: In For Christmas!
Its been a long wait, but the Pairc Trust is finally the proud owner of its own home! We have now exchanged contracts and hope to start work on renovating the old Care Unit in Gravir into 2 homes in the new year.
This is a huge step forward with one of our core aims to stop depopulation of the area. We want to make our community owned estate a good place to live and work, so housing is fundamental to achieving this.
The old Care Unit building in Gravir has been purchased from the Comhairle thanks to funding from the Scottish Land Fund and we are in the process of applying for the renovation costs from other Scottish government funding streams. We have also already had financial backing from the Western Isles Development Trust and Highlands & Islands Enterprise.
We have had a lot of support to get us to this stage and while housing projects are notoriously slow, we know that having 2 new affordable and energy efficient houses to rent in the area will be worth waiting for.
23rd November 2018: Minutes from the Board Meeting
The minutes from the 10th October board meeting are now available on the ‘Board Meetings’ page
16th November 2018: Adopted Articles of Association
Members voted by a great majority last night to adopt the new Articles of Association as a governing document for the organisation.
The Pairc Trust board of directors began to review its constitution in September 2017 following advice from the Highlands and Island Enterprise Community Assets team. The original Pairc Trust constitution document was the first to be written for a community buyout but the law has changed since 2003 – the new template produced by the Scottish Government makes sure these changes are reflected and ensures a community body such as ours is compliant with all new legislation.
Members had been notified of the proposed changes prior to the AGM, on our website and social media channels since August 2018.
A copy of the final adopted document is now available on our website in the ‘Documents’ section and we look forward to working from a clearer and easier to understand rule book from now on.
14th November 2018: Minutes from the previous AGM
The Annual General Meeting of the Pairc Trust will be held tomorrow night – Thursday 15th November – at the Pairc School in Gravir, starting at 7.30pm.
Members were written to on 10th October 2018 and an agenda for the meeting is available here 2018 AGM agenda
The draft minutes from the previous AGM are available here Draft Pairc Trust 2017 AGM Minutes V4
Including the Chairs report from last year’s AGM 2017 Chair AGM Report Annex to Minutes.doc
This year we will be asking members to consider adopting a new constitution document. Details will be provided on the night, but we have also been advertising this on our website and social media channels since August.
A copy of all relevant documents can be found on our website in the document section
13th November 2018: Gravir Housing Project
The Contract Notice for our Gravir Housing project is being advertised on the Public Contracts Scotland portal and Principal Contractors have until 23rd November to submit a tender for the works.
We’ve already included details of all the local firms we think would be interested, but if you know of a smaller local trades-person who would like to subcontract some of the work, please get in touch.
Pairc Trust intends to renovate the old Care Unit in Gravir and use it to provide additional and affordable housing in the Pairc Estate. This is the first step in providing affordable housing in the Estate, and in reversing the population decline we are currently facing.
We have appointed Tighean Innse Gall (T.I.G.) to project manage the development on our behalf, from pre-phase development through to the end of the implementation stage.
7th November 2018: Piers Feasibility Study
We are very pleased to have met today with the successful bidder on our Piers Development project – Wallace Stone (https://www.wallacestone.co.uk/).
Wallace Stone have been practicing as a civil engineering consultant since 1973, operating exclusively in the field of marine works and so was perfectly placed to undertake a feasibility study into the piers on the Pairc estate. They also have extensive experience in working for community groups across Scotland, most locally working in Crossbost, Marvig and Keose Glebe.
Visiting today were John Porteous, Duncan MacPhearson and Calum Macleod who explained the areas they would cover in the study to identify the needs of existing and future pier users.
They will be meeting with frequent users and holding an open day where people can drop in to say what they would like to be considered for the future, or equally what they wish to avoid.
As well as covering all the legal and health and safety responsibilities, the final report will outline their recommendations on the best ideas that could be taken forward by the Pairc Trust.
11th September 2018: Minutes from the Board Meeting
The minutes from the 12th September board meeting are now available on the ‘Board Meetings’ page
10th September 2018: AGM Letter to Members
We have written to members today to let them know about the Annual General Meeting on Thursday 15th November, 7.30pm at Pairc School.
The agenda for the AGM will include reports by the Chairman and the Pairc Trust accountants CIB Services. Also an update on recent estate developments will be reported. Financial accounts for the year to 31st March 2018 will be available at the meeting and in advance of the AGM at our office and on this news feed.
In accordance with our Memorandum and Articles, a third of our Elected Directors will be standing down. There are up to ten places available for Elected Directors on the Board, we have seven at present and we hope that members will put their names forward to become more involved in our community owned estate. Nomination forms are available from the trust office or on our ‘Documents’ page.
Pairc Trust has been advised by Highlands & Islands Enterprise that we are required to update our Memorandum and Articles to a more suitable and modern form.
The members that attend this year’s AGM meeting will be presented with the proposal to change the Articles of Association, discuss the proposal and then vote by a show of hands on the proposed change.
