News / Autumn 2011 Newsletter

Games Day

At the Morar & Mallaig Highland Games on SUnday 7 August we had our usual stall with teas and coffees, home baking, soups, rolls and sandwiches, and prawns. In spite of the rain, or maybe because of it, we did very well and reached our target of £1000!!!!

I want to use this opportunity to say a big thank you to all who donates, organised or prepared food, manned the stall, put up the marquee or in any other way helped to make this event a success again! Special thanks go to the young helpers: water carriers Robert and Jack.

A total of 35 people from the community were in some way involved and that shows we can pull together as a community and create a successful event! Well done everyone!!

Also thank you to all our customers, among who were MSP Dave Thompson and his wife, for your support.

In the evening all helpers were invited to join us in the marquee for a glass of wine and a get together to toast to the successful day! next morning was sunny and our marquee had dried out overnight, but around midday the wind got the better of it and the whole 8m x 4m tent was blown across the field!

Thanks to all who came to the rescue!

Morar Community Trust 200 Club

Most households in Morar will have received a letter about this lottery and you are kindly invited to join.

Please consider. Forms can be handed in to any of the directors.

Tougal Beach

As Beatrice Way is seriously ill and the landowners will not be coming up to Morar, we will postpone the intended public meeting about the issues at the beach.

AGM and Vote on Pavilion

Out next AGM will be held on Saturday 24th September at 2.30pm at Lady Lovat Primary School.

After the formal part of the AGM the members of the trust will be presented with a summary of the Feasibility Study on the Pavilion in the Playing Field. Any other residents of the area are also welcome. The two options that appear to be the most sustainable will be discussed. A vote will follow.

Morar Pavilion Feasibility Study

Over the last 4 years the Community Trust has researched local opinion and have done visitor surveys to establish what is required, worked on a design with architect John Renshaw and did an extensive feasibility study. Consultation and surveys showed that the building should cater first of all for the users of the playing field but can also be turned to good use in providing facilities for locals and tourists, and being a focus for village activities. The proposed design will have showers, changing rooms and toilets, a café, office space and a further arrangement of rooms, which could be used for basic accommodation.

We have looked at similar facilities in the Highlands to research financial viability and learn from their experience. The viability will depend on how well used the building and its facilities are going to be.

This facility will be of benefit to:

It will provide a focal point for the village, sadly lacking in recent years, and will bring the community together and help to rebuild community spirit. it will encourage more use of the playing field. The building is intended to be both pleasing to the eye and eco-friendly. Research was also done into renewable energy in order to keep the running and maintenance costs low.

We have to ensure this is a truly multi-functional building so all the interior spaces will be designed in such a way as to be able to change their use fairly easily, if required.

We cannot rely on grant funding to keep the building running in the long term and must devise ways of generating an income and develop it as a social enterprise. The financial viability assessment showed that there is a need to have some facilities which generate income.

We suggest choosing from the 2 options below. Please note that some funding organisations will calculate the hours that volunteers have spent on fundraising in monetary terms. In other words, the 5% - 10% cash contribution we have to raise as a community might not be as substantial as it seems.

  1. The Pavilion

    This building incorporates most of what the community indicated as the highest priority at the time of the consultation.

    It will have changing rooms and public toilets, a café, office, and accommodation consisting of 2 bedrooms with en-suite facilities and twin beds, and 3 dormitories with 4 bunk beds in each.

    Total costs: £1.4 million
    Community costs: 5% - 10% = £70,000 - £140,000

    The reason for including basic accommodation is to create a means of generating income. This will help to sustain the building and bring visitors to the village.

    Our vision is to get groups staying for one or more nights, such as sports teams, youth groups or outdoor activity groups. We have done research into the demand for such accommodation and some of the outdoor activity groups are very keen to come and stay in the Pavilion once built.

    Our area is one of the most stunning in the Highlands. We feel this is a great opportunity to use its potential and put Morar on the map!

  2. Log Cabins

    This is the low cost option which involves the least possible capital outlay to provide the required facilities, though very minimal. The expenses are lower because of reduced ancillary costs.

    Total costs: £300,000
    Community costs: 5% - 10% = £15,000 - £30,000

    One cabin could house the showers, changing rooms and public toilets and another adjacent or linked cabin to house a small café. The installation of services to the site would be required (electricity and water/drainage).

    The need for staff would be minimal and the facility could possibly be run by volunteers alone without paid staff being required. It would be a small social enterprise that could be self-sustaining. The café may make a small profit during the summer. Alternatively it could be leased out in that period.

    If over time the cabins would prove too small we could still apply for funding for the whole Pavilion and sell the cabins.

Please bear in mind that option 1 would provide a permanent structure of value to our community for many years to come.

Option 2 would be a portable building with limited life.

Demolition of the Old Hall

Before we can move forward with the Pavilion project we need first and foremost to demolish the old hall, as it is tied in with the negotiations to get land for the building.

Why?

The playing field is owned by Nevis Estates, but the access to it by an absent local crofter. Nevis Estates agreed previously to give the Trust a long lease of the land, but they needed to own the access to it in order to provide us with a legal contract.

However, now most funding organisations (e.g. Big Lottery) state that if they fund the building, the community must own the land and access to it. Nevis Estates have said informally that ownership can be made possible, though terms and expenses are still to be discussed.

The site of the old hall belongs to the community, but the same crofter owns the access to it. The trust has offered to demolish the old village hall and restore the site to agricultural ground so he can have his croft back, in exchange for the access road to the Playing Field. The hall Trustees and Community COuncil have all agreed to this. The crofter previously indicated to Nevis Estates that he is not against this idea, but no formal agreement has been signed.

We have tried to solve this issue over the last 3 years. We have therefore also looked at other options for building an access road into the field. They would involve many complications and approvals from local crofters, Road Departments, Planning, Highland and Local Councils. They would also add to the costs.

Funding

Specialists help is required for the demolition and therefore the costs are high.

The old hall is community-owned; thus the whole community is responsible for its removal. Funding is not available from the funding bodies for a standalone demolition project. Therefore we will have to raise the money as a community and incorporate it within the Pavilion project.

Morar Community Council supports this project and gave us a good start of £1000!

We can further fundraise in various ways:

  1. A lottery (just set up)
  2. Set up a “Summer Tearoom”
  3. Treasure Hunt
  4. Slave Auction
  5. Farmer's Market
  6. Continue with the Stall on Games Day

Anyone who wishes to see the full Feasibility Study report can do so. Please get in touch.

Get Involved

Would you like to be involved in improving your environment and quality of life in your community? New members are always welcome, please get in touch!