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Piping Campaign

Dear Editor,

My late husband, Iain C. Macdonald was a piper with family connections both on Tiree and Mull.

Piping bird While sorting through his pipe music I came across the enclosed printout of a rare species of bird which I thought may be of interest to the island bird watchers.

The Avisfisulasaccus tiriensis was created from the Latin – avis-bird: fistula-pipe : saccus-bag : tiriensis – belonging to Tiree.

I believe it was part of a campaign mounted by Robert Beck (the vet), with the help of Iain Mackinnon (Hillcrest) and my husband, to persuade the education authorities to provide Tiree pupils with a piping tutor and to give the same opportunities to them as were available on other islands. Until this time (2008), Robert Beck had been the voluntary tutor for school pupils teaching up to Highers in music. He was worried that, due to poor health and failing eyesight, there would be no one to carry on his work.

His campaign was successful and for several years a tutor was provided.

Update From Hynish Heritage Village

The Hynish Heritage Village project is coming on in bounds, and with the increased activity we wanted to share an update with the community.

Relocation of the Hebridean Trust office to Tiree

The Hebridean Trust administration and registered office has now relocated to its new home in Hynish. Previously it had been led from Oxford: but the trustees have made this move to really engrain the centre within the social and economic structure of the Tiree community and maximise the use as a resource.

This is a really positive, and exciting step as it marks the start of more opportunities – future jobs, and a real hub of the future for local residents and to attract tourism. Volunteers donating their time, and skills We’ve been overwhelmed by the generosity, and true Tiree spirit of the volunteers who have, and are continuing to support us to realise the potential of the area.

Some of the work they have volunteered on includes improving the pathways, the pier, painting, generally tidying up the site, and new office set up. It’s looking impressive – thank you to you all. John MacKinnon Builders have also been invaluable. They did the original restoration work, and have generously given their time over the past few weeks to restore the doors, windows and buildings. A huge thank you to them for not only donating their time, but also for helping to retain the charm of the buildings.

Jenn Mackinnon has found time in her busy schedule (a full time job and a mum of 2) to give her time to help us with our marketing and social media. Thank you Jenn.

If you would like to get involved we’d love to hear from you – whether it’s manual, or admin support you can offer.

Donation towards The Stables

The Hebridean Trust continues its charitable purpose, and we will encourage our regular groups to return to Tiree in the future. As a charity we always welcome donations, which go towards the upkeep of the buildings, exhibitions and to subsidise the trips on offer to disadvantaged young people – to create a memorable and special experience.

We’ve recently received generous donations, specifically to be used on renovating The Stables into luxury self-catering accommodation for 2 people. A huge thank you to the donors. We’re aiming to have this ready to launch mid-September this year.

Heritage Lottery Fund

We’ve successful secured Heritage Lottery Funds to enable us to do a number of short-term repairs, maintenance and conservation. We will be looking to source various trades and expertise from the island, if possible, to help us with this project. If you have any capacity between now and the end of October (deadline date for the project completion) we would love to hear from you. We can give you a brief of what needs done and we would ask you for a quotation and timings in line with our procurement policy. Here is a list of what we need:

? Plastering

? Plumbing

? Painting (internal and external)

? Conservation Building work

? Electrical work

? Digital Media/Creating a Virtual Tour

? COVID Recovery Plan

? Laying Flooring

? Chimney Sweep

? Landscaping

It’s an exciting time, and we look forward to sharing more progress in the coming months. If you have any questions please contact Fiona on 018792 20730 or email info@hebrideantrust.org

Tiree Trust News

Trust & Cùram Launch New Hardship Fund – The Cruas Fund

In direct response to the economic impact of the Covid-19 lockdown, The Trust has decided to launch The Cruas fund. Cruas is the Gaelic word for hardship. The Trust will be supported by Cùram Thiriodh to administer the fund via the Solar food project. The fund is aimed as a short-term support mechanism for people in our community whose financial circumstances change quickly and is not meant to supplement any longer-term benefit system.

If you have recently found yourself in financial difficulty you can contact Solar in the strictest confidence on solartiree@gmail.com or 07375 929350 (text or phone).

Community Fuel Station Update

A new company has been set up to operate a community owned fuel station in Crossapol. Tiree Community Enterprise Ltd is being established as a wholly owned subsidiary of The Trust and will operate with its own board, in the same way as our other subsidiaries like TREL & Tiree Broadband.

During September we will go out to tender for a specialist design and build contractor to design and construct the fuel station. Our aim is that, as with previous capital projects, this will create subcontracting opportunities for Tiree contractors. Keep an eye out or project updates in future editions of An Tirisdeach and on our website and social media.

