Category Archives: Latest Stories

Have you Heard a Crex Crex

Corncrakes have been arriving since the 8th of April and their rasping calls are starting to be reported across the Hebrides, Western Isles, Orkney & North Scotland.

This noisy visitor migrates every year from central Africa and spends the summer raising chicks in the long vegetation around our crofts and farms. Unfortunately, corncrakes have suffered serious declines throughout the UK and the fortunes of this noisy bird remains precarious. On Tiree numbers remain strong but the number of calling males dipped below 300 last year, something that has not happened for over 16 years.

With support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, RSPB Scotland is working with farmers, crofters & communities continuing to help improve the breeding success of this rare bird. At the end of the 19th century, corncrakes bred in every region of the UK and tales of sleepless nights from the loud ‘crex crex’ were common. RSPB Scotland would love to know if this bird is causing sleep deprivation in your area! And with the launch of a new website for the project ‘Corncrake Calling’ RSPB Scotland are asking members of the public if they have seen or heard a corncrake. Reports can be submitted online here

https:// www.rspb.org.uk/our-work/ conservation/projects/corncrakecalling/ report-a corncrake/ and will help monitor the locations of the birds particularly in areas where we least expect them.

If you would like to get involved in the project, managing habitat, reporting corncrake calling or signing up as a Corncrake Champion, you can go to the website https:// www.rspb.org.uk/our-work/ conservation/projects/corncrakecalling/ or email CorncrakeCalling@rspb.org. uk

Doing the return to school differently in Argyll and Bute

Argyll and Bute Council has taken an innovative approach to ensure that young people feel safe, secure and resilient as they settle back into school-life after lockdown.

With pupils having spent a lot of time away from friends in recent months, and many no doubt feeling anxious, the council teamed up with Scout Adventures Lochgoilhead and Ardroy and Benmore Outdoor Education Centres, to develop an itinerary of outdoor learning activities for children and young people across Argyll and Bute, focussing on positive health and wellbeing.

Scout Adventures Lochgoilhead, were asked to deliver activities for the council’s school hubs during last summer’s lockdown. Due to the number of schools involved, the company enlisted the help of Ardroy and Benmore Outdoor Education Centres too, and together they put on a number of hugely popular outdoor activities. Because of this success, the trio are working with the council once again to deliver further outdoor learning for all Argyll and Bute pupils, from now until the summer break.

The Council’s Policy Lead for Education, Councillor Yvonne McNeilly, said: “The last 12 months have been a challenging time for everyone, not least our children and young people. “We know how important outdoor learning is in education, and we have no shortage of stunning natural resources around us, so I’m delighted that we’re working in partnership with these local centres again to provide pupils with amazing experiences. “It is vital to us that activities are flexible and focus on delivering what our pupils need. For some schools this means orienteering in the playground, for others it means being able to go mountain biking or hillwalking. It is also really important that every school has the chance to benefit from these type of activities, regardless of their location. Argyll and Bute has a diverse geographic landscape so it’s vital that all our children have the same opportunities, whether they live on the mainland or one of our islands.

“Outdoor learning has many, many benefits. It helps physical and mental health, enables young people to connect with the world around them and encourages independence; all things that are equally important as we enter into this recovery phase. I look forward to hearing about some of the exciting adventures our young people get up to.”

Judith McCleary, Head of Outdoors and Adventure at Scout Adventures Scotland, said: “The evidence for outdoor learning is long established; it builds confidence and helps with mental health and wellbeing. The stories we have heard from pupils, teachers and the instructors have really brought this evidence to life. One young person had never walked up a mountain before, which is quite unusual in a place like Argyll and Bute, but all his peers gave him a guard of honour when he reached the summit and the cheers could be heard from afar. “Allowing young people to connect with nature gives them the chance to flourish in a way they have never been able to before. We are so glad that we have been able to help deliver this programme. The last year has been extremely hard but, through these outdoor experiences, we are helping young people to recover and assisting Argyll and Bute Council in putting the wellbeing of pupils at the heart of their return to school.”

On The Water Again

Tiree Maritime Trust

Tiree Maritime Trust look forward to being able to offer opportunities for sailing and rowing this season once covid regulations allow.

Activities will take place on Loch Bhassapol from later this month.