Full details of all the proposed changes are available on our ‘Documents’ page.
If you or someone you know would like to be a member of the Pairc Trust, we have an easy to fill in form on the Members page, or drop into the office for a copy.
We look forward to seeing everyone on the night for our annual round-up.
4th September 2018: Additions to Feasibility Study Brief
The advertisement for consultants to draft a feasibility study on the potential for a pump storage scheme on the Pairc estate, has been updated today.
Additional information has been added to the Public Contracts Scotland Portal and can be viewed here:
The deadline for submission of tenders has been revised to 3pm on 14th September 2018.
20th August 2018: Modernised Constitution
The Pairc Trust proposes to modernise its constitution at the next AGM and adopt a template produced by the Scottish Government for community trusts. Our existing ‘Memorandum & Articles of Association’ was the first to be written for a community buyout, but it has been found to be difficult to read, full of legal jargon and not arranged in a clear to follow format.
The new ‘Articles of Association’ template follows a much clearer format and has already been adopted by other trusts on Lewis & Harris who are finding it fit for purpose to keep them up to date.
Copies of the old M&A, proposed AofA, an Executive Summary of the changes and a quick to see Infographic are available to download here.
Please contact that office with any questions about the documents on (01851) 880728 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Existing Memorandum & Articles of Association:
New proposed Articles of Association: AofA V4 190618
Executive Summary of Changes: Executive Summary
17th August 2018: Potential Pump Storage Scheme, Feasibility Study
The Pairc Trust is seeking to appoint consultants to prepare a feasibility study on the potential for a pump storage scheme on the Pairc estate.
The appointment has been advertised today on the Public Contracts Scotland Portal and can be viewed here:
The deadline for submission of tenders is 5pm on 14th September 2018.
Thanks go to Local Energy Scotland for their support of this work.
9th August 2018: Minutes from Board Meeting
The minutes from the 27th June board meeting are now available on the ‘Board Meetings’ page.
29th June 2018: Minutes from Board Meeting
The minutes from the 30th May board meeting are now available on the ‘Board Meetings’ page.
21st June 2018: Potential Pier Developments, Feasibility Study
The Pairc Trust is seeking to appoint consultants to prepare a feasibility study on piers, slipways and jetties on the Pairc estate, to investigate and quantify their potential for increased community and economic benefit.
The appointment has been advertised today on the Public Contracts Scotland Portal and can be viewed here:
The deadline for submission of tenders is 4pm on 23rd July 2018.
Thanks go to Highlands & Islands Enterprise for their support of this work.
8th June 2018: Good Board Governance at Pairc Trust
It’s all been about Good #Governance this week.
Fiona, our Estate Office Manager, attended two half day workshops on Advanced Board Governance earlier in the week, run by Sandy & Neil from the ‘Learnto Consultancy’. ( www.thelearntoconsultancy.co.uk.)
The workshop covered a number of psychological models for creating high performing boards and focused on the areas of ;
Attention to Results
Then last night the whole board met for a ‘Healthcheck’ from Polly & Brian at Impact Hub Inverness ( http://inverness.impacthub.net/ ) who asked a variety of questions designed to test the Trust is compliant and aware of its responsibilities. (It was a bit like an MOT for your car, just to check we’re legal and running well.)
Both programmes were funded by Highlands & Islands Enterprise and are regularly offered to community organisations who are account managed. Both trainers will now feed back to HIE so we hope we’ll get a glowing report!
31st May 2018: Minutes from Board Meeting
The minutes from the 9th May board meeting are now available on the ‘Board Meetings’ page.
25th May 2018: General Data Protection Regulations
Changes to the Data Protection Act have been brought in from today, which ensure all organisations that handle personal data are doing so responsibly.
The Pairc Trust collects personal data as part of its legal duties as factor of the Pairc Estate and as a community body set up to develop the area known as Pairc.
For more information on Data Protection compliance & GDPR at the Pairc Trust, contact the office manager Fiona Stokes who acts as their data controller.
23rd May 2018: Community Land Scotland conference
Our Estate Office Manager Fiona travelled to Stirling last weekend to attend the Community Land Scotland annual conference.
Pairc Trust are a member of CLS, which represents Scotland’s new generation of community land owners. They help communities who want to buy their own land and influence the public policies that can help them.
“We want to see more of Scotland’s land in the hands of more of Scotland’s people.“ (http://www.communitylandscotland.org.uk/)
The conference had a number of speakers from the land movement and academia and it was an excellent chance to share stories and experiences from all over Scotland. There were a number of workshops that focused on issues such as; getting more young people involved in community decision making; how to benefit from other organisations assets, such as the Crown Estate; how to get one million acres into community ownership by 2020; resettlement & re-population; urban community land; how to effectively share knowledge between community landowners.
All very interesting topics and the conference has quickly established itself as “the community event of the year to attend: slickly run; legends-for-speakers; Ministerial address; and fantastic networking.”
Follow discussions from the conference on twitter using the hashtag #communityland18.
