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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 email@example.com 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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: email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.com