Existing members are encouraged to renew Tiree Maritime Trust membership and can use PayPal to make payments. Membership renewal invitations will be emailed out shortly. This years membership price is £40 for the year with a suggested voluntary extra £20 for those that can afford to contribute a bit more.

For families the trust offers a special rate where for the price of 2 adults the whole family can take part. Membership helps us to cover essential running costs and overheads. Membership to the Maritime Trust can give members access to sailing dinghies and Gille-Brìghde, the rowing skiff as well as safety equipment required for activities and covers costs of insurance. New members and beginners are encouraged to contact info@tireemaritimetrust.org.uk for more info on how to become a member.

Membership also supports efforts to encourage the preservation of the traditional boats of Tiree. Tiree Maritime Trust are pleased to have received funding from Live Argyll to help with ongoing maintenance of the lug sail boats this year. If anybody is interested in learning about and helping with this work we would like to invite you to contact us by email at info@tireemartimetrust.org.uk.

Also… if you use Amazon you can support Tiree Maritime Trust every time you shop by adding us as your chosen charity. Visit smile.amazon.co.uk and search for Tiree Maritime Trust to get started. Thanks!

Council Welcomes Fuel Poverty Funding

Argyll and Bute Council has received an additional £2.3 million from the Scottish Government’s Energy Efficient Scotland: Area Based Scheme Programme to help reduce fuel poverty in the area.

The grant will be used by Argyll Community Housing Association (ACHA), in partnership with Argyll and Bute Council and SSE Energy Solutions to install external wall insulation to mixed tenure blocks of flats across Oban, Bute and Cowal. Leader of Argyll and Bute Council, Councillor Robin Currie, said: “This is fantastic news for the area. This funding will have a long-lasting impact on many, many people’s lives, reducing fuel poverty and carbon emissions, and allowing residents to live more comfortably.

“Over 300 homes in the Oban area have already benefitted from insulation as a result of the Scottish Government’s last round of funding. Again, this was a partnership with ACHA and resulted in improvements to 138 ACHA homes and 164 privately owned properties. “Proper insulation is a great way to reduce carbon emissions, save money on heating bills and do your bit for the environment. We are 100% committed to creating a climate friendly Argyll and Bute and positive steps like this are enabling us to do that.”

Welcoming the news, Alastair MacGregor, Chief Executive of Argyll Community Housing Association, said: “We are delighted to receive the news that £2.3 million in grant from the Scottish Government will come through the Council to continue our work in energy efficiency through external wall insulation. “This grant will go alongside £3 million of ACHA resources to improve the homes of around 500 tenants and owners in Oban, Bute, Dunoon and the Cowal villages. ACHA appreciate the ongoing partnership working of the Scottish Government and Argyll and Bute Council in tackling fuel poverty head on.”

New Chief Executive for Argyll Charity Body

Argyll and Bute Third Sector Interface (TSI) has announced the appointment of its new Chief Executive, Takki Sulaiman.

Peter McDill, Chair of Trustees, said,

“Takki is a local man who demonstrated to the Board a strong understanding of both Argyll and Bute and of the third sector. Since 2015 he has served as a trustee of the Friends of St.Conan’s Kirk in Lochawe, and since 2018 he has been a trustee with the UK wide domestic violence prevention and training charity, SafeLives. Takki has a strong track record in partnership working, most recently in a local authority setting where he successfully steered a new approach to working with the voluntary sector through coproduction – ensuring the expertise, vision and values of the third sector were at the heart of commissioning local services. The board of the TSI is confident that Takki is the right person to lead Argyll and Bute TSI in the next phase of its development.”

Incoming Chief Executive Takki Sulaiman says,

“We moved as a family to Argyll in 2015 but I commuted to work in Aberdeen and then to Greenwich in London. It is a real honour to be given the opportunity to work with such a dynamic network where I live, and now work. I am fully committed to building upon the strong foundation put in place at the TSi over the past three years”

Sea Change Touring Programme 2021

Supported by the Film Hub Scotland BFI FAN Exhibition Fund. The Sea Change Festival curated by Screen Argyll brings a season of international films directed by women online and in cinemas.

Our screenings in venues will resume once they can, in the meantime here are some ways to join us online.

