Category Archives: Community Announcements

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!

Tiree Ranger News

Hiya folks, Hope you are all doing well? We had a cracking spell of weather there but it has gone pure baltic again!

Certainly, seeing the seasons change now and Tiree’s greenery is coming to life. The Sea Pink is in bloom around the coast and Cuckoo Flower and Bog Bean in the marshy areas. So, what have I been up to instead of my events and visitor management. Well I’ve been out checking all the signage to see what needs to be changed, familiarising myself with the odd bit of the island I haven’t properly explored yet, recording signs of Otters right across the island and buzzing around in my wee van delivering shopping and scrubs for TAIC. Few other bits and pieces too for when we hopefully can meet up again.

The birdlife is increasing around the island too with 4 Corncrakes calling from my front door, Linnet and Blackbirds on nests in next door’s garden and hundreds of waders on the beaches. The numbers of Fulmars were building up on Kenevara a few weeks back and it’s time to turn our eyes to the sea. For the last two weeks, the seals have been very active around the island. Most nights I’ve watched the colony at Ruaig playing and porpoising in the bay. They have been doing this at Salum and Balephetrish as well.

Next month, the Commons will start pupping so please be careful and try and to avoid disturbing them if you see them resting on the skerries. There have been a few sightings of Basking Sharks away from Tiree and it won’t be long until these giants are back around the island. If you spot any please let me know.

Finally, I just want to say thank you to you all. I’ve now been on the Island for 6 months. Applying for the Ranger post came about by chance. I was rooted on the mainland but after 9 years working for the council and seeing the changes happening in the Ranger Service and the reduction in our roles there I wasn’t happy anymore. Fast forward to now and the kindness and help that everyone has given me from the MacDonalds and Flora at Ruaig, locals around the island and to my work colleagues, has shown to me that I have made the right decision. Thank you, it means a lot.

Until next time…

Hayley Douglas – Tiree Ranger

Tiree Association News

We hope you are all keeping well, during these uncertain times.

We would normally be in the throes of organising our Annual General Meeting and summer events programme, however we are disappointed to announce that we have had to postpone and cancel all upcoming summer events, due to restrictions and uncertainty regarding Covid19.

Our AGM gives us the opportunity to reflect on the past year, event highlights, community contributions and give thanks to you all for the continued support. We have taken the decision to postpone this meeting and we will reschedule it when it is safe to do so. In the meantime, if you would like any further updates or information or would be interested in joining the committee, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

As already mentioned, we have also taken the decision to cancel our programme of summer events, including the annual Sports Day, which is a highlight of the Tiree Summer Calendar along with the concert and dance. We are disappointed that we won’t be able to go ahead with either event this year and we hope to be back with lots of activity in the Summer of 2021.

Our Annual Gathering Concert and Dance are scheduled to go ahead on Thursday the 19th and Friday the 20th of November. We very much hope that we will be able to go ahead with both of these events and will be monitoring the situation and Government advice over the upcoming months. We do hope that you are all keeping safe and well. If you’d like any further information please contact us on any of the details below.

Boost coming for the Hynish Heritage Centre and Tiree community

The Hebridean Trust was founded to celebrate our island’s strong heritage, culture and language.

Recognising the unique buildings and history we have in Hynish, they renovated what is now the Hynish Heritage Centre and linked exhibitions into what stands today.

The Hebridean Trust has always been led from Oxford: but in a move to really engrain the Hynish Heritage Centre within the social and economic structure of the Tiree community and maximise the use so it’s a real resource, the registered office and administration will relocate to Tiree this year. Trudy MacKenzie, Tish MacKinnon and Rosaleen Campbell have been appointed as new Trustees to support the move: while also working with the existing Trustees to develop the long term vision for the centre and attracting funding to bring the ideas to life. We’ll continue to share more details as we move forward.

It’s also exciting to announce that these changes will bring future job opportunities and create an excellent community hub for us to shout about and attract tourism when the time is right. A project support team has been built with the aim of involving as many Tiree people as we can to really boost the projects and get them up and running. To date the team includes Mark Vale who will focus on IT and the website, Jennifer MacKinnon driving Marketing, Fiona MacKinnon leading on Finance and Jane Isaacson will be supporting on funding.

We’re developing a lot of partnerships on and off the island and have spoken to a range of local bodies, local businesses and individuals about the options for the future. The response, support and ideas so far have been really heartening.

As a tourism and hospitality business we’ve closely followed the Governments COVID-19 advice, and just as we’re seeing other businesses around the world take a pause – we are too. Although a challenging time, it does give us the opportunity to plan and get everything in place. Our great onsite team, Fiona and Christel, are focusing on their individual online training plans until we can safely re-open.

We would love to hear from you if you have any ideas or would like to get involved in whatever capacity – from supporting the projects, to partnerships. Involving locals and people with a strong Tiree connection is key to making Hynish everything it can be.

Contact: Tish on 07887 726542 or via email

Photo By M J Richardson, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/4508006

Council leader welcomes ferry funding for Argyll and Bute

The Leader of Argyll and Bute Council has welcomed an additional £954,000 from the Scottish Government for island ferry services.

Councillor Aileen Morton said: “Argyll and Bute Council delivers a number of services other councils don’t have to, for example ferry services. We have been doing a lot of work therefore to raise awareness of Argyll and Bute’s unique challenges with decision-makers. I am pleased that the Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands listened to what we had to say and is providing an additional £954,000 for Argyll and Bute Council ferry services. £500,000 of this funding will be used to provide a new ferry for Lismore; the rest will support the continuation of ferry services to a number of our islands.”

The Leader and Chief Executive of Argyll and Bute Council met with Paul Wheelhouse, Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands in January this year.

The announcement comes in advance of the Council setting next year’s budget this Thursday 27 February. Councillor Morton said: “We’re glad to see our island ferry services receive fair funding. While we will continue to discuss the potential transfer to Transport Scotland this funding removes one element of the financial pressures we face this year.”

Rural Centre Public Access Defibrillator Launched

Following the Cattle Sale held on Tuesday 25th February, Tiree Rural Development’s public access Automated external defibrillator (AED) was launched. Due to an issue with the supply of an outdoor cabinet to house the unit, which would withstand Tiree’s weather – the project launch date was delayed.

Archie John MacLean (TRD Director) made a speech after the sale to provide information regarding this project. Funds were raised, through various donations and a grant provided by the British Heart Foundation.

Thanks were given to the project donors – United Auctions, I A MacKinnon Haulage, Hamilton Brothers, NFU Mutual Oban (Warnock, MacDougall, Husthwaite & MacLean), AJ MacLean, Coll & Tiree Vets, AA MacIntosh, John Kennedy Transport, T Barbour, Alan & Janette Reid, Kerr Family, Heanish, Tarff Valley Ltd, SAC Consulting and an anonymous donor.

Without the very generous donations received this project would not have been possible. A fantastic sum of £2,700 was received from the sponsors – this allowed TRD to purchase the AED and an outdoor cabinet. A balance remains in this fund, and this will be ring-fenced within TRD’s accounts which will be used towards the cost of maintaining the AED (replacement batteries/pads) over its lifetime and will help towards the cost of replacing the unit at the end of the 10 year lifetime.

AEDs are compact, easy to use, safe and very effective. They can be used by anyone, whether or not they have had formal training. An AED gives the person using it voice instructions. An AED will not allow a shock to be given unless the collapsed person needs one. The AED is housed in an unlocked cabinet, that can be accessed 24/7.

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