A view on Fishing,Community and Life on the NW coast of Scotland

This is going to be a delicate post as its subject is ongoing, in fact that is part of our problem is that it has been ongoing since last June. Going on my Social Enterprise course is very good for these situations. Although I have no change of mind or opinion about the problem, I am trying to think from a different perspective, very hard when you believe in a cause. The negotiations between our Community Company and the Landlord have stalled and in my mind the whole project is in danger. There may be no clear right or wrong but the issues are very complicated and are layered in years of history and conditioning. Sometimes I think we are living in a bit of a time warp here, I suppose because of our geographical location that is the case in some peoples minds. Although I have striven to see the other side I am failing to understand why our not for profit Community Company, which is now a registered charity, should be seen as a vehicle to make profits for our Landlord. We have to deal with the fact that we do not own the river and are due ,in a capitalist system, to pay the owner for the right to use his property. What I find unfair is he can say no and we as volunteers say ok and walk away. We already accept the fact that we are taking on a huge risk, sleepless nights, stress and everything else that goes with it to try to improve services and wellbeing in our community but to sign away a high percentage of our freely volunteered efforts this way just does not seem right. I think that what the Community Company has done so far is amazing in such a short time. It already employs one full time and one part time employees, has successfully refurbished and run the Filling Station, applied to take over the ownership and running of the toilets, more employment by the way, is currently looking at replacing our broadband service with a system that should increase our dismal speeds of .3 meg to between 7 and 10 megs,yet more employment, introducing a pilot project to help with elderly care in the community, and yes yet more work.This alongside efforts in tackling fuel poverty and setting up a wood fuel supply. The survival of the Applecross community is such that the list will not get any shorter in the near future. The key to remote rural communities is that to survive we have to do it ourselves. When we apply for grants they usually are for taking over units or refurbishing run down operations and then the rest is up to us to keep things running. I think we are up against a mindset that has not caught up with the thinking in our community. The problems involved with setting up the Hydro scheme are immense as it is, is the grid strong enough to take our supply?,will the connection charge be too much?,will the bank lend us the finance?, the last thing we need is an unco-operative Landlord. I have come to realise writing this post that the most difficult thing is being a frustrated optimist. We will be trying out our newly learned skills from the Social Enterprise Academy over the next few weeks.

On a lighter note I loved the stories that Robert came back from Glasgow with. He and Marion were at the Festival Club at the end of Celtic Connections and saw amongst others Treacherous Orchestra. They were brilliant as usual but when Rock, Salt and Nails come on late their lead man made no bones about why and accused the ‘big,fat bouncer’ at the door for not letting him in. Unfortunately the said bouncer heard him and as he did not have any sense of humour and along with his mates clambered on to stage and proceeded to duff up musician. Luckily not to badly beaten up, he dusted himself down and got on with his gig, ah Glasgow you canna beat it.

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