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Offices located throughout Scotland

Not for Profit and Third Sector Advisory Services Johnston Carmichael is the valued advisor to a significant number of charities and not for profit organisations, covering the breadth of Scotland. These include grant making trusts and foundations, religious bodies, education, youth and arts organisations, environment, healthcare, welfare charities and community company’s.

Contact us To find out more about how we can better advise your organisation, please contact one of our team.

Our specialist team provide a range of not for profit services including:

Jamie Waugh Partner

Jillian Sharp Director, General Practice

Annual Accounts

Inverness Office

Inverness Office

• Audit and Independent Examination

T: 01463 796200

T: 01463 796200



Scott Jeffrey Director, Audit

Alan Main VAT Manager

Inverness Office

Inverness Office

T: 01463 796200

T: 01463 796200



VAT • Reviewing partial exemption calculations to ensure maximum recovery. • Advising re VAT recoverable on capital expenditure projects. Projections • Assisting with projections for capital projects and for inclusion in grant funding applications. Specific Not for Profit and Third Sector Assistance • Advising on setting up wholly owned trading company for activities out-with primary charitable purpose. • Community Renewable Projects – advising on VAT and tax implications. • Corporate Governance • Income recognition based on entitlement, certainty, measurement etc. • Activity and income classification amongst restricted, unrestricted and designated reserves.

Johnston Carmichael, Clava House Cradlehall Business Park, Inverness, IV2 5GH Telephone: 01463 796200 Fax: 01463 796201

National Firm of the Year

ACCOUNTANCY FIRM OF THE YEAR Voluntary Action Lochaber “helping communities to help themselves”

Inside this issue: Kirsty’s Legacy Continues Kirsty’s Kids


Tackling Lochaber’s Environmental Issues The LIFE Project


T | +44 (0)1397 706 044 E | W |

Growing an Organisation James McPherson Young, VAL


VocAL is also available as an e-magazine online at

Lack Of Funding, Change In Thinking The Two Lochs Project


Office Hours:

Spotlight on Social Enterprise Voluntary Action Lochaber


An Drochaid Claggan Road Fort William PH33 6PH

Monday - Thursday: Friday: Weekends:

09.00 - 17.00 09.00 - 16.30 Closed

©2013 Voluntary Action Lochaber Registered Company Ltd. by Guarantee Charity no. SC020740 Company no. 179048

“ There are three things that any organisation needs to be successful; investment, business planning and learning. ” (P13)

Shopmobility Lead The Way In Highland Flora McKee, VAL


Three Keys To Successful Organisations The Social Enterprise Academy


Foodbank Off To Good Start The Lochaber Food Bank


New High Speed Internet Locheilnet CIC


Generations Working Together In Lochaber Generations Working Together


Lochaber’s Volunteering Generation Claire Harper, VAL


SQA Accredited Award in Volunteering Skills 19 Voluntary Action Lochaber

Proud Member of the HTSP:

Fort William Food And Drink Festival Nevis Radio Meet the Board Of Directors Voluntary Action Lochaber



Contact Details | Staff Directory


VocAL Magazine | Spring 2013

David Bryan, Social Enterprise Academy

Voluntary Action Lochaber

Kirsty’s focus was on helping Children and Young Adults

Kirsty’s Legacy Continues Through Kirsty’s Kids By John Bryden Chairman, Kirsty’s Kids

VocAL Magazine | Spring 2013

What Is Kirsty’s Kids? The Kirsty Bryden Memorial Trust, or, helps to improve the lives of children and families who are suffering from serious life limiting illnesses or additional needs. The Trust was formally opened in 2010 at an opening ceremony by MSP Dave Thompson at Craiglea (Lochailort) to pay tribute to Kirsty Bryden, a young girl who’s courage and selfless determination to the care of sick children around the world was much appreciated during her short young life. What Did Kirsty Do? Kirsty was a young girl who devoted her life selflessly to the


care of children in need. During her life, she was always helping children through fundraising. From the age of five she took a keen interest in others, and if she was ever asked what she wanted to do when she grew up, her reply would always be the same: “I want to help kids”. At the age of 14, Kirsty had already been instrumental in raising hundreds of pounds for good charitable causes. She travelled to Banavie School to help as a classroom assistant for children with additional needs, and she loved and adored helping them. One child in the classroom was particularly disruptive, and often required several extra helpers. When Kirsty arrived, small as she was, her presence was felt and he was quietened instantly. Although the child was limited in both speech and mobility, even at a young age Kirsty knew the importance of treating everyone

as equal. Kirsty was a hard worker, and by picking up extra shifts at work and by doing lots of fundraising, she was able to fund a trip to Mozambique. When she first arrived in the country, Kirsty personally funded improvements to an orphanage, taught locals how to work together, and taught the kids to look after each other before themselves. At one point, she even managed to get an old broken down truck running again, which she drove to the city, loaded it with provisions and returned to give the 130

Kirsty in Mozambique orphans she was looking after a Christmas party. She was a small girl, but when it came to helping others she was capable of doing the work of 2 adults with ease. While working for the family business, Kirsty was always asking to have time off to help needy kids across the world. She was doing just that on the day of her death.