This project has received funding from The National Lottery Community Assets Fund and HIE as well as a contribution from the Windfall Fund.

Trust AGM and Director Nominations

Tiree Community Development Trust and subsidiary companies will be holding an Annual General Meeting on Tuesday 15th September at 7.30pm Via Zoom. The details of which will be published at a later date.

We still require 10% of our membership (30 people) to be in attendance to have a quorum so please do consider joining us. If you wish to stand for election you must return the completed form by Friday 4th September to admin@tireetrust.org.uk. To be eligible for election you must be on the electoral roll for Tiree and be a full member of TCDT.

Restart of glass kerbside collections on Mull and Tiree

The glass bin collection service on Mull and Tiree will restart from week beginning Monday 17th August.

You can check your glass bin collection dates on the council website at https://www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/ planning-and-environment/bin-collection

If you already have a printed calendar, you can start following it again for your glass collections.

Councillor Robin Currie, Policy Lead for Housing, Roads and Infrastructure Services, said:

“This marks another step back to more normal services. I’d like to thank residents for their patience during the COVID-19 pandemic. We have had to change the way we work and I know this has not always been easy for people. Nonetheless, many folk have sent kind messages to our bin crews over the past weeks and months. Thank you for your understanding – it has been appreciated.”

New Solar Coordinator Announced

We have great pleasure in announcing Fiona Armstrong as the new coordinator for Solar, the Tiree food project.

Fiona, who established the popular Farmhouse Café in Balemartine in 2006, has also worked at the Tiree school. In addition, she is the island’s ‘Member Pioneer’, with the job of keeping the Coop in touch with community organisations.

Fiona said,

“I am really looking forward to working with the community on the Solar project to ensure its continued success. I think the project has shown how successful the island has been in coming together in such a positive way, helping others who, through no fault of their own, have been affected directly or indirectly by the Covid-19 crisis.”

She follows Brodie Sim, who returns to a number of pre-existing commitments. Brodie has put her heart and soul into this project over the last four months, moving mountains in the process. We are extremely grateful.

Solar is here to make sure that no one on Tiree goes without food or household essentials. We can be contacted at solartiree@gmail.com or 07375 929350. We run the community cupboard in the Scarinish phone box, which is there for all who need it. Our next project is to see if a community fridge would work on the island.

TSI Lauches New Charity Website

Argyll & Bute charities and community groups will now be able to publicise their volunteering opportunities to a much wider audience, thanks to a new website, volunteerargyllandbute.org.

Launched this week by the Third Sector Interface (TSI). The website will act as a portal where organisations can advertise their volunteering opportunities and volunteers can access the most up to date opportunities in both their local area and across Argyll & Bute. The website was originally due to launch at the end of April, but due to the challenges and complexities of the recent pandemic and a desperate need for more volunteers across the county, it was repurposed for the emergency and community response.

volunteerargyllandbute had a fantastic response from volunteers wanting to register with the site seeing around 1000 people signing up in the first few weeks after launch. Samantha Stubbs, Strategic Development Manager for the TSI told us,

“As lockdown measures relax, many of the volunteers have asked to stay registered on the system, so there is no better time for voluntary and community organisations to tap into that reservoir of goodwill and recruit the volunteers they need in their communities.”

She went on to say,

“volunteerargyllandbute is incredibly easy to use and is backed up with telephone assistance from us”. “For charities, it provides not only a jobs-board to advertise volunteering opportunities, but also a comprehensive volunteer management system to help them to schedule volunteer support, log volunteering hours, communicate with volunteers and securely manage volunteer data including PVG checks and training logs.”

A Third Sector Organisation which tested the system being used said,

“The system has provided my organisation with a convenient platform to recruit volunteers for events. It also provides a great medium for monitoring our volunteers and rewarding them for their efforts. We can post information about training courses too, meaning that our volunteers can also use it as a portal to find upskilling opportunities. If you are looking for a simple and effective way to gain and keep volunteers, I would recommend this system – it will make your life so much easier.” Another organisation added, “Overall I would recommend this system to any volunteer managers who want to keep everything in one place, allowing you to have a log of voluntary hours and help you as a manager to become more efficient and effective in your role.”

If any charities or organisations would like to register a volunteering opportunity then they can do so by visiting volunteerargyllandbute.org

if they need any help with using the system, they can get that by phoning the TSI’s third sector support line on 0300 303 4141.

Tiree Community Council July Meeting

Space on the ferry, or the lack of it, took up most of the time at July’s meeting, but there was also a mention for the Scarinish phone box and a virtual open day later in the year.

