Watch again! Community Assembly 27 May 2021

Around 35 folk came along for the half time team talk on Thursday evening 27 May, midway through preparation of the Community Action Plan. What commitment to your community on the first warm evening of summer!


The Community Action Planning team gave a progress update in the first half hour, including a summary of:

1.  Where we are in the process:
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4.  What came out of the recent public working groups (click on link for more information).


The rest of the evening was spent in group discussions, giving everybody lots of opportunity to share points of view and steer the Community Action Plan process.  Lots of very helpful points were made, as you can see if you scroll down to the Discussion Summaries below.

A quick anonymous feedback poll at the end produced the following responses:
  • Did you find tonight worthwhile? 22 said yes, 3 unsure, 1 no. 
  • Will you come to a working group? 21 said yes, 4 unsure, 1 no.
  • Would you come to another Community Assembly later in the summer? Everyone said yes.


Everybody is welcome to the second round of working groups, starting on Tuesday 8 June. Help work out the big ideas, action areas and general principles for the draft Community Action Plan in late June/July. More details here.

A draft plan will then be prepared for everyone to see and comment on over the summer - published online, with opportunities for discussion at youth and community events in July.  Keep an eye for updates.

If you think anything is missing, please get in touch, come to one of the working groups or add a Comment at the bottom of this news post.


  • Who is struggling? Needs more investigation.
  • Younger and older populations need care, maybe a place/building.
  • Signposting people towards support.
  • Support mental health charities for the area.
  • People working full time who struggle to afford to live here
  • Winter heating costs.
  • BCC moving to work with wider range of ages.

  • Bring in a proper consultant to discuss options for energy for the community, eg dedicated community wind turbine on the estates, solar, a centralised battery for power storage

  • Directory of local tradespeople.
  • Make more of apprenticeship scheme, extend it to include traineeships, work placements etc.

  • Community woodland - various potential locations around Foyers and Inverfarigaig
  • Campsite may have been purchased already.
  • Crofting - woodland and open land, creating business opportunities, conserving woodland, supporting school/shop.

  • Affordable homes for “key workers” (people who don’t earn so much but benefit the community), young people, families, old people, carers - so they can live in the community.
  • Homes need to be eco, warm, not damp, 
  • Take care of current housing stock.
  • Tied cottages and estates: could people could move to another estate when they retire if they fix old housing?
  • Where can people go for help and support with rented accommodation? - citizens advice.
  • Help with maintenance and internet for older folk. 

  • Don’t want to over-urbanise.
  • More rural approach.
  • Balance of development.

  • Sustainable tourism: more to do, more reasons for visitors to stay longer - not really a destination place at the moment (but maybe peace and quiet is the key feature?)
  • Scenic routes projects to focus visitors - could set up one scenic route and see how it goes (Loch Ness for visitors, other places for locals).

  • Bus not fulfilling the needs of the community - for some people the bus is their only life-line.
  • Blanket 40mph limit to reduce speeding.
  • Safe pedestrian/cycling within and between villages 
  • Restrict types of vehicles - eg alternative routes for timber lorries not through town.
  • Fixing potholes on private roads. Older folks need help. How do you get people to help out? How many people need help?
  • Fixing/improving roads, cycling and walking needs Council support.
  • ‘Improving’ roads means different things to different people - e.g. from fixing potholes to double-tracking.
  • How will windfarm expansion affect changes to roads?
  • Strong links between transport and tourism.

  • Important to cover all age groups.
  • Community centre? Make more use of spaces we have already, plus replacement of Gorthleck Hall.
  • Sports facility - would make area much more attractive and help keep people, need to balance between locals and visitors.
  • Sport activities are really important, eg SOSA for adults, activities for kids (and all ages) which could take place at the Riverside Field if it offers sensory garden, kids play, gym, walks etc.
  • Need access to water (eg kayaking, skiffs) and places to store equipment (e.g. old fish farm).
  • More informal education and activities - e.g. U3A, OU, coding classes (build new CC website!), rural activities, shared young/old.
  • What challenges do people face at different life stages? (what provision is there now, what do people need?)
  • Future of primary school(s) - no consensus.  Underlying issues include low school rolls, educational experience, bringing younger and older people together, nursery provision, after school club…

  • Wildside as administrative hub.
  • Community resources store where people can have access to things to fix problems themselves.
  • Co-ordinate activities of community groups to deliver Community Action Plan, need to work in partnership.
  • Regular informal chit-chats amongst community groups, sharing of information, promote themselves. 
  • Expand the discussion beyond the Trust.
  • More dialogue on decision-making, eg Riverside Field.
  • Engaging those who aren’t involved will help more people on board - shared responsibility between residents and groups.
  • Activities and action will only happen if people step up.
  • Don’t rely on volunteers.
  • Gap between volunteers and paid staff, 
  • Paid support needed for funding applications, admin, help co-ordinate piecemeal activities etc.
  • What skills do we have already?

  • Think long term, focus on transformational change - community/economy are imperative, e.g. we have to have housing/infrastructure to make other things happen.
  • More people of working age - grow the community, more families, create jobs, more facilities.
  • Create a sustainable community.
  • Balance between different options - visitors, nature, community, jobs etc. 

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