On this particular stretch of road, there had been 314 accidents in just 2 years. After 2 years of hard campaigning, the road was finally repaired and no further accidents are known to have occurred to this date. Kirsty’s zest for life and helping ‘her kids’ has inspired people from all over the world. She continues to inspire kids today. To Kirsty, every child suffering through ill health, mental illness,

John Kilts up for a ‘Fun Fundraising’ day

physical abuse, social difficulties and serious life limiting illnesses were all important and needed our help. Carrying On Kirsty’s Mission. Prior to her death in 2010, Kirsty had already driven thousands of miles (the length and breadth of the UK) to attend charity camps where she spent her time nursing kids with short life expectancy. In the months leading up the accident, she was planning on using her tiny 10hp motorbike for another trip to raise much needed funds for “her needy children”. This trip would involve traveling the entire coastline of the UK. Unfortunately, because of the accident she was never able to start the trip. During 2011, Kirsty’s dad John decided to take her place on

the challenge to raise £10,000 for needy children. The charity motorcycle trip took John 4 weeks and encompassed over 8,053 miles. During this time, motorcycle clubs, social groups, walkers and individuals were inspired when they heard about Kirstys work. Through dozens of fundraising events and much hard work, a total of £30,000 was raised for the Trust, every penny of which has gone to help those children much in need. Kirsty’s Kids Today. Today, Kirsty’s Kids has developed a voluntary programme for children who are finding it tough. We take them on as unpaid volunteers at Trust House in Lochailort where they can learn new skills and abilities while at the same time developing a sense of belonging


VocAL Magazine | Spring 2013

Kirsty was driving a Lochaber mother to Aberdeen Children’s Hospital. She waited at the hospital with the mother and her sick baby daughter before returning them home. Driving across Scotland and back was a pleasure for Kirsty when she could make a difference to the life of a sick child. When Kirsty came home she went to collect her younger brother. On the way, a young friend was needing a chat, and being a caring listener Kirsty was always there for others to give help and advice. Tragically, both Kirsty and her young passenger were killed when the car left the road on a notorious accident blackspot. Both tragically lost their lives.

Voluntary Action Lochaber

VocAL Magazine | Spring 2013

and value. They play an active part in preparing Trust House and Garden for children with short life expectancy. Through this, they learn to believe in themselves while getting the chance to provide future employers a certificate of commitment and references. Alongside the social benefit that the programme offers children, we have also:

he would raise more funds for the Trust than John ever could alone. She was right, and since then Eeyore has become an avid fund-raiser. He has been to all of the sponsored ‘fun fundraising’ events and he even stayed on the back of the bike during the entire 2011 UK challenge.

Last year Eeyore even went to the USA on a solo fundraising • Raised thousands of pounds tour! He was hosted by various assisting organisations by sponsors and came back providing them with much from the USA with $6,500 needed ‘wish list’ items. (approximately £4,250)! These items are things that the organisations cannot fund Eyores 2013 Endurance in normal circumstances, Challenge and Kirsty’s Kids assists them to enhance the level of Following the success of the care provided. 2011 challenge we are sending • Taken 52 children suffering John off with Eeyore once again from short life expectancy on Kirstys “wee tiny bike”. We and serious life limiting are aiming to raise an ambitious illnesses to a fantastic £15,000 for the Trust. climbing adventure centre in Edinburgh. As a no overheads Highland • Provided specialist light and Children’s Charity, every single sound sensory equipment to penny raised goes towards the special needs children. children that we help. We operate • Funded 15 kids to attend on good will and sponsorship, special and fun summer using unpaid volunteers who camps. use their own private cars, pay • Funded kids to go on CHAS for their own fuel and attend young adults summer camp. events out of their own pockets. • Funded Clown doctors We source posters, badges for hospitals and hospices and promotional material from through CHAS. sponsors which ensures we • Provided a specialist cot and deliver 100% of all donations specialist portable unit to direct to those in need. We CHAS in Inverness. always investigate every cause to ensure no cash gets wasted Why Does Eeyore Feature So through misguided good intent. Much In Kirsty’s Kids? So if you can help Kirsty’s Kids Growing up, Kirsty loved Eeyore by providing some bike-related and it was her favourite toy. assistance; perhaps mechanical When John was fundraising, help, tyres, panniers or clothing Kirsty’s mum told him to take please give us a call. We also Eeyore with him as she believed have a Virgin Money giving page


so you can sponsor John and Eeyore online (gift aid included). John would also like to have a load of fellow bikers see him off at Lochailort, or even join him on route. There will be a short remembrance service prior to John’s departure at 11am on the 4th of July that is open to absolutely everyone. The adventure (shown right) will take him from Hull into Europe and up into the Norwegian mountains before cutting across into Sweden, Finland, Lap-land and into the Northern Territories of Russia. In the second half of the trip, John and Eeyore will travel back North to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Germany, France and then back north towards home. To give you some idea of the magnitude of this feat, the bike is 10hp and John’s lawn mower at home is 13hp. If the bike breaks down, John has pledged to push it until some fellow bikers come along to assist! No money from donations made in aid of Kirsty’s Kids will ever be used for administration or expenses on this charity fundraising event. Even fuel will be purchased from personal funds (or jerry can donations like last time). Please help by donating online, sending a cheque or even contacting us to create your own event to show us your support. Call John on 01687 470 404 or email for more information. Visit our website:

VocAL Magazine | Spring 2013

Eeyore’s 2013 Endurance Challenge Route Map


Voluntary Action Lochaber

1. Missing Insulation

LIFE Tackles Lochaber’s Tough Environental Issues By Kendra Turnbull Manager, The LIFE Project

VocAL Magazine | Spring 2013

In late 2012, funding was granted to the Lochaber Environmental Group (LEG) from the Climate Challenge Fund (CCF) for the ‘Lochaber Initiative on Fuel and Energy project 2012 - 2015,’ or LIFE Project. The project, now funded for 2 ½ years, aims to empower Lochaber residents to address fuel and energy issues and to reduce carbon emissions, which will ultimately lower fuel bills and create warmer homes. On average, UK households emit around 2.9 tonnes of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) every year through electricity use. This is primarily because much of the electricity supplied is created from the burning of fossil fuels. By reducing our electrical energy consumption, we can reduce our carbon emissions and, as a bonus, reduce the amount of money that we spend on electricity. CO2 is responsible for 85% of the UK’s man-made greenhouse gas emissions, and once in the air it stays there for


