Spent two days on Skye on a training course which will hopefully better equip me to carry out community work in Applecross. Social enterprise is a growing movement and is seen as a way to allow communities to survive the local authority cuts which are only just starting. Communities have to find ways to set up income generation projects to keep essential services going, becoming more business orientated is going to become a way of life for communities like Applecross if they are going to thrive in the future. There are about a dozen people from across the Highlands attending and are from a variety of backgrounds, local Development Trusts,venues, Community Companies, Charities and Funders. I found the event thought provoking and there is a remarkable coming together of everyone, evident from the evenings in the Armadale Hotel. Although it is a course for “leaders” a few of us are slightly uncomfortable with the concept of being a leader. There are a few of us who prefer “enabler” but a minor point I suppose as long as you do not get big headed. There is a good bonding in the group and I would go as far as to say I am making really good friends and can see myself dropping in to see how their projects are getting on. The days are broken up with talks, workshops and little practical exercises which tend to point out our failing in working together. Everyone seems to have issues and we are encouraged to find different ways of finding solutions and also find out how we approach problems. It is also a personal appraisal which tells how you interact with people and how you keep motivated under difficult circumstances. We know that the Hydro scheme will be very hard to finance and it appears it is very difficult negotiating with our landlord. Finding ways round these problems may seem insurmountable at times but if we are to survive as a viable community we are going to have to find the way. The people we are negotiating with and banks are only interested in the bottom line while we are interested in the health of the community, the declining school role, the cutting back of all services. Still had time on a quiet moment to watch four or five trawlers towing up the Sound of Sleat and thought what a waste.
Although this seems to be a down beat post it was very inspiring to be with a group of people that were achieving lots with in their communities and to be honest it was good fun as well. Also good to know that our problems were not the only ones and it does you good to have them shared and reciprocated. There are a lot of good people in this wee country. If we lose that we might as well walk away now. The banter in the pub was top drawer.
Going on the ferry was a little daunting and extremely basic although going all the way to Inverness meant that option was out of the question so the shoogly ferry it was. Getting your wing mirrors pushed in by the operator tells you what little space there was on board and seeing the turntable being spun round by hand takes a bit of getting used to. Anyway safely home and back to work tomorrow with a different perspective, for a while any way.