Can you help Coigach buy the Smokehouse?

Altandhu - where the Smokehouse sits looking out over the Summer Isles

Achiltibuie Smokehouse Fundraising

Coigach Community Development Company has successfully secured £104,500 towards the £110,000 asking price for the vacant Achiltibuie smokehouse property. We now need to raise the remaining £5,500.

If CCDC succeed in completing the purchase, the award from the Scottish Land Fund will include funding for a project officer to drive forward the developments for the first two years, including help towards refurbishment and development of the building, and support with the establishment of one or more businesses in the premises.

Over many years the smokehouse was a central pillar of our local economy, and now following the departure of Summer Isles Foods it can regain that important role with the help of the community. There have been lots of ideas coming for the development of new and existing businesses in the building, bringing the prospect of steady local employment once more – we just need to complete the purchase!

We have already had some generous people come forward with spontaneous donations towards the funds we need.  CCDC would now like to extend an opportunity to everyone who would like to make a contribution to this new, challenging and exciting chapter in the life of the Coigach community by making a small (or large of course…!) financial contribution to it. We need to complete the purchase by mid-March, so unfortunately we don’t have time to organise any big fund-raising events.

Enquiries regarding a contribution can be directed to Julia Campbell (622379 / coigachldo@hotmail.co.uk). Cheques should be made out to : Coigach Community Development Company and can be posted to CCDC, FAO J. Campbell, Coigach Community Hall, Achiltibuie, IV26 2YG.

Details of our new fundraising account will be here very soon but we will of course welcome any contributions in the meantime!

Many thanks in advance for every contribution that helps us complete the purchase of the Achiltibuie Smokehouse. We plan to devise a creative way to acknowledge donors when the building is refurbished and welcome ideas for that too, but we will also respect the privacy of those who prefer to remain anonymous.

Thanks to all in Coigach and beyond who have supported us in spirit so far and of course the Big Lottery Fund, HIE and the Scottish Government for the funding award.

Julia Campbell

Local Development Officer

Coigach Community Development Company

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Great News for the Achiltibuie Smokehouse from the Scottish Land Fund!

Sheep Comment

Our bid for funding from the Scottish Land Fund has been successful: this means we have 95% of the purchase price of £110k and funding for a project officer  to drive forward plans for redevelopment of the former Achiltibuie Smokehouse building. Watch this space for details but in the meantime here is the press release from the Big Lottery Fund:

Scottish Land Fund Grants Awarded

A community in Wester Ross is one of four today (FRI 22 FEB) taking control of their future, thanks to the new Scottish Land Fund, as the first grants are announced.

Launched last year, the £6 million Scottish Land Fund is funded by the Scottish Government and delivered by the Big Lottery Fund in partnership with Highlands and Islands Enterprise. Today’s awards, of over £3/4 million, in Wester Ross, Cowal, Moray Firth, and the Borders means these four communities can now purchase land and assets ensuring they are able to shape their own brighter future.

Scottish Land Fund Committee Chair, John Watt, said: “We know from experience that communities can achieve great things when they own and manage local land and land assets. So I am delighted to announce this first round of funding to these three projects and look forward to seeing them develop. Land ownership helps build independent, resilient and confident communities which benefits, not only themselves, but the country as a whole. The Scottish Land Fund, with funding over three years, aims to empower more rural communities, giving them the tools and resources they need so they can achieve their plans of local sustainability.”

Richard Lochhead, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs & Environment said, “I am delighted that the Scottish Land Fund is empowering four of our rural communities in Moray Firth, Cowal, Wester Ross and the Borders to take control of their own future by helping them to acquire land and community assets. These innovative and diverse projects will bring clear long term benefits, making each community stronger, resilient and more sustainable. I would urge other communities to look at these projects – three of which are achieved through the community right to buy provisions and the National Forest Land Scheme – to see how community land ownership and funding from the Scottish Land Fund can make a real difference to them.”

 

Achiltibuie is a remote crofting and fishing community in the Coigach area of Wester Ross. Thanks to today’s Scottish Land Grant of £160,700 the Coigach Community Development Company can purchase Achiltibuie Smokehouse land and buildings and ensure community control of any future development. Ownership of the land and building presents significant potential business growth and employment opportunities for the area. Plans have still to be finalised but it is envisaged that the site will be designed to provide a flexible space accommodating food and tourism industries.