2. Front Door

50-200 years. Over its lifetime the LIFE project will help Lochaber residents to understand how they can reduce their energy usage by better understanding where it is used/ wasted in their own homes. Thermal imaging surveys, offered for free by the project, cleverly highlight areas where insulation is missing or draughts are getting in. Image 1 (above) shows where a patch of loft insulation had either been missed out in construction, or moved. As air circulates from hot to cold areas this missing insulation would mean that the warmth of the house would seep through this patch of ceiling. This also adds risk of moisture collecting on the colder plaster and possibly causing damp. Draughty doors and windows can account for 15% of heat loss from your house. Cool air often filters in from outside, seeping through gaps in doors and the window frames. By highlighting these problem areas, the project can encourage householders to take simple measures to draught proof their homes. Images 2 and 3 above show the difference that a thick curtain can make in front of an external door.

3. Door With Curtain

The project also loans people the use of an OWL electricity monitor. This monitor shows the user what amount of electricity they are using in real time (and tells them how much that it will cost them). By being able to actually see how much it is costing you to leave a light on when you don’t need it, or by filling the kettle with more water than needed, it is hoped that householders will be able to make bespoke changes to their lifestyles to reduce their energy consumption. As the table opposite shows, one simple change can be to install energy efficient CFL of LED light bulbs. However, LED and CFL light bulbs can be expensive to buy so to help out the project has put together a ‘Light bulb library’. The library contains lots of different bulbs with different fittings, wattages and colours (daylight to warm white light). If you thought that all bulbs were the same why don’t you get in touch about borrowing a bulbsee how it looks in your house before purchasing one. You might be surprised by the colour range and by the speed at which they ‘warm up’. Technology has moved on quite a bit from the early energy saver bulbs that took a couple of minutes before you could actually see anything! Another aspect of the project is to train people to become more fuel efficient drivers. A recent session run out of the An Drochaid office saw participants save an average of 10 miles to a gallon. That is an incredible reduction of 519kg of CO2 per year each and will give them all around £250 extra spending

money. Courses will continue to be run throughout the project so if you would like to save £250 in just one 50 minute session make sure you get in touch. More information on any of the above is available on the LEG website, but also feel free to call the office and speak to Kendra if you have

any questions: 01397 700090. We are always looking for people to get involved so if you would like to cut your carbon emissions, save money and/ or help others to do the same, we would love to hear from you. Don’t forget you can also follow us on Twitter (LEG_Lochaber) or via our Facebook page.

Comparing a 60W Bulb to an ‘Energy Saver’ bulb LED

Watt / kWh

12W / 0.012 kWh

12W / 0.12kWh

Hours of Light Given



Electricity / Cost over Lifetime

96 kWh / £12.48

240 kWh / £31.20

Electricity / Cost over same period of time using Incandescent bulb

400 kWh / £62.40

1200 kWh / £156.00

Saving Electricity / Cost

384 kWh / £49.92

960 kWh / £124.80

Energy Essensials: • An average UK household emits 2.9 tonnes of Co2 per year from electrical household use. • Co2 is responsible for 85% of the UK’s man made greenhouse gas emissions. • Greenhouse gas emissions can stay in the Earth’s atmosphere for up to 200 years.

VocAL Magazine | Spring 2013

CFL/ Energy Saver


Voluntary Action Lochaber

“ ...more and more organisations are now turning to the Community Toolkit to get answers for everything Third Sector ”

Using The New Online Community Toolkit To Grow An Organisation By James McPherson Young Communications & Information

VocAL Magazine | Spring 2013

Whether you are running an established organisation already, or addressing a new area of community need from scratch, we’ve found that there are (unsurprisingly) usually several questions and problems that need to be overcome to ensure the organisation is productive and healthy. There’s no doubt about it, it’s a complicated business. From Governance to Legal Structure, Funding to Volunteers, nobody can be an expert in everything. That’s where we try and help. Voluntary Action Lochaber are, and always have been, just a phonecall away. Interestingly, more and more organisations are now turning to the Community Toolkit, a new online information resource, to get answers for everything ‘Third Sector’. Newer


organisations are using the Toolkit as an in-depth guide to starting up their organisation, whereas more established groups are using it as a keystone tool to help promote long-term growth, find essential funding and develop their volunteering capabilities. It is quickly becoming the go-to place for Third Sector information. Alongside the Community Toolkit, we see more and more people using our Website as a resource to help their organisation grow. We update our website weekly, and at this moment it offers: • Carefully selected Third Sector news that is relevant and important to our area in particular. • Recent funding opportunities and funding deadlines. • A training section that highlights our upcoming training courses, but also shows upcoming external events (which are often free). • A



where groups can add their own events, or browse other local events of interest. • All of Lochaber’s key documents, from our Annual Reports to the Highland Council’s Community Plan. • A Volunteering section with all the latest Volunteering Opportunities in Lochaber. • ‘Online Resources’, a section of the best and most useful Third Sector Websites and Blogs. Our website is available at:, and you can access the Community Toolkit by typing www. into your web browser. If you do not have time to check Voluntary Action Lochaber’s website regularly, why not sign up online to receive regular email updates that keep you up to date with important Third Sector news, funding, training and events. www.valochaber. org/e-update.

Worrying About Your Year End?