11th May 2018: Housing in Pairc
A new social housing development such as the one currently being built by the Hebridean Housing Partnership at Leurbost might not be the answer, but our area is currently being considered for extra HHP housing. Its very early days, with a crew being in the area this week to do investigatory trial pits, but it is reassuring to know the rural areas are being given due consideration.
If you have any views on this please get in touch.
4th May 2018: Year of Young People 2018
The Pairc trust is pleased to be supporting the Scottish Government’s Year of Young People.
“The Year of Young People 2018 aims to inspire Scotland through its young people, celebrating their achievements, valuing their contribution to communities and creating new opportunities for them to shine locally, nationally and globally.”
We recently invited the 1st South Lochs Beavers, Cubs & Scouts to an evening in the lambing shed with our Crofting director John Murdo Matheson. It was great to show the kids around a lambing shed in a traditional Pairc crofting village. They were certainly keen to cuddle some lambs – perhaps we’ll invite them back at shearing time to do something a bit more like work!
4th April 2018: Minutes from Board Meetings
The minutes from the 1st March board meeting is now available on the ‘Board Meetings’ page.
30th March: Proud to Support our Local Playgroup
We are delighted to have helped Pairc Playgroup this week, by arranging a shared internet connection for them. Kershader is one of the villages in Pairc that benefits from a superfast broadband connection so with speeds as high as 70mbps, we had plenty of bandwidth to share!
9th March 2018: Minutes from Board Meetings
The minutes from the January board meetings is now available on the ‘Board Meetings’ page.
5th March 2018: Muirburn Code Reminder
In light of the terrible wildfires that have occurred on Barra over the weekend, we would like to remind people of their legal and environmental responsibilities when muirburning.
The Scottish Natural Heritage have some clear guidance on their website here:
The standard muirburn season runs from 1 October to 15 April inclusive in Scotland. This is mainly to avoid harm to the many moorland birds that nest in spring as well as reptiles coming out of hibernation.
22nd February 2018: New Board Member
We’re so pleased to welcome Iain Norman Macleod as a new director on the Pairc Trust board. Iain has a lifetime of experience in crofting which will be extremely useful to the crofting subgroup. He also works for Scottish Water so we are hoping to ‘tap into’ his working knowledge too.
The Pairc Trust is always keen to get more people involved in the development of our community owned estate, so if you have some skills that you think could be put to good use, please get in touch.
24th January 2018: Minutes from Board Meetings
The minutes from the December board meeting is now available on the ‘Board Meetings’ page.
12th January 2018: Health Walks
New Year, new resolutions!
Following the NHS guidance that all of us should aim to have at least 30 minutes of exercise 5 days out of 7, we’ve got together with interested people to organise a series of ‘Health Walks’.
Getting out into all those pretty parts of Pairc that are suitable for regular walking, no special skills or equipment is needed to join in.
‘Paths for Life’ advise that a health walk should be safe, accessible and social, so we have started a series of regular walks at 11:00 on Saturdays. They are open to everyone, for more details please contact Fiona in the office.
8th January 2018: Pairc Trust Support Costs
We’re delighted at the start of the New Year to thank Muaitheabhal Community Windfarm Trust for their continued support. Our application to them for funding to help us with staffing and other administration costs over this coming year has been successful. Alongside the input from Directors and other volunteers, the Trust currently employs one full-time member of staff to help administer and run the estate. We also need to be able to invest time and effort into developing the assets on the estate to the benefit of our community and with a view to the Trust becoming self-sustaining in the longer term. The support of MCWFT is crucial as we pursue this work and also seek support from other funding bodies
12th December 2017: Minutes from Board Meetings
The minutes from the October and November board meetings are now available on the website here
22nd November: New picnic area and start for the Steimreway walk
The village of Orinsay in Pairc has always hosted the start of a historic walk out to the deserted village of Steimreway. Following landslide damage to the old steps, the Pairc Trust sought funding from the Tesco Bags of Help fund and the Scottish Landfill Communities fund to make repairs and improvements. We are delighted to say that following weeks of hard work by the OHMEET team, the improvements are now finished and available for everyone to use.
A beautiful picnic table has been made by staff at the Stonoway Trust sawmill and local designer Richard Chyzy of Blackhouse Creative designed an information board which has been mounted on a drystone cairn.
New fencing takes walkers up to the hills behind Orinsay where the historic experience begins.
Directions to the start: Follow the road through Orinsay to the end of the village where you will see the new picnic area to the right. Follow the path up the hill to a stile and join the existing walking route from there. Full information on the route(s) out to Steimreway can be found on the walk-board in the picnic area.
Many thanks go to the Orinsay Village Association and Orinsay residents for their help in making these improvements.
13th October: Boost for island wind projects
The Pairc Trust is encouraged to hear the news that the ‘remote islands of Scotland are to be eligible to apply for support for wind power projects’.
‘The UK government intends to allow wind projects on the remote islands of Scotland to compete in the next competitive auction for less established renewable technologies (Contracts for Difference) to be held in spring 2019…. The UK government has also announced that up to £557 million of support will be available for future Contracts for Difference auctions.’