Ian Muir, Chairman, Coigach Community Development Company, said, “This is great news. This time last year we learned that our biggest employer and tourist attraction, Summer Isle Foods, was moving to Alness and, with all these jobs going, things looked gloomy. A year on and, thanks to this funding, we can complete the purchase of the smokehouse they vacated. It’s a very exciting time for us all and we look forward to establishing a vibrant new business to bring employment to the community.”

Alex Paterson, Chief Executive of Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), which is delivering the Scottish Land Fund in partnership with the Big Lottery Fund, said: “Highlands and Islands Enterprise is delighted to be playing a part in delivering the Scottish Land Fund, along with our colleagues in Big Lottery Fund Scotland. These first four grants, each for very different projects, will empower these community groups and help them to determine their own futures. This announcement is only the beginning of the journey for these groups and for the Land Fund itself.”

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Happy New Year!

And thanks to these hairy locals - owned by CCDC director Ben Walton.
And thanks to these hairy locals – owned by CCDC director Ben Walton.

 

Another busy year for CCDC beckons! With fresh new diaries on their desks, the staff and directors are looking at their To Do lists and bashing on with implementing the community development plan and working towards Coigach’s future sustainability.

Tanera: We will shortly select a consultant to carry out a quick appraisal of options to look at the pros and cons of possible purchase of the island for the community. This will enable us to make an informed decision regarding purchase  and it will be helpful to all to look at the possibilities from a different viewpoint.

The Smokehouse: Having cleared many of the hurdles of the community right to buy process, we are nearing a crucial point in the proceedings. If funding is firmly secured, we should be in a position to purchase soon – but there’s still a bit of work to do so watch this space and see what the Spring brings!

Housing & Workshop Units – still on the agenda, still working towards achieving these essentials on the community wish list!

Badentarbet Pier & Old Dornie Harbour: the feasibility study is still ongoing. Wallace Stone have carried out extensive surveying and consultation work and now Steve Westbrook is looking at the economics. Hopefully we’ll soon have a draft report of their findings which will give us further information to look at the scope for community ownership and/or developments and improvements.

Renewable Energy: work continues through our subsiduary companies Coigach Wind Power Ltd (community wind turbine) and Ben Mor Hydro (joint hydro power venture with Scottish Wildlife Trust) to drive these projects forward and closer to our goal of a sustainable income – to help with all the projects above and more.

CCDC and Citizens Online will shortly be embarking on informal training sessions for local people who would like to use the internet and who might be missing out if they don’t know how. Sessions will be kicking off soon so if you know someone that could benefit from accessing services, shopping, travel (and fun!) online please contact coigachldo@hotmail.co.uk . Training will be free, friendly and local – in the hall with a cup of tea.

And we (LDOs)  are particularly pleased to report that funding and contracts for the Local Development Officer (LDO)  post has been extended to include 2013 so that’s a good start!   Peter Muir and Julia Campbell will continue to share the post and are can be contacted by email coigachldo@hotmail.co.uk by phone: Peter 01854 622 444, Julia 01854 622 379, visited in the hall most Wednesday mornings from 10am – or stopped in the road, post office or shops if you have any queries, comments, suggestions or ideas.

 

 

 

Summer Isles Smokehouse Ballot

Summer Isles Foods Smokehouse

Community Right to Buy: The former Smokehouse building, Altandhu, Coigach.

Coigach Community Development Company will be holding a postal ballot to ascertain the view of all those on Coigach’s electoral roll on the following question:
“Do you support the Coigach Community Development Company’s aim to buy the Smokehouse building and associated land at Altandhu, Coigach IV26 2YR (subject to funding) for community benefit?”
Ballot papers will be sent out by Highland Council on 21st September 2012, for return by 4pm on Thursday 4th October 2012 at the latest. If you have any queries regarding voting please contact Cheryl Thomson at Highland Council on 01463 702 945. Ballot papers will be counted by Highland Council and the Scottish Government will be notified of the results

ACHILTIBUIE SMOKEHOUSE COMMUNITY RIGHT TO BUY TRIGGERED

Smokehouse Building at Altan Dubh, CoigachWe received confirmation today from the Scottish Government that our Community Right to Buy (CRTB) of the Achiltibuie Smokehouse has been triggered. We now enter a six month period which will see the land and building being valued, a community ballot, a business plan being produced and the community raising the funds for the purchase.

The deadline for exchange of missives and transferring funds is in February 2013.

More on this as the story develops.