The island’s community council usually takes a long summer holiday, but events this year have been moving so quickly, we decided we had to keep going. Once again the videoconferencing platform Zoom brought in a large crowd, with almost fifty devices and around sixty people listening in. These large numbers can make it difficult to see everyone who has logged in, so forgive me if you were raising your hand and were ignored.

The ferry – or, more exactly, getting hold of one of the 86 reservations on the ferry – was the main topic. In response to widespread pressure from islands up and down the west coast, including from Tiree Community Council, CalMac is keeping 20% of tickets out of the usual booking system for purchase on the day of travel.

The idea behind this is that local people will stand more of a chance of securing one of these. Certainly, the experience so far has shown that if you are able to go in person to the Gott Bay office you should be able to get a place on board, and we really thank the local staff for going above and beyond the line of duty. Returning to Tiree might be more of a challenge if you don’t have a booking, with the Oban office opening at 0615.

If you are having a real problem, please get in touch with me. CalMac are looking to add a Friday boat to the schedule from 15 July. Cloth facial coverings are now compulsory, and passengers will be expected to provide their own.

Flights will combine with Barra until 15 July, when the Islander will revert to the rotation through Campbeltown. As travelling numbers pick up – and several recent flights have been full – a return to the usual timetable of two flights a day seems likely on 3 August, provided the public health situation on Tiree does not deteriorate.

The Community Council phone box in Scarinish has been renovated beautifully, thanks to a dedicated team of volunteers. It has been put to good use as the Solar community cupboard containing food and toiletries to help families through the crisis.

A proposal for a Virtual Doors Open Day caught our eye recently. Put on by Argyll and Bute Council and the Scottish Civic Trust, this allows the public access to buildings that are usually closed. We thought a video tour of some Tiree landmarks that many of us have not seen, such as the new fish handling unit at Milton pier, might be an interesting project, and we will discuss this with other key island bodies such as the Trust and Discover Tiree.

We have considered the issues raised by a few members of the public in respect to governance and our letter issued to the Cabinet Secretary for Transport. We agreed that the criticism did not require, or warrant, any further response and completely refuted the allegations of incompetence or self interest.

The procedure for complaints had also been confirmed at the meeting. It was also recognized that, as illustrated by the significant volume of comments of support we have received, the Council has acted in the best interests of the community and as part of the democratic process will continue to seek public opinion and take the appropriate action in similar matters.

Finally we are looking to co-opt two new members, with a particular view to increasing our diversity to better represent the community.

If you have any issues where you think we can help, do contact us at doc.holliday@tireecommunitycou ncil.co.uk | 220385 or phyl@tireecommunitycouncil.co.uk

Dr John Holliday, Convenor, Tiree Community Council

Put the Community in Tiree Community Council

The lockdown has seen a boom in volunteering and in participating in the Community Council public meetings, with around sixty people joining in by Zoom. We now want to appoint another two community councillors to take us up to full strength. It is no secret that the council has plenty of men of a certain vintage. We have recently been strongly encouraged to become more diverse, to bring in a younger generation, particularly women, as well as crofters and members of the fishing community. We would particularly, therefore, welcome expressions of interest from these groups. However, if you feel that you have skills that you can bring to the council, we would of course also be interested in hearing from you. Please contact us within the next week. If you want to chat this through, contact myself, Phyl or any of the other community councillors.

Tiree Trust Updates

Lottery & HIE Back Community Fuel Pumps for Tiree

Tiree Community Development Trust has successfully secured just over £500,000 from the National Lottery Community Assets Fund and £150,000 from HIE towards building a new community owned fuel station in Crossapol.

MacLennan Motors informed The Trust last year that they intended to stop selling fuel as part of the handover of the business to the next generation and The Trust has been working with a steering group of volunteers to plan a resilient fuel service that will meet the needs of the island.

An Agreement has been made with MacLennan Motors to keep selling fuel until the new community facility is ready and the Trust helped by providing a working capital loan which will be repaid in full. It is hoped the new fuel facility will be ready in spring 2021.

Plot Required for Community Owned Affordable Housing Project

Tiree Community Development Trust is looking to purchase a modest plot of land with a view to building 2 (semi-detached) high quality community owned affordable houses to rent. The Trust had outline plans to build at The Camp in Crossapol but we were unable to come to a suitable final agreement with the owner. TCDT held a consultation event in January this year with 44 out of 48 attendees supporting such a project. If any land owner has a site that may be suitable, is close to both an access road and water and power services, please contact admin@tireetrust.org.uk or call 220 074 to discuss further.