Energy Minister Richard Harrington said
“We want to go further creating thousands of good jobs and attracting billions of pounds worth of investment. That’s why we are ensuring that remote island wind projects in Scotland, which have the potential to benefit the island communities directly, have access to the same funding opportunities as offshore wind in the next renewables auction round.”
Full details from the press release can be found here:
3rd October 2017: ‘Our Land, Building a Future’
It took 13 long years but everyone in Pairc, now and in the future, can proudly say that we are in control of the area we live in.
HIE have produced a video which summarises the journey of community land trusts to purchase their own land. It was presented at the HIE Strengthening Communities conference last month and it tells the inspirational stories of community land buyouts, including ours.
22nd September 2017: AGM Minutes & Chair’s Speech
The minutes from the 2017 AGM, held on Thursday 17th August, are now available here. The Chair’s speech is also included as an annex to the minutes.
A copy of the 2016 and 2017 accounts are already available on this page below.
13th September 2017: Affordable Housing
We’re so glad to be moving forward again with our plans to renovate the old care unit in Gravir, thanks to some extra funding from Highlands and Islands Enterprise. We intend to convert the building into 2 energy efficient affordable homes, after our Housing Needs Survey identified a lack of rental properties in Pairc.
1st September 2017: Defibrillator Training
We are very grateful to the Lucky 2 B Here team (http://www.lucky2bhere.org/) for their excellent emergency first aid training last night. Around 30 people from Pairc attended the event which marked the introduction of 5 community defibrillator machines to our area.
The machines will be installed in the villages of Lemreway, Orinsay, Cromore, Marvig and Kershader ensuring a good coverage in the district.
Funding for 3 of the new machines has come from MacAuley Askernish via the Pairc Trust. Stephen MacAulay commented:
“MacAulay Askernish Ltd are delighted to provide the community of Pairc with three defibrillators. When we heard this community didn’t have defibrillators within the community, we decided this was a great cause to support as it can make a real difference in everyday life.
Most cardiac arrests happen away from hospital and many of the resulting deaths could be avoided if the person is treated with a defibrillator within minutes of collapsing, the installation of these defibrillators will give the people of Pairc the best chance of surviving a cardiac arrest, that is a cause we are delighted to support.”
22nd August 2017: Board Meeting Minutes
The minutes from the board meeting held on August 15th are now on our website here:
8th August 2017: Accounts in advance of the AGM
As mentioned below, our AGM will be held on Thursday 17th August, in the school hall in Gravir, starting at 7.30pm. The Pairc Trust accounts for the years ending March 2016 and March 2017 are now available to download here.
We look forward to seeing as many members at the AGM as possible, where we will be giving an update of all the work that has been undertaken over the last year.
21st June 2017: AGM Announcement
We have now written to all members to let them know the date of our Annual General Meeting. It will be held on Thursday 17th August, in the school hall in Gravir, starting at 7.30pm.
In accordance with our Memorandum and Articles, a third of our Elected Directors will be standing down. There are up to ten places available for Elected Directors on the Board, and we hope that members will put their names forward.
Elected Directors must be members of Pairc Trust and two members must support each nomination. Nomination forms for Directors can be obtained from our office in the Resource Centre, Kershader, or by emailing email@example.com. Please note that nomination forms must be received by 4pm on Friday 28th July 2017 to allow nominations to be checked and a ballot notified if necessary.
Any person entitled to attend and vote at the meeting may appoint a proxy to attend and vote on their behalf. A proxy must be a member of the Trust. Forms of proxy can be obtained on request from our office in the Resource Centre.
In addition to the election of new Directors, the 2017 AGM agenda will include reports by the Chairman and Treasurer, and an update on recent developments. Financial accounts for the years to 31st March 2016 and 31st March 2017 will be presented. Copies of the accounts will be available at the meeting and in advance of the A.G.M. at our office.
All members of Pairc Trust are encouraged to attend this important meeting. If you are aware of any local residents or crofters in Pairc who are not yet members of the Trust, please encourage them to join. Membership forms can be obtained from our office, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by speaking to any of the Directors.
15th June 2017: GP Surgery Update
We have completed our consultation with the community about the proposal for Pairc Trust to purchase the GP Surgery and Doctors House with the intention of renovating it for affordable housing. We were particularly interested in using part of the property for elderly care accommodation, which would help people who require additional support remain in the community.
As part of this proposal we were looking into the possibility of purchasing the Resource Centre in Kershader from the Council. The GP Surgery had indicated that they would be interested in relocating to the Resource Centre and they would have agreed to a long term lease. This would have provided Pairc Trust with a rental income, which would have paid for some of the maintenance and upkeep of the building. This would have enabled us to provide the Playgroup with free accommodation, and we were looking into the possibility of providing a ‘hot desk’ for members of the community to use.
