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The Hynish Centre Story

As many readers will know, the Hebridean Trust, a Scottish Charity, has offered to gift the village of Hynish to the Tiree Community and discussions are at an advanced stage with the Tiree Community Development Trust. From the mid 1980’s The Hebridean Trust acquired the village and over the past thirty years raised almost three million pounds to renovate it. We thought readers would like to know a little more about the work of this Charity that also owns The Treshnish Isles.

In the late 1980’s the Trust renovated the old ruined store rooms down by the pier and in 1990 HRH The Princess Royal opened the buildings that were by now a 20-bed centre with dining-room, sitting-room and games room known as Alan Stevenson House or the Hynish Centre. The main objective of the Centre has always been to subsidise visits from disadvantaged and disabled young people, especially from Scotland, but also from the rest of the UK. Wherever possible these young people would be given either heavily subsidised or free holidays.

Monica Smith was appointed the first Warden, a post she held until ill health lead to her retirement in 2014. During her enormously successful time as Warden the clientele grew to cover a wide range of visitors. By 2012 a major refurbishment of the building had taken place creating accommodation with accessible showers and bathrooms more suitable for the 21st Century. To do this the Trust raised £500,000, which also enabled them to produce the ‘Treshnish Isles Exhibition’ in nearby buildings.

The Trust’s policy has always been to use local building firms to carry out all their work at Hynish and this project was no exception. When Monica retired, Fiona Malcolm took over the role of Warden and has continued Monica’s good work. From their wide range of visitors the Trust has built a strong relationship with The North Argyll Carers in Oban. For the third year a group of young carers will visit Hynish at no charge this summer. Carers involved in end of life care in Oban will also be at Hynish for free visits.

Here are some comments made by three groups:

North Argyll Carers – “Everyone talked about how much more confident they felt about themselves and their abilities.” “This has been the best holiday I have ever had.”

Oxfordshire Children and Family Care services – severely disabled children, this year is their fourth visit to Tiree. ‘The laughter and the smiles far outweighed the tears. “Thank you for bringing me on this holiday I have never done anything like this before” said H. Z shouts of “I’m happy, I’m happy” must have been heard 10 times a day! Cheeky big beaming smiles from J every time he seized the opportunity to lie in the sea, sometimes fully clothed.’

The Junction Foundation –‘This trip is the highlight of the year, due to complex family situations, poverty and disadvantage, these young people do not get to go on holiday.’

Finally a big thank you from the Hebridean Trust to all the individuals and organisations who help these young people have the holidays of their lifetime.

Local Surfing Success In Thurso

An Tirisdeach are delighted to report that two local boys have recently been awarded two first places in their respective classes at a prestigious surfing competition up in Thurso.

Finn MacDonald, who turned 16 on the day of the competition and Ben Larg, 12 both travelled to Thurso to take part in the 2017 Scottish National Surfing Championships and Finn placed first in the under 16s section and Ben was crowned first in the under 18s section, an impressive achievement for someone of just 12 years old.

This is the second year the boys have competed in the competition, having secured podium positions in last year’s event too. Both boys have been surfing on Tiree, through Blackhouse Watersports and the local Surf Club for many years and 2016 saw them compete in professional competitions for the first time. They have travelled as far as the Azores in Portugal, where they competed in the World Junior Surfing competition and Morocco, where the European Surfing competition was held – both boys placed on the podium at each of these events. They are also currently working on a bid to represent Team GB at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic games, the first-time surfing will be included in the games.

Both boys are definitely making ‘waves’ at home and further afield and have once again done Tiree proud with their efforts and achievements! Well done and congratulations to both Finn and Ben.

Tiree Community Council Report

Ideas about a new housing development in Scarinish, a presentation from the new Ranger Stephanie Cope, and disappointing news about an ATM cash machine: these were some of the topics discussed at the April meeting of Tiree Community Council.

