by Jamie Buchan, The Courier, March 23 2019
More than 100 community groups will benefit from a new £1.2 million award scheme announced by Perth and Kinross Council.
Sports clubs, musicians, public halls and mental health services are among the first to benefit from the authority’s new Community Investment Fund.
The scheme, which was originally approved at last year’s budget talks, gives five “local action partnerships – made up of residents and community council members – the power to decide how the money is distributed.
The first round of funding, worth £600,000, has now been approved for 105 groups and projects across the region.
Money was sub-divided into 12 local authority wards, meaning £50,000 was made available for each area.
The cash will go towards, among other schemes, a redevelopment of Kettins Parish Hall, new equipment and uniforms for Blair Atholl Pipe Band and improvements to the Letham Community Hub.
Perth charity PKAVS, the Men’s Shed group in Stanley, the Perth and District YMCA, Perthshire Pride and the West Stormont Woodland Group have also been successful.
Council leader Murray Lyle said: “I am absolutely delighted to announce that the first £600,000 of awards have been agreed.”
He said: “The administration is determined to shift the balance from the council deciding what is best for communities, to trusting communities to come forward with worthwhile projects that need financial support, that they would find difficult to raise by themselves.
“It is a further demonstration of the council’s commitment to investing in communities and giving local people a greater say on how public money is spent in their communities.
“Importantly, the applications were sifted and agreed not by councillors, but by members of local communities across Perth and Kinross.”
In the first round, 149 applications totalling £1.59m were received. Mr Lyle said: “For the projects that didn’t make it this year, there is more to come.”
Local MSP Liz Smith welcomed the initiative: “The community investment fund is important for not only providing additional funding for people, but it encourages local community groups and projects to apply for the money.
“Scores of groups will benefit from this funding across Perth and Kinross. New projects and initiatives were prioritised.”
The West Stormont Woodland project features today in the excellent North Perthshire Locality Newsletter. DON'T DELAY - JOIN UP TODAY.
by Jamie Buchan, The Courier, December 3 2018, 9.22am
Two historic woodlands that are being sold-off as part of a nationwide forestry shake-up could be revived as part of a community take-over bid.
Five Mile Wood at Stanley and Taymount, near Murthly, are being offloaded by Forest Enterprise Scotland (FES).
The body, which manages the estate on behalf of Scottish Government ministers, said the idea is to sell sites “that deliver few social, environmental or economic benefits” with proceeds ploughed into creating new woodlands.
Now a steering group has formed to investigate bringing both woods into community ownership under the Community Asset Transfer Scheme.
The West Stormont Woodland Group has been busy recruiting members, while gathering support on social media.
Around 250 people have so far backed the ambitious project.
Group members are in talks with local landowners and residents to gauge interest in a takeover, while draft plans are being drawn up to show how the sites could be improved to benefit visitors and people living in the local area.
The group’s spokesman said members were given a “helpful, informative and inspiring” tour of the woods by FES foresters.
He said: “All of this is working towards bigger community consultation activity in 2019.
“WSWH invites anyone with an interest in the prospect of our community owning these woodlands to get involved at any time. Anyone with special skills which could help in this amazing adventure should get in touch.”
West Stormont was the name used in medieval times to cover the parishes of Auchtergaven, Kinclaven, Logiealmond, Moneydie, Redgorton and the Murthly portion of Little Dunkeld.
FES also hopes to sell off a third Perthshire site, Dalrulzion near Glenshee. Together, the three sites represent 2,100 acres of woodland.
Five Mile Wood is well used by dog walkers, although it gets mixed reviews on Tripadvisor. Some visitors have complained about poor parking, with others claiming there’s nothing much to see inside the wood itself.
Taymount, the smallest of the three at 380 acres, boasts a range of conifers and is popular with cyclists.
West Stormont Woodland Group
Monthly Community Update (November 2018)
Look us up! West Stormont Woodland Group Email us: email@example.com Thank you.
Taymount and Five Mile Woods Project - now West Stormont Woodland Group (WSWG)
1. The Taymount and Five Mile Woods Project has changed its name.
WEST STORMONT WOODLAND GROUP (WSWG) has been chosen as the most inclusive name for the wide range of local communities with a stake in the woods, as per the explanation from West Stormont Historical Society below.