Don’t. Voluntary Action Lochaber’s Community Accountancy team can manage your organisation’s finances. We help with 1) Independent verification of accounts. 2) Year end company accounts. 3) Payroll administration. 4) Book-keeping. We pride ourself on being friendly, reliable, professional and affordable. If that’s not enough, all profits are carefully reinvested into improving services for members. Visit for more information or call 01397 706 044.

VocAL Magazine | Spring 2013

Lochaber Housing Association Property Services CIC


Membership gives access to a dedicated Out of Hours Call Centre linked to our skilled tradesmen on call, giving peace of mind should an unexpected emergency occur anytime 24/7 365 days a year

If your looking to refurbish or upgrade your kitchen or bathroom ONE CALL COVERS ALL!

LHA Property Services CIC can provide all trades including plumbers, electricians, joiners, painters and bricklayers all highly experienced and reliable—we won’t commit to any appointments we can’t keep—call us on 01397 709245 101 High Street, Fort William, PH33 6RZ Tel: 01397 709245 Fax: 01397 704141


Voluntary Action Lochaber

Lack of Funding, Change in Thinking By Melville Paton The Two Lochs Project The Two Lochs Project was registered as a charity in January 2007 to provide a programme of activities for young people aged 12 to 18 in the villages of South Lochaber. It is supported by the Communities and Churches in the area.

VocAL Magazine | Spring 2013

The initial funding came from a number of Trusts, notably Lloyds TSB and the Parish Development Fund of the Church of Scotland which has kindly contributed £60,000 over the past 6 years. Local Churches and individuals have also supported the work. A full time Youth Worker, Hazel Batty was appointed and Kinlochleven High School kindly provided office space for the project. 3 years ago Hazel left to get married and her place was taken by Justin Richards who had completed a college course and 3 years previous experience in Glasgow. The youth worker is in the school at lunch time most days and runs two events in the school during the week. Evening


events are run in the various villages and a programme of excursions takes place during school holidays. The Church of Scotland fund has now ceased and many charitable Trusts are under pressure and are therefore less supportive. Consequently last autumn, the Project’s funds almost dried up and it proved difficult to extend Justin’s contract of employment. Local teenagers took the initiative and set up a Facebook page called “Save our Justin”. An 18year old lad produced a new and attractive web site (www.twolochsproject. and a 21-year old friend designed a logo for the Project and provided art work for a coloured brochure. The Committee then set up a Finance Group to tackle the situation. When applying to Trusts for funding, it seems important that the Project should be seen to be raising more local support. If one could find 100 supporters who would be willing to set up a Standing Order for £10 per month (the cost of buying a cup of coffee once a week), and if one could recover tax on these gifts (which would add 25%), this would add up

to approx. £15,000 in a year. Last October, a mailing was sent to the parents of Kinlochleven High School pupils, some of whom sent one off donations. The School and The Parent Teacher Friends Forum both kindly supported the Project. 3 weeks later, letters, brochures and response forms were circulated to members of all local Churches and in November, the new brochure was delivered to all 1,600 homes in the area. In addition to many one-off gifts, 24 friends have pledged to provide £10 per month against our target of 100. Over the space of the next 12 months, adding up all these gifts and recovering tax on some of them, we will have raised an amazing £12,500. As a result, we have been able to extend Justin’s contract to March 2014. The Two Lochs Project still have a long way to go, but we are really encouraged that the youth work in the area is able to continue and actually grow. It’s interesting that when a venture encounters problems, it can result in a stimulus to move forward with a renewed team spirit and determination to succeed.

VocAL Magazine | Spring 2013

“ Over the space of the next 12 months, adding up all these gifts and recovering tax on some of them, we will have raised an amazing £12,500. ”


Voluntary Action Lochaber

A Spotlight On Social Enterprise In the current economic climate, more and more organisations are finding that funding is becoming far more difficult to come across. Although partly funded by the Scottish Government, Voluntary Action Lochaber have found this to be the case for some of the extra services that we have traditionally offered through grant funding. Our Spotlight On Social Enterprise feature aims to highlight exciting new Social Enterprises throughout Lochaber. To start with in this issue, we’ve highlighted some of our own. If you have a Social Enterprise and would like to showcase it in our next issue, please get in touch.



Looking to save on Printing, Photocopying, Laminating and Binding? Printing starts at just 6p for a full A4 Page, so get in touch to see how your organisation can save on printing costs. Visit or call 01397 706 044.

Office Space | Room Hire Voluntary Action Lochaber are based at An Drochaid, the Community and Volunteer Hub for Lochaber. We have spacious offices available for long term letting and and three well equipped and affordable meeting rooms available for hire, with discounted rates for members. Wifi, Flipcharts, Projectors and Catering is also available.

VocAL Magazine | Spring 2013 01397 706 044

We Offer: Community Accountancy Visit for more information or call 01397 706 044.


• Independent verification of accounts • Year end company accounts • Payroll administration • Book-keeping service

Shopmobility Lead The Way In Highland By Flora McKee Core Services Manager

Preparing for the Quality Mark is no easy feat, as Shopmobility Lochaber have discovered. Overall preparation (working through the 12 necessary stages) took the organisation just over a year, and after regular mentoring sessions with Voluntary Action Lochaber, in September 2012 they were finally in a position to apply for the PQASSO Quality Mark. The first part of the assessment involved a desktop review by the Charities Evaluation Service assessor, which was then followed by a site visit. Throughout the course of the day the assessor worked through Shopmobility’s evidence, and conducted interviews with various members of staff, committee members and volunteers. At the end of