The April meeting was delayed by a week because a combination of travel setbacks had meant that the Council no longer had a quorum. The meeting went ahead a week later with one loyal member of the public in attendance (thank you Robert!). TCC had been notified that unaccompanied young people would no longer be allowed on flights to Glasgow because all airline staff did not have the necessary clearance.We agreed to write to Loganair for clarification.We had received a letter suggesting that the lorry drivers’ rest room on the vessel – a facility required by law – should also be available for disabled travellers, and that the disabled toilet door should bemade easier to open.CalMac had responded positively to these ideas. The suggestion that an afternoon sailing should be part of a future winter timetable was thought by John MacCaskill, chair of the Tiree Transport Forum, to be unlikely: they had been asking for this for years with no success.

TCC had recently met Councillor Roddy McCuish. He showed us draft proposals to build three house/workshops on the triangle of land between Pier View and the road. This provoked some discussion as TCB and the Trust had both had offers to buy this land from HIE turned down. We decided to look into this. After months of pressure, the corner of land cluttered with rubbish left over from the building of Pier View has substantially been cleared. The electrical box and cable, however, are still there, and we would continue to press for this to be removed.

Councillor McCuish also told us about discussions concerning the transference of the West Highland Housing Association Housing stock to the Tiree Trust. He advised us that this might be too large a task for the Trust, but that a management agreement might make more sense. We also discussed taking the Scarinish public toilets under community control, and would see how much interest there was in the island for this. The next day we met with our MSP Mike Russell. TCC has hopes tomeet the Transport and Islands Minister,Humza Yousaf, on Tiree, and have asked Mike Russell to keep the matter in the minister’s diary.

We passed on a number of complaints about the long time some customers on Tiree had to wait for a BT connection.Mike Russell asked us to pass on complaints at an early stage as he had good contacts with the company.

We expressed our disappointment with the decision to keep the proceeds of the Crown Estate – principally rights arising from the coastal seabed – in Edinburgh. Russell said he was sympathetic to the view that Tiree should get its fair share of profits and has written to the minister involved.

Stephanie Cope gave a very interesting talk about how she is developing her job as Ranger. Erosion at beach access points in Crossapol, Balevullin and Balephuil is a concern. She is continuing the programme of guided walks during the summer and is initiating a series of welcome evenings, including talks about the environment, history and culture, during the main summer holiday period. We had asked the Royal Bank of Scotland about the possibility of installing an ATM cash machine at its Scarinish branch. They have now written to us to say that this will not be going ahead. We were disappointed and will pursue this matter. It was suggested that ATMs are often placed in places other than banks, and this may be a way forward.

The Tiree flag subcommittee is making progress in setting up a flag competition, and is currently waiting for a decision from the Windfall Fund.

The meeting closed at 9.30pm. Dr John Holiday, Rhoda Meek, Ian Gillies, John MacCaskill, Jessie Gray and Aisling Milne were in attendance.

Piping Society AGM – Tuesday the 9th of May – 7:30pm – Tiree Trust Office

The Tiree Piping Society are holding their Annual General Meeting on Tuesday the 9th of May, 7:30 in the Tiree Trust office and are encouraging all eager pipers or those interested in the future of piping on Tiree to come along.

The society, which was set up some years ago by the driving force – the late Mr Robert Beck, is designed to support the future of piping on Tiree and has been heavily involved in creating tutoring opportunities, particularly for the younger generation of the island. Mr Beck, who was responsible for the tuition of many talented pipers who have hailed from Tiree, first realised there was a need for the society when he felt unable to continue tuition due to ill health. The society was formed and acted as the body responsible for securing funding to enable bringing a tutor to the island.

The society first received funding in 2011, from the local Windfall Fund which allowed them to bring a tutor to the island on a regular basis to provide lessons to children at the school. This was successful for a number of years and was then taken in house and received some internal funding from Argyll and Bute to continue it. Over those years children were lucky to receive tuition from a number of talented pipers, including the late Donald Campbell, who particularly loved coming over to Tiree to teach. Mr Beck was heavily involved in the program up until his death and would often accompany Donald to lessons and give his valued input.

In 2015 the coordination of the tutoring program was handed over the Music and Culture coordinator at Tiree Trust and here the society were successful in receiving funding from two local trusts, The Windfall Fund and the Charlie MacLean Trust. This enabled them to restart the tutoring program and welcome on board Scott Wood as the resident tutor. Scott has a wealth of piping experience and has travelled all over the world with his own band The Scott Wood Band along with playing with the Red Hot Chilli Pipers and has just recently been announced as the newest member of Skerryvore! The first year of the pilot under the coordination of the MCC was extremely successful, with 8 pupils taking up the opportunity to learn the chanter and pipes, with one of them already progressed onto bagpipes.

