LCDC News April / May 2018

 What’s been going on down at the Lochcarron Community Development Company?

The winter months have again been a very busy time and we have seen some significant strides forward at the Lochcarron Community Development Company and we are now poised for the exciting times ahead.

It hasn’t all been plain sailing and we have also endured some setbacks during recent months.

As some of you may already know changes were required to the board of LCDC prompted by the decision of our Chair, Avril MacKenzie, to stand down as a director and not seek re-election. The board of LCDC, its members and volunteers would like to say a massive “Thank You” to Avril for all her hard work and commitment over many years and across all facets of LCDC.

In addition, Janet Price whose input has always been of great value to the board has also decided that, unfortunately due to work commitments, she is no longer able to dedicate the time to fulfil her role as a member of the LCDC board, and has decided also to stand down as a director.

Two new directors have been appointed to the LCDC board, Bart McFleat and Colin Sharp who together bring substantial engineering and business expertise to the board.

During the winter months a dedicated band of volunteers have been working hard to improve access and facilities within Kirkton Woodland, and a big thank you goes out to all who have taken part. Whilst on the subject of Kirkton Woodland, LCDC have now secured the purchase of a plot of land in Kirkton Gardens which will enable the construction of an access road into the woodland and supports our aim to provide sites for affordable housing, including self-build, within the site.

The housing project is at the stage where An ‘Expression of Interest’ Form together with an application for Feasibility Funding to the The Rural Housing Fund has been submitted, with options for a phased housing development on the land under LCDC’s ownership.  If the Feasibility Study funding is granted, the next stage involves an application to the Main Fund.  If successful- the estimated turnaround time for acceptance by the Main Fund would be September/October 2018. Highland Small Community Housing Trust will be working closely with us throughout this process.

Unfortunately our application for Lottery funding to relocate the West Highland Dairy to a new facility on the Smithy Hub site, although reaching the last 39 applications being considered nationally, failed to secure the necessary funds and therefore a ‘plan b’, a slightly less ambitious option is now being developed in conjunction with David and Cath Biss. This will have a much higher chance of success and enable us to maintain the traditional cheese makers craft for future generations and provide both a visitor attraction and centre of excellence to prospective artisan cheese makers world-wide.

Dates for our regular seasonal Producers’ Markets are already confirmed and following the first of this year’s on Friday 27th April will take place on the last Friday of each month from May to October 2018 between 11:00 and 15:00. We look forward to seeing everyone there and welcome some new stall holders as well as the ever popular regulars. Our regular kitchen guru Gill is out of action just now so there will be a reduced menu of soup sandwiches and delicious sweets for the time being.

In March we had a busy premier of the wonderful film that the Local schoolchildren have all produced together with our Animateur Lynda and lots of other talented local helpers, the screen play was written by the children and the film was filmed and directed by them. It was inspired by from the historical work the children were doing on Kirkton Woodland and is a poignant story about a family being cleared from the land. This will be available to purchase as a DVD. Please let us know if you’d like to be added to a pre-order list.

Lynda held another bush craft activity week on during the Easter holidays which was as popular as ever. The children enjoy a range of safe and healthy outdoor activities, including tree-planting, outdoor cooking, wildlife photography, games, shelter building, nature art and much more. These experiences are invaluable for our youngsters in building confidence, skills, friendships and experience. We are very lucky to have Lynda’s energy, enthusiasm and skills to run these events. There will be a booklet produced based on the work that the children did during the week, with their artwork, photos and stories.

At The Smithy Hub, the popular iGallery, including the local volunteer run Visitor Information Point re-opens for the season on 30th April and new volunteers are always welcome, if you would like to join the rota to staff the desk to meet and greet visitors please get in touch.

The observant amongst you will have noticed that in addition to our regular businesses, Kiki’s craft corner and Vicky’s Pop Up Pottery, we welcome the new venture of ‘Lochcarron Candles’ to the Smithy Hub. With a scented, colourful range of candles which are produced on the premises, this will enhance the Smithy visitor experience and encourage visitors to spend longer in this area. After a long cold winter it is lovely to see everything bursting back into life and busy again. Spring at the Smithy also means the beautiful ‘Marie Curie Field of Hope’ daffodils bloom which is always a welcome sight.

For all queries please contact us via infosmithyhub@gmail.com

 

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