“ It proves that we are fit for purpose and well governed ”

the process, the Shopmobility team were informed that they had passed the assessment, which was a huge relief after months of hard preparation. As an added bonus, Shopmobility learned that they are the first organisation in the whole of Highland region to be accredited by PQASSO, which is a fantastic achievement. Gaining the PQASSO quality standard has had several benefits for Shopmobility, as Billy Ward, Shopmobility, outlines: “ our [PQASSO] accreditation now demonstrates to funders that our charity runs efficiently and is well governed. It proves that we are fit for purpose and ready to face the future with a renewed sense of achievement and value and that we’re committed to continuous improvement ”

Voluntary Action Lochaber were delighted but by no way surprised to hear that Shopmobility had achieved the Quality Mark as they are an excellent example of good practice, and appear continually committed to delivering the very best for their service users. We were happy to be in a position to guide Shopmobility through the process. Voluntary Action Lochaber is proud to have three qualified licensed PQASSO mentors on their staff team, currently the only licensed mentors in the Highland area. If your organisation is interested in certifying your competence through PQASSO, please visit the Charities Evaluation Service website ( PQASSO) or contact Voluntary Action Lochaber on 01397 706 044 |


VocAL Magazine | Spring 2013

Back in November 2011, Voluntary Action Lochaber were pleased to put five local organisations through two days of invaluable training on how to implement PQASSO, an evidence-based practical quality assurance system designed specifically for Third Sector organisations, developed by the Charities Evaluation Services (CES). The system is the most widely used ‘off the shelf’ system in the Sector, and has been used successfully by small, medium and large multi-sited organisations alike. As a quality mark, it is valid for 3 years.

Voluntary Action Lochaber

The Three Keys To Running Successful Organisations David Bryan, Prog. Manager The Social Enterprise Academy There are three things that any organisation needs to be successful; investment, business planning and learning. Unless a culture of learning is embedded within an organisation, business planning and investment are unlikely to yield results.

VocAL Magazine | Spring 2013

For the last five years, the Social Enterprise Academy has brought learning in leadership and enterprise to the Highlands & Islands. We have worked with

Interested in growing your organisation through CPD and continual learning? Voluntary Action Lochaber’s Learning Centre can help: learning-centre Tel | 01397 706 077


well over 1,000 learners, across 18 different islands and scores of mainland communities. Our brand of practitioner led learning exchange, with tutors who are leading social entrepreneurs themselves, is both enjoyable and rewarding. The Academy continues to grow and innovate. We now facilitate bespoke learning for young people, who might be looking to social enterprise for training or volunteering placements. We are helping schools develop their own soical enterprises, and from April we are offering our learning programmes in Gaelic medium in the Gaidhealtachd. Scotland is recognised as a stronghold of social enterprise, and we are now exporting our expertise across the world. In Northern Ireland we are part of a consortium delivering on a contract to develop the social enterprise sector there. In Cape Town, we have established Social Enterprise Academy Africa as a joint venture with Oban based Imani Development, and are already helping African communities grow their own social enterprises. Our most

recent development is Social Enterprise Academy Australia, in partnership with a leading social enterprise in Victoria. Back home we are working on a wide range of bespoke leadership and enterprise programmes to meet the needs of communities, social enterprises and increasingly businesses and the public sector. Get in touch if we can help your work - you never know where learning might take you! Our next learning programme is a bit closer to home ... Understanding Social Enterprise Knoydart, June 10 & 11 No cost, all welcome, overnight accommodation available. David Bryan is Programme Manager for the Social Enterprise Academy in Inverness. Call 01463 238 0088 or email

Lochaber Foodbank Off To Good Start In 2013 By Pat MacQuarrie Lochaber Food Bank

Why do some people need emergency food aid? According to recent research published by Kellogg’s Cereals and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Hard to Swallow: The Facts about Food Poverty), over 4.7 million Brits could be described as being in food poverty (having no choice but to spend 10%+ of their household income on food, and therefore making bad nutritional choices). According to the same report, this is only set to increase. The Trustees of Lochaber Foodbank predict that with the current economy, the welfare reform and other issues such as someone suddenly taking ill or losing their job, there are several families in Lochaber that are in poverty and/or short term crisis. For these families, the Lochaber

Foodbank can provide 3 boxes of food per six month period. What is the Foodbank About? The Lochaber Foodbank is a registered not for profit charitable organisation (Scottish Charity Number: SCO43846) which is based upon the Christian principles of generosity and giving. The structure, organisation and running of the Lochaber Foodbank is adopted from the system used by the Trussell Trust. One of the most important messages for everyone taking part in the service is the fact that it is “non-judgemental and inclusive, providing assistance to people of all backgrounds and faiths or none who are in need”. How do you access the Foodbank’s Services? The Lochaber Foodbank works solely through a voucher operated referral system. This means that its volunteers or Trustees have no say in who

should or should not receive a ‘box of food’. These decisions are made by the Voucher Issuers. Planning how this will work is still in its early stages, but it is envisaged that a number of statutory and charitable agencies will be involved. Decisions about the health and well-being of any individual or family can only be made by qualified agencies who have the knowledge and trust of possible recipients of a voucher. What does a Foodbank look like? A Foodbank stores mostly tinned and packaged dry food donated by the local community for distribution to those who have difficulty purchasing enough food to avoid hunger. The set up involves: 1. Food is taken to the warehouse facility where volunteers will receive, weigh and appropriately store food received ensuring it is within date and fit for use. 2. Boxes of food are tailored


VocAL Magazine | Spring 2013

Over the past year, a group of people from local churches have been meeting regularly with the aim of starting a foodbank to deliver emergency food aid for members of the community who find themselves in difficulty.