Scott visits the island twice a month and conducts lessons within the school and has recently started a ‘Pipe Band Practise’ session after school which welcomes along children who have been learning pipe band drums under the supervision of Willie MacKinnon. We were also extremely lucky to have been gifted two sets of pipes from the family of the late Donald Campbell, that have been put to excellent use – which I’m sure he would be very happy about.

The first year’s funding ran out in April and we are pleased to report that we have since secured 50% funding from the Scottish School of Pipes and Drums Trust for a three-year piping tuition program. For this coming year 2017 – 2018 we have secured the remaining 50% through the Argyll and Bute Supporting Communities Fund and have also received flight sponsorship from Loganair to cover the cost of 4 return flights. For the two remaining years, we will be working towards securing the remaining 50% to match fund that of the already confirmed SSPDT.

We are extremely pleased with how the program has been running to date and are confident that we will produce a number of budding pipers in the forthcoming years. The next step will be to introduce them to the local Pipe Band and allow them to start playing with other pipers and players, which will hopefully raise their confidence and interest.

We would very much encourage anyone to come along to the AGM on the 9th of May – particularly local pipers and those interested in the future of it. It would be great to see some new faces. If you have any questions then please get in touch with Donna on donna@tireetrust.org.uk or by calling 220 074

Tiree Hockey Club News

Since its inception in 2016, Tiree Hockey club has been going from strength to strength with various keen players taking part in the regular classes.

The group is run by Tiree Trust’s Youth Worker, Willie MacKinnon who played a lot of hockey prior to moving to Tiree. Willie is assisted by a variety of other locals who have a lot of hockey experience, including David Clark, Jim McDowell, Steph Tanner, Ruth MacKinnon and Arlene MacKinnon.

At each session, Willie works on training drills with the children along with a group game at the end.

This month the club have been very lucky to receive two donations of goalie protection equipment which can be utilised by the Tiree Club and budding goal keepers. Willie has received great support from his old team mates at Anchor Hockey, who were on Tiree last year to run a hockey workshop. Willie hopes to run this again this year – watch this space.

Each month the coaches choose a ‘player of the month’ and this month it was awarded to Lewis Gunn and Kirsten MacKinnon who ‘have shown great improvement in a short time’ – well done to you both!

Junior Hockey club runs on a Tuesday afternoon from 3:30 – 5pm and Sunday afternoon 1:30 – 3pm which is a mixed adult and junior session. An adult only session is also on on Sunday from 12 – 1:30pm. The adult session was previously very popular and we would like to encourage anyone wishing to attend to come along.

Regular information regarding classes is posted on Tiree Trust social media pages along with the website www.tireetrust.org.uk

Tiree 10K & Half Marathon 2017

It’s nearly 10k & Half Marathon weekend, and already it’s set to be another record breaker as we look forward to welcoming this year’s competitors.

Tiree 10k & Half Marathon: Saturday 29th April – start time 2pm on Sorobaidh beach

• Biggest start line ever assembled with 375 runners entered

• More clubs represented than ever before

• Charity runners raising funds for Tiree Play Park

• Team Skipinnish taking on the 10k & HM course

• The legendary 10k dance with Crackin’ Craic

It’s set to be a great weekend, and this year the event has proved more popular than ever. So much so that it’s now completely full! We’ve squeezed people in, and filled cancellations, but we still have a waiting list of nearly 100 runners! Who’d have thought running into a headwind was so popular! Thanks everyone who’s entered and good luck with your final preparations.

As the event is full we won’t be taking any entries on the day except for the kids’ events. For anyone who’s missed out please do come and support the runners or join the event crew, it’s still a fun day out and your cheering will be hugely appreciated!

Kids’ events: Enter on the day – registration from 10am, races start at 1pm 10k & Half Marathon – event full so no entry on the day

Evening dance: Tickets available on the day from An Talla

Tiree’s Adventure Play Park: The event is raising funds for the development of the park at Crossapol.

