Growing our own food has so many benefits – social, health, environmental, longer shelf life of produce, educational, recreational, and as is becoming increasingly important, cost…
We are undertaking a community survey to establish what need we have in Coigach, and how CCDC can help facilitate any food growing projects.
The survey is for everyone who lives in Coigach – please take a few minutes to fill it in. Post completed surveys, by July 31st, into the CCDC mailbox in the Coigach Community Hall. Alternatively, hand them to Ann Marie or Julia, or email scans/photos of your answers to Ann Marie: email@example.com
Here’s a link to it for printing out, or there are copies in the Community Hall, at Achiltibuie Stores and the Campsite Shop in Altandhu:
Donald MacLeod, our brilliant friend and colleague, was an inspirational part of our little team. Donald was instrumental in developing CCDC’s Community Fund. Always an advocate for inclusion, he was determined that the fund should be easily accessible to people in Coigach to help them take part in education and training or activities that would make a difference to them for the better. Sadly we lost Donald in 2021 and he is keenly missed by all at CCDC, the community of Coigach and beyond. We were proud to know Donald and will always be grateful for the valuable contribution he made to the community in his role as Development Officer. In recognition of that, the Education Grant Donald helped set up has now been re-launched as the Donald MacLeod Memorial Bursary. The purpose of this fund is to inspire and enable people belonging to the community of Coigach, aged 16+ to pursue training and education and the fund is open for applications throughout the year.
“An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest” Benjamin Franklin
“Nowhere is it written that you can’t do it” Elena Ferrante, My Brilliant Friend
This photo of Donald was taken by photographer Fi Taylor as part of the Coigach: Who We Are project supported by Coigach Heritage. The resulting book features photographs of Coigach residents taken over the past two or three years and is valuable record of the community.
For an application form for the Donald MacLeod Memorial Bursary, The CCDC Wellbeing Fund, Supporting Children & Young People Fund or the Small Grant for Community Organisations please go to the Community Fund tab on this website.
CCDC is seeking an enthusiastic and experienced individual to take our affordable housing projects further.
We are inviting applications in the form of your CV with an accompanying letter outlining your experience in housing , current land legislation, funding, contracting and community engagement (particularly with crofting communities).
In the first instance and for further information please contact Julia Campbell, firstname.lastname@example.org (tel 07745205433).
Following the recent online survey and local interviews the NorthWest2045 project would now like to invite local residents to hear and discuss the initial results at an online workshop. We will be hosting three, each focused on a particular area within the North West Highlands, and at these sessions we’ll be sharing findings and asking the following questions;
What are people’s hopes for the future of the North West Highlands?
What are some of the key opportunities for developing a more thriving future for our place? And which are the most important to local people?
What action might we take to make our vision a reality?
The one for Coigach and Assynt is scheduled for 7pm on Wednesday 2nd June.
Everyone, of all ages, is invited to come and take part in the discussion – so please sign up to your local workshop using the registration link in the attached invitation and share this invitation with your friends, family, colleagues and neighbours. With your help we hope to bring a diverse mix of perspectives to the discussion.
“this frieze of mountains, filed on the blue air –
Stac Polly, Cul Beag, Cul Mor, Suilven, Canisp – a frieze and a litany. Who owns this landscape?”
‘A Man in Assynt’ – Norman MacCaig
Coigach Community Development Company (CCDC) and Coigach & Assynt Living Landscape Partnership (CALLP) have been working together successfully for many years. Together CCDC & CALLP have built paths, restored historic buildings, commissioned oral history projects, supported young people playing and recording music, and are currently working on a project to design a heritage trail for Coigach and Assynt. The ideologies and work ethic of the two organisations are very much attuned, core values being the preservation and improvement of the natural environment and heritage, making this stunningly beautiful corner of northern Scotland an attractive and viable place for people to visit, live and work.
New project – The Coigach and Assynt Collection – will strengthen the relationship between the people of the two communities.
This new residency sits within a wider context and project which highlights a sense of place and celebrates the stories and people of the area with new music being commissioned which will be installed in the landscape. Additional info about The Coigach & Assynt Collection is available, on request.
The residency is part of a growing emphasis being placed on the importance of creative exchange with the communities of Coigach & Assynt.
