Newsletter Date Volume 1, Issue 1
HYDRO NEWS Bute Community Land Company (BCLC) is delighted to announce the appointment of global management, engineering and development consultancy, Mott MacDonald, to oversee the development stage of the proposed Balnakailly Hydro Scheme in Bute’s Community Forest. Supported by the Scottish Government’s Climate Challenge Fund, which sponsors only those projects which can offer a lasting legacy of measurable and significant carbon emission reduction, Mott MacDonald will work with both BCLC and the island’s community to develop the Hydro Scheme project and therefore, the future financial sustainability of Bute’s Community Forest. The timeline for the development stage starts from now until 31st March 2012, in which time Karen Keast, who Mott MacDonald have designated as the Balnakailly Hydro Scheme project manager, will work closely with the Bute Forest Manager to prepare and plan for the establishment of a hydro plant in Bute’s much celebrated Community Forest. During the months of September and December, the local community will be invited to public events in order to undertake comprehensive and inclusive formal community consultation. Together, the directors of BCLC-in particular consultant engineer Jim Mitchell, the Forest Project Manager and Mott MacDonald will be available to answer questions and provide information on the project’s development. With both EU and Scottish government support in the form of Highlands and Island Enterprise and LEADER grants, BCLC has been able to employ a Forest manager for a total period of two years in which to pursue the development of environmentally and financially sustainable projects in Bute’s Community Forest. The efforts of the Forest Manager and the vision of BCLC are now soon to be realised—after months of consultation with statutory consultees, Community Energy Scotland, and independent experts, work is already underway!
INSIDE THIS ISSUE: Thanks Reeni - P2 Volunteer! - P5 Meet the Director - P2 Brandish Bute - P3-4
GETTING INVOLVED In our last newsletter, we appealed for our members to contact us if they would be interested in joining any of three new steering groups which would focus on BCLC, Bute Forest and Brandish Bute, as well as inviting those who wanted to contribute in the role of director on the board of BCLC. We had one response to the latter, and we have been pleased to welcome Peter Vincent to the board. We are also now putting together meetings of the steering groups, with the first Brandish Bute steering group meeting and Bute Forest meeting - or Forest Support Group, as it has been named - having already taken place. BCLC director Jim Mitchell told us: "The first meeting of the Forest Support Group (FSG) went well, with six members attending and three directors. "The group was updated on progress with the various consultants working on plans for the forest, as well as the interim forestry operations about to get under way. "A discussion was then had about what the FSG could contribute. A range of options was covered, including raising volunteers for the forest operations, looking at a pathway repair and development programme, as well as looking at various aspects of forest habitats.â€?
MEET THE DIRECTOR We would like to extend a very warm welcome to Peter Vincent, a new addition to the Bute Community Land Company board of directors. Peter, 72, put his name forward for the position after we invited applications from those members of the community who felt they had time, commitment and skills to offer, and we are very pleased to bring him on board. Peter and his wife, Tina, grew up in the English home counties, and after holidaying on Bute for many years, decided to make the big move after the youngest of their four children left home.
Former forest project manager, Reeni Kennedy-Boyle, came on board with Bute Community Land Company in October 2010, and worked tirelessly on behalf of the island's residents to transform the community's vision of Rhubodach Forest into a reality.
We would like to say a massive thank you to Reeni for all her hard work and we wish her all the very best for the future.
"We both love the scenery, fresh air, freedom from congestion and the chance to live in a smaller community. We also needed a location from which we could realistically commute to Heathrow, and Bute was the obvious choice," Peter said. "Plus, we hate hot weather!" A design and manufacturing engineer by profession, Peter still runs his business, based in England, and has spent much of the last few years on the island with his wife, working on their house and garden, and learning more about Bute. "We have become aware of the island's illustrious past, and both the need and potential to regenerate the economy of the island. "I have watched and supported the efforts of BCLC and now that we plan to spend the majority of our time on Bute, I took the opportunity, following the recent EGM, to seek nomination as a director," he added. With a background in business and industry with some time and enthusiasm to spare, we are confident Peter will make a valuable contribution to the company, and to the island. "I suspect that the island has a fairly limited number of candidates with the experience, interest and time to make a contribution, and I hope I can do just that."
BRANDISH BUTE Brandish Bute took the products to the community during the month of August, setting up stall at Bute agricultural show - a very brave move as Rothesay residents will know, as the day was plagued by torrential rain.
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Scotland on Sunday story gives Bute nationwide coverage!
COMMUNICATIONS STRATEGY BCLC director Sam Tweedlie has been working hard at developing a communications strategy for Bute Community Land Company. The aim is to improve the lines of communication within BCLC - that is communication between those working on the forest, those working with Brandish Bute, and those working on any wide range of tasks relating to the company. Our members have told us in recent months they would like more information from us, and the communications strategy will address that issue directly. You will have noticed a change in our newsletter, which will now be available to view online in a format that can be updated as often as we have news to report. This e-newsletter will be available at all times for you to view at your leisure. You will receive an email notification quarterly to remind you to take a look, and a print version of the newsletter will be sent out quarterly to those members without an email address. BCLC interns Freddie Dodge and Justine Ballantyne have put a tremendous amount of hard work into re-organising the computer systems at the office and putting the plan together alongside Sam. They have done a fantastic job which we are sure will improve this trouble-spot flagged up by our members. There is still one area that we need to improve on and we are hoping you can help - do you have experience in web design, and would you be willing to give some of your time to BCLC to help redesign and organise the company's websites? If so, we would love to hear from you - you can contact us at email@example.com, and one of our team will get back to you as soon as possible. Thank you!