Our visiting team of charity runners are also collecting sponsors for this project, and it’s already proved to be a lovely way for our visitors to contribute to community life on Tiree. We’re pleased to support this project and we’ll also hold a raffle in the evening to add to this fund. Any prizes gratefully received.

Event Crew: As always, the event is made possible by the people that help on the day, so if you can spare a few hours on the Saturday please do come and join the crew. Let us know and we can get you in the team.

Road safety and convenience: After the 2pm start on the beach, there will be lots of runners on the road to Hynish, and back around through Balinoe, Heylipol, Sandaig, Kilkenneth and Moss. There are course maps on the Tiree Fitness website, and we’d just ask all drivers to be extra vigilant, and also for your own convenience if it’s possible to avoid travel during 2-4pm you’d stand a better chance of avoiding hold ups. But the roads are of course open, and we apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Find out more: Join the Facebook group and keep an eye on the Tiree Fitness website for further updates and news. Any enquiries can be made to Will at Tiree Fitness. Contact Will on 07867 304640 or email will@tireefitness.co.uk or go to www.tireefitness.co.uk

12 years of the Tiree 10k & Half Marathon – remember when…..

• We woke to thick snow last year just before the event

• The pipe band marched the course in sweltering heat

• Bride & Groom teams ran the 10k and finished with a dip in the sea

• Trail West made a name for themselves at their first gigs

• The buses took everyone over to Hough and Balevullin for the start

• The 31 minute 10k!!!

• Local man Owain Williams finally got to the top of the podium and won the half marathon

It’s been an amazing 12 years of doing these events – thank you everyone who helps, and we look forward to more record breaking later this month.

Animated Tiree!

Tiree gets animated next week with a packed schedule of events, thanks to support from Into Film, Aardman Animations and the Tiree Community Development Trust.

We are so excited to welcome Jim Parkyn, one of Aardman’s senior model makers, who has worked on many of the Aardman Animations including Shaun the Sheep Movie, Chicken Run, The Pirates, Creature Comforts and Timmy Time. He will be coming up from Bristol where Aardman Animations are based and have been making animations for the last 45 years.

Jim will spend the day at Tiree High School on Tuesday 21st March speaking to young people from age 3 years up. As well as watching some of the classics there will be talks on careers, how animation works, a chance to make a Morph and pupils will have the opportunity to make their own animations.

Jim is also running a special FREE workshop for adults on Wednesday 22nd March at An Talla, 1.30pm – 3pm, where you can make your own Morph.

Jack Lockhart will be working with various youth groups over the week to make animations that can be entered into a competition run by Into Film: The Animation Challenge https://www.intofilm.org/competitions

We are delighted to welcome the Screen Machine back to Tiree. As well as screening La La Land and Eagle Huntress there will be animation to admire in The Lego Batman Movie and the special effects used in Rogue One. Jim will introduce a couple of Aardman Classics on Tuesday and Wednesday.

March Tiree Community Council Meeting

The March community council meeting took place in An Talla on the first day of the month, with a smaller quorum of councillors than usual, with only 4 in attendance and a much smaller audience than normal.

Doctor Holliday was in attendance to chair the meeting, welcoming everyone and going through the formalities.

The first item on the agenda was to go through the correspondences received over the last month. The Police Scotland Report was circulated and discussed, noting that 5 incidents had been reported in the last month. The Chair also took the opportunity to highlight the newly introduced penalty for using a mobile phone while driving. This now faces a fine of £200 and 6 points on your licence. It is also worth noting that new drivers will lose their licence completely.

Councillor Gillies took the opportunity to discuss the ‘Annual Survey Oblique Review of Scheme’ which relates to general Governance and Law which supports Community Councils. Each Community Council is required to return the survey, which Councillor Gillies is going to complete and submit. It was also discussed that the national elections for Community Councils are due to take place however a timescale has not yet been set for this. Councillor Holliday took the opportunity to ask present councillors if they would be willing to continue in their roles for another 6 months or until the national election date had been set. This would see all Community Councils throughout the country holding their elections on the same day.