Voluntary Action Lochaber to each individual family’s needs. 3. Food is then distributed from carefully selected distribution locations within Fort William. 4. Residents who have been provided with a voucher can call into a distribution point where volunteers will meet and greet them, taking them sensitively and discreetly through the administrative process to ensure that their ‘food box’ meets their needs.

and distribution of food packs. It is envisaged at this stage that the Warehouse & Distribution centres will operate 2/3 days per week. Any commitment which can be made in terms of hours is welcomed, and training will be provided.

child’s school/church/social club by collecting food and arranging its delivery to the storage facility.

New High Speed Internet Thanks To Locheilnet CIC

Clunes/ Bunarkaig area on the other. They use a wireless network consisting of a few main relays (dishes) placed on strategic points, which transmit the signal from the main high speed source to the small antennae on the house of the customers. It is a very fast, economic and reliable solution in an area where the infrastructure is unlikely to be upgraded in the next 8 years.

to online radio, sending and receiving large files, studying online, creating online backup systems, teleconferencing, e-commerce, online shopping, and working from home all become far more acheivable.

Keep in contact with us.

Within the next 6 weeks we hope to have our website up and running. We also hope You can also contribute non- to have details of volunteering perishable food, with lists of opportunities through the usual what are needed made available Voluntary Action Lochaber route. on a regular basis. Financial donations are equally welcome In the meantime please contact and help purchase food and us by phone on 07533 685 339 Can I help the foodbank? cover overheads. (John Penny chair of Trustees) or 07979 685 853 (Pat MacQuarrie You can offer yourself as a You can support the work of the Trustees’ Secretary). volunteer to maintain the storage Foodbank at your place of work/

VocAL Magazine | Spring 2013

By Chris Pellow Secretary, Locheilnet CIC Locheilnet is a not for profit Community Interest Company, run by local community members, bringing affordable super fast internet (around 20Mb upload/download) to the communities around Loch Eil and the west side of Loch Linnhe on one side, and the communities between Banavie and the wider Achnacarry/


You can do much more with a high speed internet connection. Things like downloading music, watching video, talking to your friends and family (Skype), listening

You can read about the pilot project, find answers to questions you may have, and much more on the Locheilnet website: www.locheilnet. Should you be interested, please send the project a short e-mail or sign up to their newsletter.

Generations Are Working Together For Lochaber Generations Working Together (GWT) provides information, delivers support and encourages involvement to benefit all of Scotland’s generations, by working, learning, volunteering and living together.

1. Work with Scottish Local Authorities to develop a framework for the effective use of intergenerational practice (IP) within Local Authority policies and procedures to the benefit of local communities and all age groups 2. Work with Education Scotland to develop proposals whereby IP can be positively and inclusively incorporated within the Curriculum for Excellence with a view to reducing age stereotyping, improving community cohesion and encouraging lifelong learning. 3. Work with NHS Health Scotland to encourage the use of IP in improving active aging, encouraging healthier lifestyles, supporting greater personal independence and, reducing social isolation of vulnerable groups and, in particular, the elderly 4. Develop a series of local IP networks and thematic networks across Scotland and support them through training, advice and local events and enable the sharing of good practice 5. Work with Third Sector Interfaces and a range of relevant organisations to encourage intergenerational volunteering

to help both active ageing and community cohesion through participation in volunteering, attending community groups and other IP activity. GWT are currently developing local networks which are designed to create networking opportunities for organisations and groups who would like to be kept up to date with what’s happening in the local area; along with opportunities to link with other key partners in delivering current and future intergenerational activities. In addition members will hear what GWT is planning to do nationally, and how they can have an input into GWT’s policies and strategies. The networks are free to join and provide access to: • Intergenerational training. • Monthly e-bulletins. • Database of projects by type and location. • Opportunities for networking. • Guidance on funding for local project activity and development.

voluntary and community organisations, public sector organisations, local authorities, health boards, older and younger people’s groups and organisations, sports groups, local faith communities and all other related organisations. GWT will be running training courses in both Intergenerational Practice and Train the Trainer. The next Train the Trainer course is on the 25th of June. The next networking meeting for the Lochaber area is on the 11th of June 2013, 3pm-5pm) at An Drochaid, Claggan. If you would like to know more about GWT, look at case studies or join your local network, go to the website: www.generationsworkingtogether. org or contact marion@

Anyone can join. Generations working together encourage local educational institutions,


VocAL Magazine | Spring 2013

GWT’s objectives are to:

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VocAL Magazine | Spring 2013

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By Steve Pimbrough LifeStyles Project Worker Changes Explained Benefit changes effect everyone, especially those on a very tight budget. The Lifestyles Project are working with partner agencies such as the Highland Council, Lochaber Housing Association and the Citizens Advice Bureau to inform our clients about benefit changes as soon as they become clear. From April 2013 the following changes have been introduced: ‘Non-dependant’ deductions have increased. Your Housing Benefit may be reduced by a set amount ranging from £11.15 to £73.85 per week, depending on the income of the ‘nondependant’. There is also a reduction for Council Tax Benefit ranging from £3.30 to £9.90 per week.

would be expected to share with one other child aged 9 or under regardless of gender. If there is ‘under occupancy’ by one bedroom this will mean a 14% reduction in Housing Benefit. Similarly, ‘under occupancy’ by two or more rooms will translate as a 25% reduction in Housing Benefit. The additional discretionary housing payment fund has been allocated by the government to assist claimants who have had disability adaptations or foster families. Personal Independence Payments will be introduced from April 2013 which will replace Disability Living Allowance for those aged 16-64. In October 2013 Universal Credit will be introduced and will replace all means tested benefits (Income Support, Income Based Jobseekers Allowance, Income Related Employment and Support Allowance, Tax Credits) for those of working age.