"The medieval jurisdiction of 'Stormonth' (Exchequer Rolls 1264) was divided by the Tay into West and East. West Stormont took in the parishes of Auchtergaven, Kinclaven, Logiealmond, Moneydie, Redgorton (Stanley) and the Murthly portion of Little Dunkeld. It was bounded to the south by the Almond."
2. WSWG has been registered with the Big Lottery which administers the Scottish Land Fund.
3. WSWG will be constituted as a “Community Controlled Body” for the first phase of project development. It will become a legally constituted organisation before it can take ownership of the woods. There are several forms this might take, such as Scottish Incorporated Charitable Organisation (SCIO) or Company Limited by Guarantee (with charitable status).
4. A logo is being designed for the project by Stanley artist, Claire Dalby
5. West Stormont Woodland Group now has a Facebook page – we will get better at it! Look us up!
6. New email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
7. Other WSWG Steering Group activities this month:
* Monthly Steering Group Meeting on 17 September
* Attended Dronley Community Woodland’s first AGM following a successful bid to buy their wood
* Advice from a professional forest manager
* Supporter sign-up sheets at West Stormont Historical Society stand at Murthly Gala and at Tayside Orienteers event. Total Supporter numbers now 243. Formal membership scheme coming soon!
* Recruited conservation specialist as new member of Steering Group
* Met with Scottish Land Fund Adviser, Calum Couston. SLF = key funder for woodland purchase.
* Spoke to Spittalfield Community Council meeting 26 September
* Offered to speak to Auchtergaven and Luncarty Community Councils about WSWG – both accepted
* Setting up Sub-groups to address:
* Community and Communications (including Access, Education and Wellbeing)
* Funding, Organisation and Local Green Enterprise and Economy (including Climate Change, Carbon and Community Renewables)
8. The Community Engagement Plan is being developed to include:
* Landowner and Neighbour Visits and Survey (starting October) and User surveys (starting soon)
* Flyers and Posters
* Membership scheme
* Autumn Guided Walks – cultural and natural history 11am-12.30pm, Saturday 27 October and Sunday 28 October (more information soon). Winter Guided Walks (January or February 2019)
* Regular Facebook posts
* Press releases
* Community Consultation events in different venues within the West Stormont area (February/March, to be confirmed).
Taymount and Five Mile Woods Project
Monthly Update for Stanley and District Community Council Meeting 11 September 2018
1. The Taymount and Five Mile Woods Steering Group is meeting monthly, with sub-groups meeting to progress issues in between.
The Steering Group meeting on 20 August discussed:
* feedback on Community Asset Transfer Scheme (CATS) from meeting with Hamish Murray and Rebecca Carr of Forest Enterprise Scotland at Inver on 9 August
* organisational matters
* progress with partnerships, funding and resources
* communications, internal and external
2. On 3 September, three representatives of the Steering Group met with two trustees of Dronley Community Woodland (DCW), Auchterhouse. DCW embarked on CATS in February 2017 for acquisition of the local 50 hectare Dronley Wood and has just been invited to submit a formal bid to Forestry Commission Scotland. Hearing about their project, CATS experience and advice was very helpful.
3. On 5 September, five representatives of the Steering Group met with Lynn Molleson of Community Ownership Support Service (COSS), a Scottish government-funded organisation set up to assist groups in acquisition of land or buildings. This was an extremely useful meeting which broadened our knowledge and perspective on the Community Empowerment Act, the CATS process ahead and gave us some very useful organisational and timeframe guidance. A principle piece of advice is to make contact with Scottish Land Fund (SLF) asap. COSS support will be ongoing and free of charge.
4. A Community Engagement sub-Group, which includes a representative from West Stormont Historical Society, is currently meeting weekly to produce a Community Engagement Plan to propose to the Steering Group meeting on 17 September. COSS advice has already been very helpful in that exercise. It is intended to develop an increasing public profile for the project over the coming months including a social media presence, posters, surveys, guided woodland walks, press articles, etc, leading up to a programme of drop-in community engagement events in different local community venues.
5. Councillor Grant Laing included the project in his “Notes from a Councillor” for the current edition of Dunkeld and Birnam’s regular newsletter “The Bridge”, our first piece of local publicity, for which many thanks.
6. Stanley Development Trust is offering help with setting up a Facebook page and a group email.
7. The Steering Group will shortly be considering an appropriate membership format for the project.
8. The Steering Group is auditing its skills and capacity and will be seeking to recruit additional members to ensure appropriate breadth of competence, representation and resilience for the challenging task ahead.