Category Archives: Community Announcements

Your Views Needed On Amenity Services

Argyll and Bute’s council has to identify options to meet a projected budget gap of £6.7 million in 2021/2022, and as part of that, is asking for your views on amenity services.

Savings can only come from a relatively small proportion of the council’s budget (32%), because of national priorities and other factors outside council control:

• Teacher posts are protected nationally

• Social work costs are managed by the Health and Social Care Partnership

• Utility, loan and other costs depend on external factors.

Some savings have to come from amenity services, which cover everything from bins and grass cutting, to parking, road repairs and public toilets.

The council is therefore asking people to give their views on how best to make savings in amenity services by answering a short consultation. The survey also gives people the chance to give their thoughts on whether local communities would consider stepping in to save a service at risk, and what if any support they would want to be able to do this.

Councillor Gary Mulvaney, Depute Leader and Policy Lead for Strategic Finance, said:

“Another year and millions more expected to be cut from council services for Argyll and Bute. It’s not enough to say that these are tough times for councils. Years of budget cuts are eroding Argyll and Bute’s council services, and at a time now when they have never been more important – look at how much our communities have depended on council services to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. We have to focus on the support that is most vital for the area. We have to look again at the work we do that is above and beyond the ‘must-do’ duties of a council. I would encourage anyone who uses our amenity services to give their views.”

You can answer the consultation on the council’s website:

https:// consultations/amenity-servicesconsultation.

If you have difficulty accessing the web version, you are welcome to contact the council at 01436 658 981.

Community Council Set For November Poll

Tiree will see an autumn byelection for its Community Council as six candidates put themselves forward for election.

The poll was called by Argyll and Bute Council after a spring date for community council elections throughout the authority was pulled due to coronavirus.

Four vacancies in the island’s community council were declared. With nominations now in, six candidates have put themselves forward:

• Jacqueline Bennett, Schoolhouse, Balemartine

• Iona Campbell, 4 Baugh

• Stewart Carr, Sanderling, Balephetrish

• Iona Larg, The Two Harvests, No. 2, Balemartine

• John Patience, Taigh an Altire, Caolis

• Louise Reid J, 11 Sruthan Terrace, Crossapol

On Thursday 15 October, Argyll and Bute Council will send out postal ballots to everyone whose name was on the Electoral Roll on 1 September 2020. These have to be returned by 4 pm on Thursday 5 November 2020.

The ballots will contain the candidates’ statements, and we are looking to see if there might be other ways for candidates to set out their stall before votes have to be in. One way might be for them to introduce themselves at the Community Council public meeting on 14 October. We will post details with the agenda of the next meeting.

Dr John Holliday, Convener,

Tiree Community Council

Gaelic: Getting Out of The Last Chance Saloon

‘Gaelic language in “crisis” in island heartlands’. ‘Warning Gaelic “could be dead” in 10 years. ‘Gaelic “disappearing” from Scottish island communities’. These were the apocalyptic headlines a couple of months ago.

These stories were based on two years of research by a collaboration of Scottish universities headed up by the University of the Highlands and Islands. The study looked at those places where Gaelic is still a community language: the whole of the Western Isles, Staff in on Skye and Tiree.

Curious to see what they had found in a bit more detail, and particularly to see what they had unearthed on Tiree, I ordered the full report, The Gaelic Crisis in the Vernacular Community. It is 480 pages of solid reading. The researchers had gone beyond the Census figures and looked at children in Gaelic pre-school units and surveyed teenagers in the Outer Isles. And a few of you may remember a 2016 public consultation they held in An Talla. It is blindingly obvious that Gaelic is much less part of day-to-day Tiree life than it used to be.

A little over a century ago, in 1901, almost half (44%) of the island’s population could only speak Gaelic. By 1981, 74% of the Tiree residents reported that they could speak some Gaelic. This was down to 38% at the last Census in 2011, and the figure is expected to fall to 31% by next year. This is the lowest percentage in any of the communities where Gaelic is commonly spoken, and compares to 66% in South Uist.

But the study found that ticking ‘yes’ next to the census question ‘Can you speak Gaelic?’ is not the same thing as what they call ‘active Gaelic speakerhood’. Although half the children on Tiree can speak Gaelic (thanks to the outstanding work of the Gaelic medium unit), Gaelic is only spoken by adults and children in 15% of households on the island. In a detailed study of teenagers in the Western Isles (not Tiree), almost half could talk Gaelic at least reasonably. But they tended not to use it talking to their parents or to each other, particularly when they were discussing important things like gaming, music or films. Surprisingly, more than half did not consider themselves ‘Gaels’.

The numbers of Gaelic speakers in Scotland has been falling for 150 years. The 1872 Education Act – which built five new schools on Tiree, but because of which Gaelic was deliberately downgraded and stigmatised – has been a huge factor. So were centuries of discrimination against Highlanders as a poor and backward people – something that has only recently changed.

Tiree has been particularly badly hit because of our endless migration to find work in Vancouver and Glasgow. You can’t blame a lack of money. Last year £28 million was spent in Scotland on Gaelic broadcasting, teaching and the quango Bòrd na Gàidhlig. But most of this is topdown spending, designed to raise the language’s status and its ‘visibility in the public space’.

For example, Scottish Natural Heritage is now bound to create a glossy Gaelic Language Plan, updated every five years. This includes policies such as ‘We will continue to use a bilingual version of the disclaimer that accompanies all SNH e-mails’. This is not to belittle the efforts of SNH staff. The point is that this sort of spending does not get teenagers talking to each other in Gaelic in Balephetrish. The report recommends a change of tack. We can’t just keep doing what we’re doing and expect things to turn around.

We have to do something radically different, and we mustn’t expect government to come up with the answer. We need to put our resources into basic things, like encouraging mothers to speak to their children in Gaelic at home and like making it cool for teenagers to talk about Call of Duty in Gaelic. Exactly what the Tiree Trust’s outstanding Gaelic Development Officers – Ishbel Campbell, for the last two years, and now Rhoda Meek – are doing. Just more of it.

Tiree entered what the authors dispiritingly call the ‘moribund phase’ some time between 2001 and 2011. This is when less than 45% of a community speaks Gaelic, and less than 15% of family households have Gaelic as their main language. The figures for Tiree nine years ago were 38% and 15%. We are drinking in the last chance saloon. Some would say that we have taken up the dinner, bed and all-day breakfast option there. But we might be able to turn the situation around.

The two bright spots are that that Gaelic is still spoken in 15% of the island’s family households and that 51% of our young people can speak Gaelic. The job in hand is to make them to want to keep speaking it. That needs commitment from Gaelic speakers and non-Gaelic speakers alike to get to a situation where at least half the island can speak some Gaelic. Do we have that? If you want to continue this discussion, do contact me.

Dr John Holliday | 220385 |

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

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 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 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 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 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,

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

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 | 220385 or

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 or call 220 074 to discuss further.

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