The Coigach and Assynt Collectionproject involves two phases and will take place in 2021 over late spring and early autumn. Activity involves:
End May2- 3 days + nights to walk + explore Coigach + Assynt
visit key outdoor sites with input from project team
identify areas of interest + research
begin to build connections with 8 musicians
begin to develop relationships in the communities
liaison with key contacts locally
follow up with musicians
new work developed
liaison with technical support to determine how best to present outdoors
ideas agreed with project team which link in with the wider programme
final artwork edited/recorded/shared with key parties + made ready ready for public presentation
some liaison with project team over marketing + publicity + print + risk assessments
Early Septminimum of 7 days + nights
work on site
participate in final stage of the project
Ideas involve thinking afresh about place, memory, sound and developing new work for remote rural contexts. C-19 provides an added impetus to think creatively about our communities, to explore what our places mean to us and to find new ways of expressing this.
Process will involve:
regular Zoom sessions with members of the community to share memories & build relationships;
researching unusual sites and recording sounds;
supporting the formation of new collaborative relationships;
breaking down stereotypes about trad music & contemporary visual art & the Highlands
being experimental about the ‘where’ and the ‘how’;
running one workshop + giving a talk*;
acting as a mentor for one young person*;
being sensitive about using local resources & liaison with people locally and not bringing in materials from outwith the area if they can be found close-by;
using C-19 as an opp to be genuinely innovative and experimental;
having access to a wealth of research material which has been recently researched and made available by Coigach Heritage Group (history fishing industry, testimonies about life on the island of Tanera, etc).
*NOTE – to be agreed with the appointed artist/s. Whether the artist is involved in a workshop or mentoring will be dependent on the nature and approach of the appointed artist/s. We will match up the young people – the mentees – with suitable mentors.
The visual artist-in-residence will work alongside a number of creative contributors and members of the community. Musicians involved range from award-winning experienced performer/composers to early-stage professionals. There are a number of community members with a broad range of skills, backgrounds and professions who will support the project in different ways. This may range from helping construct work on site, to sharing stories about different industries, people and places.
Creative opportunity + emergent themes
We are seeking a visual artist who enjoys being part of a creative collaborative process and working with people, who is sensitive to rural community contexts, receptive to working outdoors in the landscape, who’s open to sharing skills with others and experienced working in visual art, film, new media and/or who is multidisciplinary in their approach.
The following themes have emerged from a recent piece of oral history research and in extensive discussion about the new arts project:
developing new work & performance for remote rural contexts;
idea of ‘home’ + what this means.
Collaborative working and creative exchange are at the heart of the project. Working during a pandemic adds another element to the challenging environment. We envisage that collaboration will take different forms. In some instances, artists may form close relationships or working alliances with community members. In other cases, collaboration may involve artists connecting with other creative practitioners. We value all levels and forms of collaboration.
The programme will take place on site over two stages – late spring (May) and early autumn (Sept). Work will take place off site between these stages off-site. Project team members have structured the onsite periods to enable the appointed artists to maximise their time, to help the artist/s forge connections and to deepen their engagement with Coigach & Assynt.
During the residency, we anticipate that the artist will:
widen knowledge about Coigach & Assynt;
form new relationships in the communities;
help to support others through workshops/training;
be open to working and collaborating with musicians;
connect and engage with local residents (informally & more formally through talks);
be an active part of a large process of creative exchange.
We are imagining that the artist’s new work will be installed at a number of sites across Coigach and Assynt. A list of key possible sites has been drawn up for artists to visit in May.
On-site activity will go ahead if restrictions allow and social distancing measures will be followed. Provision will be made to implement a back-up plan if on-site activity proves problematic.
Who are we looking for?
We are seeking an artist or artist/film-maker whose practice demonstrates inclusivity and who relishes collaboration, who is open to working with musicians and who actively enjoy/s working with communities. Applications from artists who are currently under-represented in the Highlands & Islands are warmly welcomed.
We are looking for someone who understands and works well in rural contexts and has an awareness of the specific challenges that come from working in remote locations (from being canny about identifying resources to connecting quickly with people).
We are seeking applications from an artist who can respond quickly, who is a good problem solver and resourceful, who has worked collaboratively and is not daunted by the challenges involved in working with a widely dispersed population.
We are seeking an artist who recognises that the communities place importance on creative exchange – a two-way process – and who can work to a defined timeframe, budget, and successfully deliver work.