If you would like a safe haven from the weather now that the summer is ending, the Brandish Bute shop in East Princes Street is the place to go. The shop is now stocking a range of Rothesay Rumour t-shirts, which we absolutely love - or absobutely, we should say! Also in stock are some great Bute logo t-shirts, as well as our usual excellent selection of Bute's finest food and arts and crafts produce. If you can't make it into the shop, why not take a look at the Brandish Bute website? While making your shopping easier, the website is the perfect opportunity to promote the work of local producers, while showing the world what a talented bunch we all are on the Isle of Bute. If you use Facebook, you can follow Brandish Bute news by liking the official page - you can also do your bit for promoting the island simply by sharing the link to the page and website with all your friends and family. But getting back to those fantastic t-shirts - do you have any design ideas of your own for the Brandish Bute range? Marketing manager Charles Dixon-Spain would love to hear your suggestions, and you can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
BRANDISH BUTE MEETING Brandish Bute Marketing Manager Charles Dixon-Spain reported a very productive first meeting of the Brandish Bute steering group.
The steering group felt that simple moves such as keeping the main door open and a ‘you are welcome to browse’ sign in the shop might encourage more people to take a look inside and see what Brandish Bute has to offer. The use of coupons and vouchers would also be a great way to increase interest.
“The Brandish Bute group meet was excellent with a great deal of good discussion about Brandish Bute,” Charles said. Suggestions from the meeting included introducing a visitors book both online and in the shop at East Princes Street and making it more of an information point for Rhubodach Forest.
It was also suggested that Brandish Bute make more use of social media sites, and seek more volunteers to help in the shop. Caption describing picture or graphic
If you would like to offer some time and assistance to the great work Brandish Bute is doing to promote the products of Bute, contact Charles Dixon-Spain at email@example.com
USE OUR SOCIAL MEDIA Don’t forget to link up with BCLC’s social networking pages for the latest information. Plus, you can share our pages with your friends! www.facebook.com/butecommunitylandcompany www.facebook.com/butecommunityforest www.facebook.com/brandishbute
PROJECTS WE ARE LOOKING AT
IT’S YOUR FOREST, IT’S YOUR FUTURE As the work in Rhubodach Forest continues to move forward, the more we need your help. We’ve had interest from members several times about volunteering opportunities with Bute Community Land Company, and we are delighted that we are now seeking members of the Bute community to get more hands-on with their forest. As well as the ancient Balnakailly Forest, the Bute community also own a modern plantation and we want to begin developing this commercial resource as part of our objective to make Rhubodach Forest self-sustainable. This is where you come in. At the moment, BCLC does not have the financial resources to employ more forest staff, although we envisage that it may be possible in 2012. So to develop our wonderful island asset, we are looking for volunteers from the Bute community to help us in a variety of tasks.
Moving Timber Bicycle Trails – planning Bicycle Trails – working Walking Trails – planning Walking Trails – working
As well as developing commercial forestry at Rhubodach Forest, we are always looking at ways we can further the commercial leisure potential. The forest is an incredible resource for the Bute community and we are determined to make the most of it for the benefit of the whole island. We are looking at the feasibility of creating bicycle trails at the moment, and if the results give us the go-ahead, we will be looking for you, the community, to advise and assist us in making them as great as they can be.
All volunteers must be 16+ and for some work, such as tree-felling, volunteers must be certified to use heavy machinery such as chainsaws. Safety is our most important priority and while we have limited stocks of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), we need more.
Walking paths are also on our agenda – we know how important it is to you to provide good, safe access to your forest, and it is absolutely fundamental to have walking paths clearly and safely established for our visitors.
You don’t have to be a member of BCLC to volunteer with us – this is your community and your forest, we invite everyone to make a difference.
Other projects we are considering include:
If you would like to find out more about these opportunities, give us a ring at our new office on 01700 500541, or contact Forest Support Group member Ellen Lambert on 07715 748207. Alternatively, pop in and see us at Unit 5, Victoria Street, Rothesay. We hope to hear from you soon, and we can’t wait to get started.
Establishing and marketing the forest as a potential site for Outward Bound or Duke of Edinburgh schemes Researching and marketing the archaeology and history of Balankailly Mapping and documenting the plants and animals specific to different forest zones Exploiting the ‘dark skies’ of Balnakailly for astronomical use Arranging and marketing photography sessions/ opportunities for groups/ individuals If any of these projects interest you, or if you have any other ideas that we haven’t considered, get in touch!
PROJECTS WE ARE
HAVE YOUR SAY Remember Bute Community Land Company would love to hear from you about anything we've told you about in our newsletter. Any views or suggestions you have are more than welcome. You can write to us at BCLC, Unit 5, Victoria Street, Rothesay, PA20 0AJ, or you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
www.bclc.co.uk Donâ€™t forget to check out the Community Development Plan on the BCLC website www.bclc.co.uk
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Bute Community Land Company Limited. Reg. No.: SC365515 | Charity No.: SC041414