News / December 2010 Newsletter

Bonfire!

At the last moment we organised a bonfire for Friday 5th November and it was a great success! Many children came along with their parents and grandparents and had a wonderful time watching the fireworks and nibbling goodies. Lots of food and home baking was donated along with some mulled wine to keep warm.

After the windy weather that week the night of the bonfire was still and clear and full of stars... just perfect!

Thanks to all who brought food, drink and fireworks or helped in any other way to make this a successful community event, like those who supplied wood, built the fire, spread the word, took pictures, looked after the fire and fireworks and so on.

Special thanks to Katie and Richard and their daughter Heather, Margaret Ann, Morar Primary school, Donalda, Colin, Angus, Pauline and directors of the Trust.

Renewable Energy

We are looking into renewable energy schemes in order to establish the lowest cost possible for heating & electricity. We are looking at wind and hydro energy, ground source and air source heating, solar and photo voltaic panels.

Several visits were made to other communities like Eigg, Knoydart, Skye and to Fort William to research our best option. More visits are planned for this month.

Annual General Meeting

Our second Annual General Meeting was held on Monday 8th November. Five directors and five members were present and we acquired a new director: Audrey MacEachen. Welcome Audrey!

Design of Pavilion

Since the presentation of the draft design at the end of July and its display in the Hall we have received feedback from Morar, Mallaig and Arisaig residents and from a few visitors. Thank you!

Overall the design was well received and reactions positive. The main concern however seems to be about the overnight accommodation. This is understandable considering the difficulties in sustaining our Community Centre.

Why then include accommodation instead of just providing changing rooms, public toilets and a café?

All directors feel strongly that we need to look ahead at future possibilities rather than at the current situation only. Precisely because other buildings are struggling to survive we need to look at wider use and possibilities for this building. We feel that basic facilities are not enough to sustain in the long run. If the Pavilion could be run as a hall, yes, we could think of many ways in which it could be used. But because Morar has a joint Community Centre with Mallaig, the Pavilion cannot be used for events that otherwise would have taken place in the M&&MCC. So dances, concerts and coffee mornings will still have to be held in Mallaig.

What income will the Pavilion generate WITHOUT accommodation?

  1. There are options regarding the running of the café:
    • It can be leased out and run as a business. Most likely this will be during the summer months only.
    • Sports groups and visiting teams that want to use it after games or for an event can hire it.
    • A combination of both.
  2. There will be charges for the use of the changing rooms and the hire of a meeting room. The meeting room will also be the Trust’'s office and the Trust will pay a charge for its use.
  3. We were advised that the council would pay towards maintenance of the public toilets.
  4. Tourists and visitors to the area would use the café and campers could hire the use of the shower facilities.
  5. Small charges for displaying arts & crafts will be asked.

What about the winter?

As the Playing Field does not have lighting it is not likely to be used much by sports groups or for sports events. The Trust would rent the office but other than the occasional meetings of local groups like the WRI the building would hardly be used.

This means as a community we need to make sure lots of sports events are organised between April and October and attract more visitors to the area and think of other activities to be held on the field or in the café.

How else could the Pavilion generate income and be sustained?

This is where we thought of basic accommodation. Visiting sports teams could use them and other groups that want to spend time in the area, such as canoeists, hill walkers, artists and student groups on field trips.

The accommodation would NOT be for the individual who is looking for a place to stay.

We suggest offering packages to these kinds of groups that include food and accommodation and possibly tuition.

We feel this is an opportunity to bring some life back into the community by providing facilities that can draw different kinds of people to the area and at the same time provide income.

Feasibility Study

Architect John Renshaw will do part of this study but as directors we have to do the research on whether or not the building will be sustainable.

We have been approaching local B&B’'s and businesses in order to get their views on the Pavilion and its impact on their business. We have also been talking to other community groups with similar facilities to those we plan to create.

Visits have been made to Eigg, Knoydart, Canna, North Uist, Sleat and Kyle of Lochalsh. These visits are encouraging and good opportunities for networking and learning. It is great to exchange ideas and experiences with people in similar communities and see what they have done.

Currently we are researching the market for potential customers, groups and sports teams.

We can only progress slowly as all directors have limited time to give because they are tied up in work, study or other projects.

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!