Housing Benefit for people of working age who rent from the Local Authority or a Housing Association will be reduced if they are living in a property which is too big for them. Size criteria is one bedroom for each person or couple living within the household with the following exceptions:

Some of these changes will be tested in the courts and as such may change at a later date. If you have any worries about how these will affect you then please do not hesitate to contact the Highland Council (0800 090 1004/ advice.Information@ or the Citizens Advice Bureau.

• A child 15 or under would be expected to share with one other child of the same gender. • A child aged 9 or under

The LifeStyles Project

with the 16 – 25 demographic being the priority group. If you have a tenancy to be at risk of homelessness and are in temporary accommodation awaiting a tenancy you could get support from the LifeStyles team. We support with: • Benefits, budgeting and dealing with debts. • Eating a healthy diet on a low income. • Using appliances and furnishing your home. • Advice about your tenancy and getting faults repaired. • Keeping your place clean and the way you want it. • Advice on being a good neighbour. • Advice on dealing with unwanted guests. • Having a healthy social life. • Advice on education, training and employment. If you are interested in receiving support from LifeStyles, please phone 01397 700740 and speak with one of the team. LifeStyles will arrange for an assessment of your needs and agree a supported housing plan with you. Alternatively this may be done by an organisation that is referring you. LifeStyles puts your views and needs first, you will not have to do anything that you do not agree to.

The LifeStyles Project is a ‘housing support’ service for vulnerable people in Lochaber


VocAL Magazine | Spring 2013

Face to Face with the Recent Benefit Changes

Voluntary Action Lochaber

Lochaber’s Volunteering Generation By Claire Harper Volunteer Development Over the past few months, I’ve been spending more and more time at Lochaber High School. As someone passionate about both young people and volunteering, what I have seen there is remarkable. More and more children are becoming interested and enthusiastic about volunteering. From paired reading schemes, classroom mentoring and even School outings to help Charitable Organisations, teenagers are taking a genuine interest in helping others. Perhaps this comes from the energy carried on from the 2012 London Olympics, or maybe it’s simply positive encouragement from parents and teachers. Either way, an incredible amount of young people have been awarded varying levels of the ‘Saltire Award’ (an award for youth volunteering), with some completing over 200 hours of work. I hope to spend more time over the next year working alongside teachers to encourage youth volunteering at all local High Schools. Hopefully this energy and enthusiasm will continue on through their adult lives.

VocAL Magazine | Spring 2013

Voluntary Action Lochaber Offer SQA Accredited Award in Volunteering Skills The Award in Volunteering Skills at SCQF levels 3, 4 and 5 provides formal recognition of volunteering activity. Through participation in volunteeringrelated activities, candidates will develop a range of skills and personal development experiences which will help to prepare them for responsibility, further education and employment.


Candidates learn about the context of volunteering; plan a volunteering placement; review and reflect on their own skills and volunteering experience; and complete an investigative project. This qualification is now available at Voluntary Action Lochaber. The Award is suitable for candidates with no previous volunteering experience, candidates who are currently volunteers, and those preparing to be volunteers. Whether you’re a High School Pupil (S3+), College Student, Adult returning to the workplace

or someone wishing to become a volunteer or are currently volunteering, we would like to hear from you. This qualification may provide the opportunity to progress towards several other SQA qualifications and can improve employment prospects for candidates. If you would like to find out more about the Award in Volunteering Skills, please phone 01397 706044 or alternatively email admin@

Top TV Baking Star ‘Icing on the Cake’at Fort William Food and Drink Festival By Iain Ferguson Nevis Radio

The festival opened for business and trade customers on Friday from 12pm until 5pm giving a range of local suppliers a chance to showcase their products to the hotel, restaurant and B&B owners of Lochaber. At the same time there were speakers in the marquee giving presentations about various aspects of running a business, food and health, controlling bacteria etc. In the evening the focus switched to future professionals with a junior chef ‘Canna Cook, Winna Cook’, featuring competitors from local secondary schools. Under the mentoring of top

training chefs Brian Gunn and Michael Campbell, the youngsters took up the challenge of creating two dishes from a mystery bag of goodies. Afterwards a similar game went ahead picking two adults from the audience to compete. Brendan took centre stage on the second day, when in his own time he did an extra demonstration of bread making in the morning. He also spent much of the day in the hall meeting and speaking with show visitors, before his two evening ‘master classes’ in Baltic Kringle bread and in making his famous ‘swans’, to an audience of around one hundred paying devotees. Other attractions which brought crowds through the doors were



the Brain Freeze Challenge and the Gut Buster Challenge, in which visitors were encouraged to take part. A children’s crèche area also provided a range of activities including junior baking and games. In the grounds of the community centre, there was also the chance to enjoy a hog roast, pizza wagon, beef burgers and bouncy castle! The event was organised by Nevis Radio as a fund raising venture, raising over £800.00 to help keep the station on air. On the back of its success, it is hoped to stage the festival again next year, with the prospect of it becoming an annual event to highlight what is available in the community.

Voluntary Action Lochaber offer Printing, Scanning, Photocopying, Laminating and Binding services as a Social Enterprise. Printing starts at just 6p for a full A4 Page. Visit or call 01397 706 044 for more information.


VocAL Magazine | Spring 2013

Star of the popular television show, ‘The Great British Bakeoff’, Brendan Lynch proved to be the ‘icing on the cake’ at the Nevis Radio Fort William Food and Drink Festival which was held in Caol Community Centre on April 26th and 27th, attracting over 700 people to the event.

Voluntary Action Lochaber

Meet the Board of Directors If you haven’t noticed already, things are always busy at Voluntary Action Lochaber, and we like it that way. We couldn’t do the work on the ground without the help and guidance from our fantastic Board of Directors. For those of you who don’t spend much time at An Drochaid, we thought that it would be good to introduce you to them properly. You might well recognise some familiar faces; most of our board members are incredibly active throughout all areas of Lochaber Life.