“2020 was an amazing year for releases by female directors, many of these titles will be in the critics top ten for the year and deservedly feature in the awards season. This tour gives audiences another chance to see them at their best, on the big screen.” Jen Skinner, Director, Sea Change Film Festival

FREE SCREENING in partnership with North East Arts Touring and Driftwood Cinema MISBEHAVIOUR (12A) Sunday 7th March, 7pm.

Online film screening of MISBEHAVIOUR followed by a post film Zoom Panel discussion with the film’s director – Philippa Lowthorpe Sign up here: https:// www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/ misbehaviour-free-onlinescreening-for-iwd-2021- tickets-142130266453

‘There’s a very British sort of wackiness to this bizarre and farcical true story from the annals of pop culture, told here with charm and fun’ The Guardian Join us to support celebrate International Women’s Day and watch along together the 2020 film MISBEHAVIOUR about a group of women who hatch a plan to disrupt the 1970 Miss World beauty competition in London. Then join our panel discussion on Zoom with Director: Philippa Lowthorpe to discuss the film. The film is based on the true events of the 1970 Miss World pageant in London, when a global audience witnessed the patriarchy driven from the stage and the Western ideal of beauty turned on its head.

‘Director Philippa Lowthorpe and screenwriters Rebecca Frayn and Gaby Chiappe keep it light and likable: the story of people who aren’t exactly keeping calm, but carrying on all the same’ The Guardian

Join us with your own Misbehaviour cocktail creation! Tweet or share on Instagram @screenargyll

2021 Feminista Tour available here throughout March:

http:// screenargyll.co.uk/sea-changetouring-programme-2021/

We are thrilled to announce the films selected for the 2021 Feminista Film Festival & Tour. From musical pursuits to outdoor challenges, these women are change makers and trail blazers. You’ll definitely be inspired to turn up the music and start planning your next adventure!

Council Tax Freeze and Investment For The Future

Argyll and Bute Council has set a budget that freezes council tax in 2021/22 and invests millions in helping local people, businesses and the area as a whole to move on from the impact of covid-19.

Council Leader, Councillor Robin Currie said: “We are investing nearly £6.8 million to help Argyll and Bute keep going and keep growing. This budget takes on the unprecedented day-to-day and longer term challenges of living through a worldwide pandemic. We are investing in help for young people struggling to cope with life under covid restrictions. We are increasing support for families and others struggling financially. Investment in our road network, and digital connectivity, will help keep people and businesses connected. We will grab every opportunity for Argyll and Bute’s economic recovery, so are investing in action to bring the benefits of staycation tourism to the area. And longer term, we are investing in creating a sustainable future through climate-friendly initiatives, and progressing the area’s rural growth deal to action. This budget is about taking Argyll and Bute through challenge to a successful, sustainable future.”

The Council’s £6.8 million investment will be split across five themes:

• Investing in Argyll and Bute’s opportunities – £830,000 to deliver benefits from staycation, camping and campervan tourism. This will include for example waste disposal facilities and wardens to promote responsible camping.

• Keeping Argyll and Bute connected – £3,113,000 to improve the area’s network of roads, footpaths and pavements. This brings the overall Roads Reconstruction Budget to £10 million for 2021/22, and investment in green transport and travel to £900,000

• Sustaining Argyll and Bute’s future – £1,702,000 to set up a Recovery and Renewal Fund for recovery initiatives and future covid-19 financial pressures, to reduce the council’s carbon emissions and progress the rural growth deal.

• Improving opportunities for people and communities – £1,042,000 to boost the mental health and wellbeing of our young people, set up a Tackling Digital Exclusion Top Up Fund, increase welfare support, and encourage shopping local at Christmas.

• Supporting Argyll and Bute’s culture – £96,700 to develop Gaelic, culture, heritage and arts as drivers for economic recovery.

Councillor Gary Mulvaney, Policy Lead for Financial Services thanked the public for their contribution to the budget planning process: “We continue to dedicate the majority of our budget to supporting our young people and caring for our vulnerable residents, through our education services and the Health and Social Care Partnership. We know that this year many families’ budgets are especially stretched so have frozen council tax. Councils unfortunately though don’t have enough funding to do everything people want us to do so there are always difficult decisions to make. Thank you to everyone who got involved with the budget planning process this year. What you told us helped us reach the right decisions for Argyll and Bute.”