Fees & Expenses
Residency fee £3500
Accommodation to be provided
Resources people + film + written + recorded research material
Travel expenses are available
Stage One 20th – 23rd May 2021 (on site)
Stage Two June, July, August (off-site)
Stage Three 7th – 13th September (on- site)
CV + covering letter (total word count of 1500 for both) to be submitted as an expression of interest to Ann Marie Firth-Bernard at email@example.com by Tuesday 27th April. For further information phone Susan Christie on 07841 591873. Applications to be submitted by WeTransfer for large files or links. Max file size of 10MB for emailed files. Supporting material – e.g. sound, Vimeo links, images, etc. are welcomed. Please limit these to a max of 3 weblinks.
IMPORTANT – Applicants must be able to commit to the May & Sept dates outlined above to fully participate in the project.
Selection panel of 5 members with arts’ and heritage experience will review applications and invite shortlist of applicants to interview by Zoom to take place, week beginning 3rd May. A final decision will be reached by the week commencing 10th May.
Greetings from CCDC! Read on to find out what’s been happening…
Welcome to the spring newsletter. We hope this finds you safe and well and hopefully seeing a light at the end of the pandemic tunnel with the vaccines. We realise things won’t be back to normal for a while yet and, in response to this, we have relaunched the CCDC Crisis Fund for people who are struggling financially at the moment. We urge you to contact us (confidentially of course) if you live in Coigach and feel that this would be of benefit to you.
Despite restrictions, we have found ways to move forward with several projects, ranging from organising a fantastic pop-up cafe with the Community Hall, to housing, arts and heritage…
Coigach Pop-up Cafe and Cakeway
We were delighted to receive funding through Scottish Government’s Community Recovery Fund via HIE to help Coigach Community Trust who runs the hall. The fund enabled Coigach Community Hall to run a successful pop-up cafe to enable people to meet up safely while we were still in Level 1 before Christmas. With tighter restrictions since, a rethink
was needed and the service was adapted to Coigach Cakeway so a goody bag containing soup, sandwiches and cake is delivered to households on request. If you or someone you know would enjoy this treat please contact Julie Edwards, 01854 622 409 firstname.lastname@example.org. If you wish to make a donation to the hall, we suggest £5 but this is not obligatory do don’t miss out if you’re minding the pennies!
Housing Options’ Appraisal Our Housing Needs Survey highlighted the fact that we desperately need more affordable housing on the peninsula if we are to address the problem of depopulation long term. Housing is CCDC’s number one priority and we recently engaged Alison Sinclair to undertake a full Housing Options’ Appraisal for Coigach. We are now in the process of considering the most promising options and hope to have news before too long. Please contact us if you’d like to talk about housing: we’re gathering information all the time and your input will help us get the best new homes for the area.
Coigach and Assynt Living Landscape Partnership Projects
The Coigach and Assynt Collection We are delighted to announce that we have been awarded funding from Creative Scotland, in addition to funding from CALLP, for a new arts’ project for this year. With The Coigach and Assynt Collection we are working with some of Scotland’s high profile musicians to produce new compositions, performances and mixed media installations in the landscape, and will shortly be putting out a call for an artist in residence to work alongside the musicians. Watch this space!
The current Music and Tales of Coigach and Assynt projects are reaching their final stages and we’re really looking forward to hearing Mary Ann Kennedy and her team’s composition and to seeing Ronan Martin’s new book of music, stories and photographs. These promise to be two outstanding pieces of work which reflect beautifully on our communities. For more information about Music and Tales, here’s the link to CALLP’s website: Music & Tales of Coigach & Assynt – Coigach & Assynt Living Landscape (coigach-assynt.org)
Fox Point Through CALLP we are about to embark on some improvements to the Fox Point Path. Following consultation with landowners, crofters and path users it was agreed that a “light touch” was preferred. So although you won’t see any drastic changes, it should be easier to use with a bit of attention to boggy patches and improved access at both ends. We have just appointed a contractor to undertake the work with a view to completion this summer.
Coigach and Assynt Heritage Signage CCDC and Historic Assynt are working together on this new CALLP project, the aim of which is to establish a Heritage Trail through Coigach and Assynt which will appeal to local people and visitors alike. We have engaged Seoras Burnett as a researcher to work with us to pinpoint the most suitable and interesting stop-off points on the Trail. Seoras has been in contact with members of both communities and has made presentations to both Community Councils. We’re hoping to produce a Heritage Trail leaflet, have a presence online and to have signs and information panels made over the coming months.
Community Land Scotland Art Project: Owning Our Future
We’ve been working with Susan Christie on a Community Land Scotland funded project to find out how our community has responded to issues raised by the pandemic, and to explore how we move forward. The project has involved talking to different members of the community and has also produced the beautiful map of Coigach pictured here. There are several other communities across Scotland taking part in this Owning Our Future project and we look forward to watching the film about them all which is currently being made.