However, our community consultation has demonstrated to us that there is a strong desire for the surgery to remain where it is in Gravir. We have fed this back to the NHS and they have confirmed the surgery will remain where it is.
We have withdrawn our interest in the Doctor’s House and GP Surgery. We will only proceed with purchasing the Resource Centre if we can find an additional tenant to help cover the costs. If this were to happen we would once again consult with the community before proceeding.
We would once again like to thank the community for engaging with us on this matter, and the Community Council for their input.
7th May 2017: GP Surgery – Survey Results
We would like to thank everyone who responded to the GP Surgery Survey. We had 143 responses which is great. We would also like to thank everyone who took the time to talk to us and give us their views on the matter.
The majority of the responses indicate a strong desire for the surgery to remain in Gravir, and the vast majority want the current premises to be improved.
If you would like to see the results (without any personal details) in full, please pop into our office.
It is our intention to share our findings with the Pairc Community Council and they have agreed to add this item to the agenda for their next meeting, on the 29th May.
We will attend that meeting and we will be asking those present how we should now proceed. We want to ensure we are working in partnership with the Community Council and members of the community as we move forward.
Resource Centre, Kershader
It has recently been claimed that Pairc Trust submitted an application to purchase the Resource Centre in Kershader from Comhairle nan Eilean Siar without informing the community. We would like to assure you that this is not the case.
We had looked into the possibility of purchasing the building and bringing it into community ownership. However, we withdrew our interest and never submitted an application. It was our intention to consult with the community about the future use of the building before progressing any further.
We understand that the minutes of the Comhairle nan Eilean Siar Policy and Resources Committee dated 5th October 2016 may have led people to believe otherwise. This states:
It was agreed to recommend that the Comhairle: authorise the Chief Executive, in consultation with the Director of Technical Services, to sell the Kershader Resource Centre, to the Pairc Trust, on such terms as he deemed appropriate.
We asked the Comhairle to clarify the position and have received an email from the Head of Assets and Infrastructure, which states:
The Disposal of Surplus Assets Report to Policy and Resources Committee in October 2016 had a number of expressions of interest in acquisitions from Community Groups.
The text in relation to the Pairc Trust was as follows:
2.7 The Pairc Trust has expressed an interest in acquiring the Kershader Resource Centre on behalf of the current tenants of the building.
As with the other applications the recommendation was to seek delegated authority for the Chief Executive to determine the terms of sale. This was granted and recorded in the minute that you have attached.
The terms of sale were not discussed, neither was a Business Plan or Application received, prior to Pairc Trust withdrawing its interest in order to undertake further community consultation.
We hope that this clarifies the position and would like to assure the community that we have no intention of submitting an application to purchase the building without community support.
We do not attend to address this issue again. If anyone has any further questions they can contact Assets and Infrastructure at CnES.
Long Term Renewable Energy Options
Pairc Trust is one of the 20 Community Trusts throughout the Western Isles who meet regularly to look into providing a positive renewable energy future for communities.
Both installed generators and groups – at various development stages – have joined forces to ensure a stronger voice as we argue for a positive Remote Island Wind Review and an inter connector to the Western Isles.
In order to be included in this consortium all the various groups had to request grid connections, should the inter connector go ahead. The Pairc Trust has requested a connection which could allow us to install a renewable project in the future.
This renewable project will only proceed if the inter connector to the Western Isles goes ahead, and we would ensure the community were fully consulted.
This is a long term project. The earliest anything could happen would be 2021.
Small change to our Note of Open Meeting.
There was a small error in our notes from the open meeting held on 23rd March. In the Pairc Trust proposals section, it incorrectly read that the NHS is the owner of the resource centre, but of course it is CNES who own this building.
We have made the changes in the document now, and a correct version of the questions and answers raised at the meeting is available here and below.
Our survey on the GP surgery is available here:
You can print and return this by email to: email@example.com
You can also pick up a copy at Ravenspoint, the GP Surgery in Gravir or the Pairc Trust office in Kershader, or complete the survey online here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/3BWW7R5
The Deadline is Friday 28th April, so please let us know what you think by then and we will publish the results in due course.
A note of what was discussed at our Open Meeting on 23rd March is now available.
At the meeting it was clear that there is a desire and need for the community to work together as we try to retain services for the long term in Pairc. We are keen to work alongside the Community Council and others in the district as the various suggestions made at the meeting are looked into further.
If you were at the meeting, and believe something has been missed from the notes on our website please do let us know. It is always difficult to record what is said at an open meeting when there is a lot of discussion and we have done our best to capture the main points.
With regards to next steps, we are going to distribute a questionnaire this Friday which will ask local people for their thoughts on the various suggestions made at the meeting. This will be available from the GP Surgery, Ravenspoint and our office. Electronic copies will also be available on our website.
We would be very grateful if the questionnaires could be returned to us by 28th April. We will then hold another open meeting to discuss the results, and how to move forward. We had initially planned to hold a meeting in Orinsay on 18th April. However, we now feel that this would be too soon as we want to gather local opinion before we meet again.