The council tax freeze keeps council tax for a dwelling in Band “D” at £1,367.73

Tiree Wave Classic Update

To all Competitors, present and past and friends of the event, It is with sadness to inform that we have taken the decision not to proceed with the March 2021 Tiree Wave Classic Event at this time.

The risks presented by the novel Coronavirus are still too great to jeopardise the event, its competitors and the population of Tiree by proceeding with the event at this time and after extensive consultation with Argyll & Bute Councils Environmental Health Department, we feel that this is the only correct course of action at this time.

It is our intention to now look to bring the Tiree Wave Classic event back to its original calendar position in mid October, with a plan to run the 2021 Tiree Wave Classic from the 10th – 16th (Inc) October 2021!

Obviously Covid may still be a strong consideration in October but we intend now to turn all of our efforts to being able to deliver a covid proofed event, later this year.

We would ask registered competitors at this time to email us and let us know whether you prefer to roll over your entry to October, or whether you require a refund at this point. We hope that many of you will be able to consider attending in October, should we be in a position to go ahead with the event at that time. Yours sincerely,

William Maclean – TWC Event Host

Leader and Chief Executive sign council up to Household Recycling Charter

Argyll and Bute Council’s Leader, Councillor Robin Currie, and Chief Executive, Pippa Milne, have formally signed up to the Scottish Government’s Household Recycling Charter and Code of Practice on behalf of the council.

This continues the council’s strong commitment to reducing its carbon emissions and tackling climate change. Argyll and Bute already complies with the majority of the essential requirements outlined in the charter’s Code of Practice. Leader of the council, Councillor Robin Currie, said:

“This underlines the council’s commitment to tackling climate change. New legislation, such as the Deposit Return Scheme and the Landfill Ban, will bring the Code of Practice under review. By signing up to the Charter, the council will now play an active role in the consultation process of the review. This is important given that Argyll and Bute’s geography presents unique challenges when collecting and processing waste, across dispersed communities and multiple islands.”

Pippa Milne, Chief Executive, added:

“This is the right thing to do at this time. We are working hard to promote the ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ message in Argyll and Bute and we thank our communities for doing all they can to cut down on avoidable waste. Signing up to the Charter will make it possible to apply for practical and financial support from Zero Waste Scotland to help Argyll and Bute comply with future charter guidelines.”

Adrian Bond, Recycling Programme Manager, Zero Waste Scotland, said:

“Argyll and Bute’s decision to sign up to the Household Recycling Charter is extremely welcome and an important step forward for the Charter nationally. It’s also welcome that Argyll and Bute will contribute to the review of the Charter, as, with a significant rural area to cover, the council will have an important contribution to make around delivering recycling services in areas with a more dispersed population. “Overall, this is another important demonstration of continued strong joint working as we all aim to increase the quantity and quality of recycling and make further progress towards Scotland’s national recycling targets.”

Policy Lead welcomes HMIE report on remote learning

Argyll and Bute Council’s Policy Lead for Education has welcomed a report from HM Inspectors of Education (HMIE) which provides a national overview of remote learning across Scotland. This report was developed to learn what is working well, identify challenges, and look at what further assistance is required to continue to improve the delivery of remote learning to young people.

Councillor Yvonne McNeilly said: “The HMI report acknowledges the sheer amount of hard work that local authorities have carried out to ensure that our children and young people can continue their education at home during these difficult times. “It recognises the many different challenges faced by both rural and urban communities, and is a clear endorsement of the plans we have developed to meet the needs of our individual schools and pupils. “Our teachers know their learners best, so it is really encouraging to read about the dedication our staff have shown to doing things differently and creating opportunities for new ways of working. “It’s great to see the council’s digital learning teams acknowledged too. They have worked hard to deliver training to staff in the use of digital learning platforms and, with support of colleagues from corporate IT, have enabled a significant number of devices to be delivered to learners to ensure they can effectively access remote learning.

“We put our children and young people at the heart of everything we do and I would like to take this opportunity to thank our schools staff for their creative thinking and always putting the education of our pupils first.”

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