And, finally, joining our experienced team of volunteer Directors, we welcome Jen Nutkins and Robin Irvine onto CCDC’s Board!
In view of the current situation (January 2021) we are re-launching the Coigach Crisis Fund which was originally made available in March 2020.
This Confidential fund is to help Coigach residents who are in immediate need as a result of the ongoing Covid-19 Pandemic. The emergency fund is to help with basic household expenses and to ensure anyone who has lost their income recently has access to funds swiftly. Payment will be made directly to your bank account. We will aim to make payments within 24 hours of receipt and approval of an application, though in some situations we may require further information and full board approval.
Many people in Coigach are self-employed, have a variety of jobs and may rely on tourism for their primary source of income. We understand that government assistance may be available but in the meantime this fund generated by our community-owned wind turbine is here to tide you over if you do not have savings or a means of support for basic essentials.
Fuel – including electricity, coal etc and petrol/diesel for essential journeys
Phone & broadband bills
Rent/mortgage payments (for your main home)
HOW TO APPLY FOR COIGACH CRISIS FUND:
Please download the Coigach Crisis Fund form 2021 here and email the completed form to email@example.com. If you have any difficulty, please phone Julia Campbell 01854 622 379 or 07745205433, you can also contact me by messenger. Although many of you know me personally, please be assured your application will be treated with strictest confidence and I will advise you as best I can. If you prefer, you may speak to Ann Marie Firth-Bernard (LDO) or one of CCDC’s directors: Iain Muir, Iain Scott, Ben Walton, Seumas Hitchings, Ann (Ali Beag) Macleod, Sheila Green, Jen Nutkins, Robin Irvine or Richard Williams.
Details of funding available is on the form.
If you know someone who does not have online access or who will have difficulty with this, please tell them to phone Julia 622 379 or Ann Marie 622 389 and we can make other arrangements.
Investigate and agree with the project coordinators sites for signposts, interpretation panels and plinths on a new Heritage Trail route through Coigach and Assynt, in consultation with community groups and the wider community
Identify land ownership and agree with the project coordinators appropriate locations for potential placement of signage for approval by landowners, including seeking planning permission where necessary
Work with project coordinators to collate information about each agreed site for inclusion on the leaflet, panels and website pages
Collaborate with project coordinators on working up a detailed brief for a graphic designer for the Heritage Trail leaflet, interpretation panels and signposting.
Have proven experience of working on similar projects
Be a confident communicator, with the ability to listen and work with others
Have an extensive knowledge and understanding of Coigach and Assynt
Have an interest in the histories of people and landscapes
Be diligent and meticulous
Have the ability to work on your own initiative and to work to deadlines
Have an understanding of the wider CALLP project and of its vision
Have access to your own transport
Be confident using video-conferencing applications
Enjoy the great outdoors and photography.
A fee of £3000 (inclusive of VAT if applicable) has been allocated for this contract.
Interested? Here is further information and details about how to apply:
Contact Ann Marie at CCDC: firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
The deadline for applications is midnight on Sunday 22 November 2020
The Coigach & Assynt Living Landscape Partnership (CALLP) Scheme comprises 14 organisations working together to deliver 32 projects over a five-year period, with principal funding secured from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
Greetings from CCDC! Read on to find out what’s been happening…
Welcome to the autumn newsletter. We hope this finds you safe and well. The last few months coping with the pandemic have been difficult, a new experience to navigate. CCDC has been working with local groups to try to help and, boosted by some extra Scottish Government funding, we have been able to provide masks, hand sanitiser and financial help when it was needed during the first lockdown period. We have also set up a mental health support page on our website (www.coigachcommunity.com) in recognition of the fact that some people may be struggling.
Coigach Community Fund The turbines are busy working away, turning wind and water into money for the community. Here’s a breakdown of the public grants that CCDC has been able to award so far. Please have a look at the website or the Community Grants leaflet for more details – leaflets are available in the Post Office. We’re in the process of updating the website to include details of all grants awarded to date.
CCDC Supporting Children and Young People Fund: £2474.50
CCDC Education and Training Bursaries Fund: £8270.97
CCDC Wellbeing Fund: £3000.20
CCDC Welcome Coigach Baby: £1000
CCDC Small Grant Fund for Organisations: £36,550.67 – e.g. providing the school with devices for online learning and helping the Community Hall financially while it has such a limited income
CCDC Crisis Fund (using Supporting Communities Fund from the Scottish Government via Highlands and Islands Enterprise): £12,900
In addition to these established funds we invested in such things as upgrading our wind turbine’s control system for increased efficiency and replaced all the Schoolhouse windows with modern, double-glazed units.