Please do get in touch if you would like to discuss this issue, or anything else.
Fly Tipping in Common Grazings
Members of the community have expressed concern over a number of abandoned vehicles, which have been fly tipped on the common grazings of Pairc.
If you are the owner of an abandoned vehicle, we would be grateful if you could please arrange for it to be promptly removed.
Alternatively, if you have concerns over abandoned vehicles please let us know.
If the vehicles have not been removed by the 14th of April 2017 we will have to take further action
Open Meeting Thursday 23rd March at 7pm in Gravir School
OPEN MEETING Thursday 23rd March 2017, Pairc School at 7pm
We are holding an open meeting on Thursday 23rd March at 7pm in Gravir School to discuss our proposal to purchase the Resource Centre in Kershader and the Doctors House/GP Surgery in Gravir.
Representatives from The Pairc Trust and the NHS will explain the reasons for the proposals, and the potential benefits.
We are keen to hear the views of local people, and we hope you can attend. The meeting is open to all and everyone is welcome.
If you cannot attend, but would like more information please do get in touch.
A member of the community recently asked us for information regarding the resumption of crofting land at Sheildinish and Seaforth Head.
We can confirm that during 2016 all the Sheildinish and Seaforth Head croft tenants received an equal share of the income generated by the resumption of crofting land, as per the resumption agreement.
They each received a payment on 4th October 2016 and another on 9th June 2016.
We are delighted to announce that we have received £10,000 from the Western Isles Development Trust towards renovating the old Care Unit in Gravir.
The W.I.D.T. is keen to support any projects which use renewable energy and reduce carbon emissions.
As fuel poverty is such a huge issue in our community we are keen to ensure that any properties we let in the future are energy efficient and cheap to heat.
We are waiting to hear back from other funders for the remaining renovation costs and will keep you updated on our progress
We are seeking the views of the community in order to gauge whether there is a need for sheltered housing in Pairc.
By sheltered housing we mean accommodation that is specifically designed for older people (or younger people with disabilities) to allow them to live independently.
We would be very grateful if you could please complete our survey. You can return it to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org or you can contact us to discuss this further.
UPDATE ON PROPOSALS
As you will know from our previous posts, we have been looking into the possibility of purchasing the Resource Centre in Kershader from the Council, and the old Doctors House in Gravir from the NHS for some time.
The Doctors House is empty and deteriorating, and there have been no offers made for it since it went on the market a decade ago. We would love to bring it back to life and use it to provide affordable accommodation.
The Doctors House is attached to the GP Surgery in Gravir and there is a possibility that we could purchase both properties together, if the surgery could relocate to suitable premises elsewhere in South Lochs. The Resource Centre could be a suitable alternative.
We have been assured by the NHS that the service provided by the surgery would not be negatively affected if the move were to go ahead. Rather, they believe there would be a number of benefits. The current Surgery has no disabled access and no suitable parking, which is an issue for a number of their patients. If we were to purchase the Resource Centre we would provide additional parking, which would also benefit the current users.
There are a number of issues and practicalities which need to be addressed. The Resource Centre and the Surgery are used by lots of people who must be consulted.
We will hold an open meeting in the very near future in order to discuss these proposals in more detail, and address any concerns.
If the community are supportive of the proposals we will proceed further, and the NHS will carry out their own community consultations.
In the meantime, we are always keen to hear from you. Please do get in touch if you would like to talk about these proposals.
Pairc Trust is looking for a new Office Administrator.
The applicant should have excellent communication skills and an ability to work well with others.
Salary: £15,000pa, plus 5% employer pension contribution
The position will be 35 hours a week and the post holder will be based in our office in Kershader, South Lochs.
The contract will run for 12 months with possible extension thereafter.
Please email email@example.com or phone 01851 880 728 to request a job description and application form.
Closing date for applications: 5pm on Monday 6th March 2017
This post is supported by the Scottish Land Fund and HIE.
SCOTTISH LAND FUND FUNDING
We are delighted to announce that we have been awarded £50,261 by the Scottish Land Fund towards the purchase of the Care Unit in Gravir.
This property is currently owned by CnES and has been empty for a number of years. It is our intention to apply to the Scottish Government Rural Housing Fund for the renovation costs. In the meantime, the funding we have received will enable us to apply for planning permission, carry out design work etc.
It is our intention to make the property a 4 bed disabled access home which is energy efficient and cheap to heat. We intend to set the rent at the same level as social rent, so it is truly affordable.
We have a Housing Working Group and members of the community are very welcome to join. The Working Group will discuss how to move forward with the project and we would love to hear from you.
Our Christmas Newsletter is being delivered to all households in the Pairc Estate over the next few days. The purpose of the newsletter is to let the community know what we have been doing since purchasing the Estate, and what our plans are for the future. We also wanted to let people know that we are looking for new members to join our Working Groups. As always, Jen and Sandra in our office are happy to meet with anyone who would like to discuss our projects and management of the Estate.