Gerald McIntyre - Chairman Gerald is local Solicitor, married to wife Sheena with two grown-up sons. Born in Glencoe and educated at Edinburgh University, he established his own legal firm in 1984, retiring three years ago. Gerald has been former company secretary (9 years) and director (6years) of Lochaber Enterprise, Round Table Chairman and is also a current member of the Lochaber Rotary Club. He has also held past and current directorship roles for several local community companies such as Nevis Radio, and so brings with him a great amount of experience.

VocAL Magazine | Spring 2013

John Rosie - Vice Chair John has been involved in the Tourism business since 1979, and is now retired. We are priveleged to have had John as a Director for 7 years. We benefit from his fantastic amount of expertise and experience. He has a sound knowlege of the local area which proves invaluable. John is, like many other members of our board, heavily involved in the Lochaber Rotary Club. John gives particularly helpful insight to business development and social enterprise issues.

Angus McIver - Financial Director Angus is married with two children. He is now retired, but for 42 years he has been heavily involved in the Banking Sector. He is therefore, unsurprisingly, in a great position to assist us as our Financial Director. We appreciate his expertise and his impressive financial knowlege. He has welcomed the opportunity to learn more about volunteering and the third sector activity in the area. He realises the need for sound financial practices no matter how much money an organisation deals with on a weekly, monthly or annual basis.

Maureen Cameron - Director Maureen is Lochaber born and raised and has managed Lochaber Care and Repair for 7 years. Being a Director at Voluntary Action Lochaber, she enjoys being able to help the organisation deliver our ethos of “helping communities to help themselves”. Maureen has a good understanding of the complex dynamics behind Lochaber Communities.

21 Terry Lee - Director Terry was born in Portobello, Edinburgh and for many years worked for the British Government at home and abroad, mainly in an engineering capacity. He moved to Fort William 10 years ago with his wife, who moved her career in Dentistry to the Highlands. Terry brings great energy to the board, and it is great to have his expertise on the board.

Donald Young - Director Donald came to the area 41 years ago and soon partnered in a local Quantity Surveying firm. Deeply involved with Lochaber Rugby Club for some years, being in turn Captain, Secretary, Treasurer and many years President, he is now retired and spends his time as Secretary of Lochaber’s local Rotary Club. Donald has been a Voluntary Action Lochaber Director since 2011 and we are all very grateful for his involvement in our EFQM accreditation and also in ‘looking after’ the An Drochaid repair works.

Comments and Feedback Whether you have had a bad experience, think that we can improve one of our services or would simply like to tell us that we’re doing a good job, we would love to hear from you. Please feel free to call (01397 706 044), email ( or visit us online ( to give us feedback. Alternatively, leave any comments below and post to An Drochaid, Claggan Road, Fort William, Highland, PH33 6PH.

VocAL Magazine | Spring 2013


Voluntary Action Lochaber

Eyes on Highland Voluntary Action Lochaber are pleased to be an active member of the Highland Third Sector Partnership. Established at the beginning of 2013, the Partnership works together with its eight partners to deliver, amongst other services, four specific themes of work as agreed with the Scottish Government. By delivering these ‘themes’, the Partnership acts as united Third Sector Interface for the whole H  ighland area: Volunteering development, Social Enterprise development, Supporting and developing a strong Third Sector, Building the Third Sector relationship with community planning. You can read more about the Partnership on their website ( If your organisation needs help with anything listed above, please get in touch with Voluntary Action Lochaber and we will try our best to help.


LO CHA B E R HO US I NG A S S O CI A TI O N P R O P E R T Y S E R V I C E S C . I . C . Registr at ion numb er : 295989/270/0858 1

VocAL Magazine | Spring 2013


Housing law is involved and time consuming to keep up to date with. A couple of examples: Do you know that it is a criminal offence to let a property without an energy performance certificate (EPC) and could result in a fine of up to £5,000? Do you know that as from the 1st of May failure to provide a Tenant Information pack to tenants on new leases will be a criminal offence and could result in a 23 fine of up to £500? Why take the risks and worry? Contact us today.



Contact Details Our Office:

Our Opening Hours: *

Our Contact Details:

An Drochaid Claggan Road Fort William PH33 6PH

Monday - Thursday: 09.00 - 17.00 Friday: 09.00 - 16.30 Weekends: Closed Contact us for Public Holiday schedules

T | 01397 706 044 E | W | Twitter: @VALochaber

* available outwith by appointment.

Staff Directory

Janis McDonald Chief Development Manager Flora McKee Core Services Manager Marion Smith Development Officer James McPherson Young Communications and Information David Govan Company Accountant Deirdre Coull Finance Officer Rachel Tonks Development Officer Claire Harper Administrator Ceri Tracey Receptionist / Administrator

Kelly Cameron Trainee Administrator

LifeStyles Bryan Powell LifeStyles Project Manager Tel: 01397 700740 Caroline MacPherson Support Worker Christine Clephan Support Worker Steve Pimborough Support Worker Laiza Lorimer Support Worker Dorothy Wilkes Support Worker

VocAL Magazine | Spring 2013

Voluntary Action Lochaber

Board of Directors Gerald McIntyre - Chairman John Rosie - Vice Chairman Angus McIver - Finance Director Maureen Cameron - Director Terry Lee - Director Emma Taylor - Highland Council Adviser Donald Young - Director


Š2013 Voluntary Action Lochaber Charitable Company Ltd. by Guarantee Charity Number: SC020740 Company Number: 179048

VocAL | Spring 2013  

Voluntary Action Lochaber's annual VocAL Magazine (2013 edition).

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