Council urges caution as lockdown restrictions eased

Argyll and Bute Council is urging people to act responsibly and follow national guidance following a busy weekend at popular beauty spots.

The warm weather brought high volumes of visitors to the area including Luss and Arrochar which in turn created antisocial issues including parking congestion and littering in the village and across beaches. Councillor Robin Currie, the council’s policy lead for roads and infrastructure said:

“It is disappointing that some people chose to ignore national advice and clearly travelled more than five miles to visit. We cannot be complacent whilst the risk of infection remains. The reckless actions of a few may impact us all. Ignoring advice to stay local will simply delay our recovery and have a further impact on the economy. We understand that people are desperate to enjoy being outdoors but we still need to exercise caution and help protect our rural communities. Our car parks and toilets remain closed so please think very carefully before making a journey. Our local economy depends on the tourism industry and we are just as keen as everyone to welcome people back to the area, but only when it is safe.”

The council will continue to work closely with Police Scotland to monitor antisocial behaviour and are dedicating extra resources to popular sites including Luss this weekend, by having more wardens on site. National guidance remains:

• Stay at home as much as possible

• Stay local (5 miles)

• Avoid busy and popular beauty spots

• Keep two metres apart

Read the latest Government advice

https://www.gov.scot/coronavirus-covid-19/

Tiree Community Council Makes History

First Public Meeting On Island by Teleconference

The screen was a mosaic of faces, taking turns to raise their hands to speak. This was the new face of democracy on Tiree.

Unable to hold public meetings due to coronavirus, Tiree Community Council held its May public meeting using the Zoom videoconferencing tool.

First reactions were positive. Twenty two devices tuned in from the public, some with a number of people huddled around the screen or phone; this is actually more than we get in An Talla.

One of the councillors, Ian Gillies, joined us from his lockdown in Ayrshire, while members of the public logged on from as far afield as Hampshire and Yorkshire. It had been two months since our March meeting, and they had been long months. The council had met over Zoom twice in that time to confront the threat of the coronavirus crisis, and the minutes of these private meetings are now up on our website.

Tiree Community Council had been one of the founders (along with Argyll and Bute Council, the Trust and Cùram) of the island’s volunteer group, TAIC, which is so ably led by Rona Campbell. We had set up the new Tiree food project Solar. We had helped Tiree Medical Practice in their preparations for the epidemic. And we had been part of the Trust’s ‘No One Left Behind’ project to make sure everyone can be connected to the new digital age.

Doctors Mike and Lindsay spoke about huge changes in the island’s medical practice. Numbers of coronavirus cases on Tiree have fallen to very low levels over the past three weeks, but they asked people to be patient with the lockdown as we were not out the woods yet.

The practice is starting to use Near Me, an NHS video consulting service, which allows doctors to connect to patients at home. This is proving very successful; one obvious challenge is making sure every household has a suitable smart phone, tablet or computer – and the skills to use them. They emphasised that the problem now was that some patients were worried about bothering the doctor or going to hospital at the moment, and therefore people were not getting the treatment they needed in time. Their message: we’re open for business as usual, but we’re just doing things slightly differently.

Don McKillop, CalMac’s local Area Operations Manager also joined us. He told us about the new Emergency Lifeline Timetable, giving the island three boats a week. This number of vessels was the bare minimum to cope with current levels of shop supplies, fuel, animal feed, fertiliser, and the increased volume of parcels. Cars travelling to Tiree were now stopped at ‘Box 1′ outside the marshalling area and asked for documents to show that the occupants had a valid reason for travel. This is proof of residence on the island and photo ID. Foot passengers have to do the same at the ticket desk. The staff had turned some cars away when the measures first came in, but there had been no disallowed visits over the last few weeks, and Don thought travellers were getting the message. The system wasn’t perfect; the Calmac staff had no civil powers to back up their position. But passenger numbers on the Tiree route were down 97%. The ELT is set to last until 31 May when it will be reviewed. This is a crucial question for the summer. We received a letter from a constituent who emphasised how important it was to safeguard the residents of our old peoples’ home, and asking us to endorse the Scottish Government’s advice to wear cloth facial coverings in shops where the two-metre distance might be breached. We were happy to do this.

We had also been sent a letter asking us to support an island Hardship Fund at this time. We agreed with this idea, and will take it up, in the first instance, with the Trust, which has the necessary funds. We had been asked if the Tiree waste disposal site could re-open in a limited way. On enquiry, closure was a national policy decision, and the local council staff have no discretion in the matter.

If you have any issues you want us to address, please contact me. The next public TCC meeting will be in June. You can join us with a computer, tablet, or any phone from the comfort of your living room!

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