Update on the Kershader Resource Centre:
We will hold an open meeting in the New Year to discuss the Resource Centre with members of the community, and we hope you can attend. More details will follow after Christmas.
The building is owned by the Comhairle and surplus to their requirements. The Trust has been looking into the possibility of purchasing it from them.
The meeting will be an opportunity for local people to contribute to discussions regarding future use of the building.
We would like to assure the community that we value their opinions and we will only progress with this proposal if they are supportive.
STRATEGIC BUSINESS PLAN
Our Stategic Business Plan from 2016 – March 2020 is now available. We held a number of Community Consultation Events over the Summer, which influenced the direction of the plan, and the areas we will develop. We will also produce operational working plans for the areas of development identified within the plan.
We are grateful for the support we have received from Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.
We are delighted to announce that the Pairc Trust is now Account Managed by Highlands and Islands Enterprise. We see this as a positive move forward, as H.I.E. is committed to supporting communities which can make a strong impact on the success of a region.
HOUSING NEEDS REPORT
Our Housing Needs Analysis of the Pairc Estate is complete, and our report is available here. Hard copies are also available in our office. We are pleased that the community are supportive of our plans to provide affordable housing in the area. We are grateful to Muaitheabhal Community Wind Farm Trust for their financial assistance, and to CnES for helping us analyse the results.
RENEWABLE ENERGY PROJECT
We are delighted to announce we have secured funding to carry out a feasibility study, which will investigate how to provide low carbon energy to local business Hebridean Sea Salt.
Natalie Crayton, the Managing Director has told us ‘As a business Hebridean Sea Salt uses a reasonable amount of energy in our production process so we are really looking forward to working together with the Pairc Trust and the local community to help deliver their renewable energy project and install solar panels on our premises. As a business we are always aware of our carbon footprint and are always looking for ways to reduce it and make our processes more sustainable’.
We have put the feasibility study brief out to tender and intend to appoint consultants in November.
We look forward to working with Hebridean Sea Salt and see the feasibility study as the first step in an exciting project, which will link local energy generation with local demand.
More information about the funding from Local Energy Scotland can be found at:
KERSHADER RESOURCE CENTRE
The Resource Centre in Kershader is used regularly by various groups in the community.
There are offices for the Muaitheabhal Community Windfarm Trust and Pairc Trust, and the Pairc Playgroup is also based here. In addition to this it is used by a number of groups and charities.
The meeting room is used regularly for meetings and local courses, e.g. first aid and gaelic
The building is currently owned by CnES and we are looking into the possibility of purchasing it, in accordance with the Disposal of Land by Local Authorities (Scotland) Regulations 2010.
We would like the building to be in community ownership, and want local groups to benefit from the purchase. By purchasing the property, we will retain the provision of local services and contribute to the overall sustainability of the community by providing local facilities, which are otherwise lacking in the Estate.
We are grateful to the Scottish Land for the funding they have given us for developmental work. This will allow us to develop a robust business plan and application to purchase the property. We intend to apply to the Scottish Land Fund for the purchase cost once this initial work has been carried out.
A huge thank you to everyone who returned our Housing Needs Survey. The results have demonstrated strong local support for additional affordable housing in the area, and we are now looking into how we can deliver this.
We are looking into the possibility of purchasing two empty properties in Gravir: the old Care Unit which is owned by the Council and the Doctor’s House which is owned by the NHS. If we are successful in applying for funding to purchase and renovate these properties, we will look into bringing them back into use as affordable housing.
We will produce a Housing Needs Report and as soon as this has been finalised it will be made available on our website. Hard copies will also be available in our office.
We are setting up a Housing Working Group and are keen for members of the community to join. If you would like to get involved, please get in touch.
WORKING GROUP MEMBERS WANTED!
As new landowners with a small turnover the Trust aims to develop a sustainable organisation which can support itself without being reliant on external funding and support the development of the local economy.
Since purchasing the land in December 2015, a number of Community Engagement Events have taken place, and the following areas for development have received positive feedback:
- Renewable Energy
We are in the process of setting up working groups for each of the areas, and welcome members of the community to join us. If you would like to get involved, please let us know as we would love to hear from you.
TESCO BAGS OF HELP FUNDING
We have been successful in our application for funding from Tesco Bags of Help. We will use this funding to improve the walkway form Orinsay to the deserted village of Steimreway. This is a popular walkway for locals and visitors, and is in desperate need of improvement.
Please vote for our project if you are in Tesco in Stornoway between 31st October to 13th November. The more votes we get, the more money we will receive.
More information about the funding:
Tesco has teamed up with Groundwork on its Bags of Help initiative across Scotland. The scheme will see three community groups and projects awarded grants of £12,000, £10,000 and £8,000 – all raised from the 5p bag charge. Greenspace Scotland are working with Groundwork to support Scottish communities.
Bags of Help offers community groups and projects in each of Tesco’s regions across the UK a share of revenue generated from the 5p charge levied on single-use carrier bags.