An update regarding the Tiree Flag Committee was heard from Doctor Holliday, who mentioned that a meeting has taken place and although no official competition date has been set it was hoped to unveil the finalists at this year’s Agricultural Show. It was also highlighted that the group is welcoming any new members therefore if you are interested in getting involved then please get in touch with Doctor Holiday.

The fourth agenda point, covering issues relating to the housing development at Pier View had initially been brought up at the previous meeting where residents had highlighted hazardous areas which surrounded the development. Councillor Milne was tasked with investigating the issues and gave a written update at the meeting as she wasn’t in attendance. It was noted that at present it has proven difficult to ascertain who the contaminated land at Pier View belongs to and it was decided that councillors would look into this in more detail. A letter will also be sent to Councillor Roddy McCuish to ask for assistance with this matter.

There were positive reports coming from the Islands Communications update, as it was noted that EE have submitted a planning permission application for a mast at Garaphail, which will largely benefit emergency services. Additional masts and upgrades have been proposed by Vodafone and this is currently at planning permission stages too. BT have also been on the island carrying out work, suggesting that an additional Green Box is being installed in the Scarinish area which will benefit residents with access to Fibre Broadband.

An update was given regarding the political strategy in the form of meeting with Humza Yousef, which TCC are actively progressing and continue to communicate with his team to set up a visit. It was also brought to the attention of TCC that Fergus Ewing has arranged to be on Tiree in May. TCC raised concern and disappointment that they had not been made aware of this and agreed to invite him to a public or private meeting to address matters relating to the community.

The last item on the agenda was an update regarding The Crown Estate in Scotland, which was first brought up at the February meeting. Councillor Milne is working on drafting a response to the Crown Estate Consultation, having spoken to Western Isles Council for advice.

Local Man Andy Rewarded for his everyday Magic!

Local Co-op manager, Andy Hayes was recently awarded a very well deserved ‘Co-op Magic’ award at the recent North Colleague Awards held in Glasgow.

Andy was at the dinner and awards ceremony last week, held in the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, where he was presented with his award.

Andy and others within the region were put forward for the awards by their area manager, up against several other managers. Andy was awarded the ‘Magic Award’ which is one category out of around 10 other awards. The Magic award is awarded to those who go above and beyond in their role, something that Andy is very well known for!

Four other stores within the area were also given awards and each regional winner was then entered into the next round for the whole of Scotland, the North of England, Ireland and the Isle of Man.

Unfortunately, Andy didn’t win within this round, but his colleague from the Stornoway store, within the same area received an award!

Andy has been managing our local Co-op for over 16 years and goes above and beyond the call of duty – he is very deserving of this award!

He had this to say “It was unexpected and a great honour to receive this award! I think all my staff are ‘magic’”

Well done, Andy!

Tiree Community Council February Meeting 2017

The first Tiree Community Council meeting of 2017 took place last Wednesday, the 1st of February. The meeting was opened by our chair and convenor, Doctor John Holliday who welcomed all in attendance, including BBC Alba representative Seonaidh MacKenzie. along with Calen MacNeil who was at her first Community Council meeting in her role as the school representative.

The first item on the agenda was to acknowledge that John MacCaskill was standing down as Vice Convenor and Rhoda Meek would be taking up the position. Dr Holiday took the opportunity to thank John for his invaluable contribution as Vice Convenor.

We then moved on to discuss the correspondences from the previous months. TCC received a letter from Coll Community Council, thanking them for this visit last year and it was also noted that there would be another opportunity for a day visit to Coll in September.

The minutes from the previous meeting brought up a few updates on various projects and ongoing issues, including the issue of the dangerous area reported at Pier View. This was brought to the attention of the TCC at the previous meeting in December and it was agreed to investigate the issue and make relevant health and safety bodies aware of it, the TCC are still working on this matter and will also contact Roddy McCuish for some assistance in resolving this matter. We also heard from Rhoda Meek who gave us an update on the Phone Box project, who are continuing to hold regular meetings. The group are going to focus on one box at a time and have chosen to focus their attentions on upgrading the box at Silversands, Vaul, which will be used as an example box to try and secure funding for going forward with the rest of them.