News from Community Land Scotland We are delighted to announce that CCDC has been selected, along with only 5 other community groups across Scotland, to take part in a project – Owning Our Future – to look at how we responded to the Covid-19 crisis. We’ll be working with a facilitator to create a plan for moving forward. This is a community project so we hope to involve lots of people. For more information, including details of the facilitator’s post if you’re interested in applying, have a look at the Community Land Scotland website: https://www.communitylandscotland.org.uk/whats-new/owning-our-future/.
New Community Development Plan With Covid-19 colouring everyone’s plans for the near future, CCDC included, we hope soon to put the finishing touches to our revised Community Development Plan, having had to put it on hold in the spring. We had lots of community input – and, unsurprisingly, the top priority identified then was affordable homes for people. We’re currently working with Alison Sinclair who is undertaking an options’ appraisal exercise. In other news, the Schoolhouse is shortly to have new tenants. Congratulations to them and best of luck to Suzie in her new venture and to Sarah and Seumas in their new home!
Coigach and Assynt Living Landscape Partnership projects We continue to collaborate with CALLP on projects, including the lovely Acheninver Path network, which runs down the Youth Hostel Burn and up from the cliff above Acheninver beach, and Music and Tales of Coigach and Assynt (see below). We’re also working with Laura Hamlet on improving the path around Fox Point, and on the Sense of Place project, the aim of which is to produce ‘toolkits’ of written and visual information for use by the people of Coigach and Assynt. Future projects include signage and a map for a new Heritage Trail.
Music and Tales is a wonderful project, just heading into its fifth year. Ronan Martin, a Skye based designer and musician, is working with a team to take the oral history research project completed in 2019 and make it into a beautiful book of songs, tunes, photographs and stories. The Coigach and Assynt Collection will be a book to treasure and we hope to see it in print before too long. Alongside this project, musician, broadcaster and writer Mary Ann Kennedy and her team are composing an album of music, again inspired by Lorraine Kelly’s piece of research. They have managed to spend some time up here recently, and during the lockdown met with members of the Coigach and Assynt communities via Zoom. This promises to be an exciting and unique composition, mixing elements of traditional and contemporary music. Watch this space for plans for next year’s part of the project.
Annual General Meeting This year’s AGM is to take place on Monday 16 November at 7pm by Zoom – we look forward to seeing you! Relevant documents will be sent out in good time. If you’re unfamiliar with Zoom, please don’t hesitate to get in touch in advance for advice and a practise run if you so wish!
We’re always looking for new voices on the CCDC Board – directors’ nomination forms are on the website (completed forms to be with us by 7pm on Monday 9 November), and we also welcome new CCDC members – those forms too are on the website.
Coigach Community Development Company (CCDC) has secured funding from the Scottish Government, via Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), to support the community of Coigach during the COVID-19 crisis, from the Supporting Communities Fund.
We are therefore able to support people in the communities in various ways:
some business expenses eg shop deliveries and safe shopping (for delivery/packaging/hygiene costs)
cloth mask packs
purchase of essential supplies and/or equipment
delivering meals to vulnerable people
CCDC’s Crisis Fund is also still available – see previous post for details and application process.
And CCDC’s Community Funds is still open for applications should you wish to sign-up for an online course, or invest in something to improve your well-being. Again, please get in touch to ask!
Please get in touch for further information or if there is anything in particular you would like help with – we’d welcome suggestions! For instance, would you welcome tech help to get online, or zoom your family? Or educational/creative resources for the kids?
Production is under way for the Coigach Mask and you can order one for your household now:
Free Covid 19 face covering mask and sanitiser gel pack for Coigach residents. In light of new Scottish Government advice about the wearing of cloth face-coverings in situations where social distancing is not easily possible, Coigach Covid 19 Support Group with funding through CCDC are preparing a free pack for each household, if wanted. The pack will contain hand sanitising gel and a hot-washable, reusable cloth face mask (professionally made locally) with two washable filters and instruction sheet.
Contact Julia Campbell if you would like one delivered to your door – please order using whichever method suits you:
phone (01854) 622 379
send a note by post to Julia Campbell, CCDC, c/o Lower Acheninver, Achiltibuie
Folk who have already notified us don’t need to phone again.