The public will now vote in store from 26 September to 9 October on who should receive the £12,000, £10,000 and £8,000 awards. In total, there is over £12.5 million up for grabs.
More information can be found at: www.tesco.com/bagsofhelp
We recently held a number of community engagement workshops and drop in sessions, and would like to thank everyone who contributed. You can see a summary of the discussions below.
If you did not manage to attend but would like to contribute please complete the survey below. You can return it by email to firstname.lastname@example.org We welcome any suggestions and encourage members of the community to contact us with ideas.
Our Community Engagements start this Saturday (2nd July) with a drop in session with free tea, coffee and cake at Gravir Church Hall from 1pm – 4pm.
DONATION TO PAIRC PLAYGROUP
We are thankful to everyone who donated money at our Celebration Event on 18th June. We raised £200 which has been donated to the Pairc Playgroup. Pictured below are some of the children who attend the Playgroup, proudly showing off their Pairc Trust medals.
HOUSING NEEDS DROP IN SURGERY
NEW STAFF MEMBER
Our new Housing Support Officer Al Reed started working with us on 20.06.16. Al will be sending out Housing Needs Surveys to everyone in the area. He will also help to record and analyse the results.
HOUSING NEEDS ANALYSIS
Pairc Trust are conducting a Housing Needs Analysis of the Pairc Estate.
We are conducting this survey to determine whether there is a demand for additional affordable housing in the area, and it is for all residents of the Pairc Estate. Even if your household has no housing need, please spare a few minutes of your time to complete the survey. Your views are important and your answers will be dealt with in the strictest confidence.
You can email completed surveys to: email@example.com
The closing date for surveys is Friday 8th July 2016.
MINUTES FROM THE 2015 & 2016 ANNUAL GENERAL MEETINGS
Here are copies of our A.G.M. minutes from 2015 which were approved at our A.G.M. on Thursday 19th May 2016. We have also uploaded the DRAFT minutes from this year’s A.G.M., which will be submitted for approval at our next A.G.M.
We have also uploaded our full financial report for the year ending March 2015. We hope to present the accounts for the years ending 2016 and 2017 at our next A.G.M. It was not possible to present the accounts ending March 2016 at the most recent A.G.M. as it was too close to the end of the financial year.
Pairc Trust are looking for a Support Officer to assist with conducting a Housing Needs Analysis of the Pairc Estate. Please contact us to request an application pack. Closing date is 5pm on Friday 3rd June. We are grateful to http://muaitheabhal.org.uk/ for helping to fund this post.
We are holding a Celebration Event on Saturday 18th June 2016 in Ravenspoint, Kershader and would be delighted if you could attend.
The event will start at 4pm with speeches, after which food will be served and there will be entertainment into the evening. There will also be children’s entertainment between 4pm and 7pm.
The purpose of the event is to celebrate our ownership of the Pairc Estate on behalf of the community and to thank everyone who has helped us achieve this.
COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT EVENTS:
roughout July and all members of the community are welcome.
We are holding informal drop in sessions:
- Sat 2nd July – Gravir Church Hall from 1-4pm
- Wed 6th July – Kershader Resource Centre from 1-4pm
- Fri 8th July – Orinsay Hall from 1-4pm
Please feel free to drop in for a chat and to give us your views and feedback any time between 1pm and 4pm.
We are also holding more structured workshops on:
- Sat 2nd July at 5pm, Gravir Church Hall
- Wed 6th July at 7pm, Kershader Resource Centre
- Fri 8th July at 6pm, Orinsay Hall
Tea, coffee and baking will be available at the events and we would love to see you there.
If you would like to attend any of the workshops, please let us know.
The Pairc Trust Road Run will take place on Saturday 27th August. More details to follow.
A HISTORY OF THE PAIRC TRUST BUYOUT:
Pairc Trust have commissioned Dr Bob Chambers to write a history of the buyout, which we hope will be published in 2017.
This reflects the widespread interest locally and nationally in the experience of the Pairc buyout, which took some 13 years to complete. The purpose is to provide an accurate and dispassionate account for future reference of the various stages of the buyout since early 2003, and an independent assessment of lessons to be learned from the experience. We believe this will be of interest to Government, other communities engaged in or contemplating land ownership, and to the people of Pairc.
Bob Chambers recently completed a PhD at the Centre for History at UHI on land settlement schemes during the inter-war period in the Hebrides, and is familiar with the Pairc and other recent community buyouts. The views expressed will be his own.
In undertaking the research for the project, Bob will wish to consult a range of people who have been involved in the Pairc buyout over the years. This will include past and present Directors of Pairc Trust, the previous owner of Pairc Estate, other crofters and residents of Pairc, officials in national and local government and their agencies, and others involved with community land organisations.
We hope you will co-operate with Bob if he approaches you. If you wish your views to be treated as confidential, this will be respected.
Bob Chambers started work on the project in March 2016 and plans to complete the project in early 2017. Most of the consultation will take place in Summer and Autumn 2016. If anyone would like to contact Bob, his email address is firstname.lastname@example.org