The TCC held a closed meeting in January to discuss ways in which they operate and a few points were discussed from this meeting, one of them being that “AOCB” will now be removed from the meeting agenda. Members of the public will still be encouraged to bring issues and questions to the meetings, but will be required to bring this to the attention of the councillors 14 days before the next meeting so that it can be added to the agenda. The Councillors felt that a removal of the AOCB will help to reduce the length of meetings and allow Councillors adequate time to prepare their response to questions and issues.

The fifth item on the agenda was regarding the recent complaint against Tiree Community Council. This was brought up at the December meeting, when Mr and Mrs Larg sent a formal letter of complaint to the TCC regarding the Ballot which was conducted by TCC in relation to the planning row over the Beach-huts in Balevullin and Gott. At the February meeting Dr Holliday took us through the 8 page reply which will be issued to the Larg’s in response to their original complaint. It was also noted that TCC would ask the Governance Officer for Argyll and Bute to look over the letter before it was sent out. The matter was concluded and thanks were given to The Community Council for their time spent on this matter.

We next moved on to discuss the Pre-5 Provision at Tiree High School and we heard that after a successful consultation conducted by Tiree High School through a dedicated working group that the Pre 5 sessions had now been split into two, with the morning session focusing on English with the promotion of Gaelic and the afternoon being solely Gaelic. It was noted that this structure is so far working well and a good feedback has been received from parents. The successful reintroduction of Gaelic Pre-5 was covered on BBC An Là with coverage filmed here on Tiree featuring Pre-5 leader, Johann MacLean.

It was brought to the attention of the meeting that the Scottish Government were currently running a consultation on behalf of the Crown Estate with regards to the management of the sea bed. The Crown Estate are hoping to pass some of the management aspects of the land to the community. The Crown Estate is currently responsible for such things as leases for moorings, some aspects of crofting and of fishing etc. The TCC would like to encourage all members of the community to comment on this consultation and you can do so by visiting the following link: www.consult.scotland.gov.uk/crown-estate-strategy-unit/long-term-management-of-the-crown-estate The consultation process is open until the 29th of March.

The transport update was provided by John MacCaskill who gave us an overview of transport issues and updates from the last 2 months. It was noted that there have been a number of cancelled flights recently, this was due to weather related issues. A question from a member of the audience was brought up regarding the announcement some time ago that visibility equipment was to be introduced to Tiree flights. John informed us that this is still in the pipeline and aircrafts are due to be fitted with the new equipment but it does cost a considerable amount of money. We heard good news regarding additional capacity for island events such as TMF and the Ultra Marathon and 10K weekends. It was also noted that ferry transportation had been increased during TMF weekend, and organisers of the festival were commended for their negotiations and positive working relationship with Cal Mac.

The 9th item on the agenda was an update on the Chapel of Rest project and John again informed the meeting that TCC had recently met with the directors of Tiree Community Development Trust with the view to them taking on the project. The proposed site for the Chapel of Rest is the old Met Office building at the airport, which has been inspected by both TCC and TCDT. A great deal of ground work has been done by both parties and the TCDT board will be meeting in the coming weeks to discuss how this can be taken forward. There was also discussion surrounding the current mortuary on the island, as it was reported that Police Scotland didn’t plan to renew their current lease. It was agreed that TCC would look into this.

The final item on the agenda was a summary of the recent successful meeting with Humza Yousef MSP, which we reported on in the last edition. Three TCC councillors, John MacCaskill, Rosemary Omand and Ian Gilles, along with Tish MacKinnon from TCDT met with Humza Yousef and Mike Russell last month at Holyrood and all in attendance commented that it was a very successful meeting, discussing several hot topics, including The Islands Bill, transport, and communications. Having only been announced a day before the meeting was taking place, the councillors also took the opportunity to ask the MSP about the removal of security checks at 3 local airports, Tiree being one of them. Mr Yousef acknowledged the concerns from islanders but commented that the decision is ultimately made by the secretary of state. It was noted that all jobs in the airport are currently safe due to the government stating that there will be no compulsory redundancy.

The meeting was closed at 9:30pm and Doctor Holliday thanked all for coming, stating the next meeting would be Wednesday the 1st of March. All minutes, agendas and further information can be found at www.tireecommunitycouncil.co.uk

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