SCD is very sorry to lose the services of Victoria Cameron-Macintosh as Funding and Administration Officer. Her resoucefuless, enthusiasm and professionalism will be hard to replace. Nonetheless, that's what we now need to do, so please read the job description below and contact us if you would like to apply. The hours are flexible and can mostly be done from home. You do not need to be resident in Strathdearn. Please spread the news about this opportunity.
Funding and Administration Officer
21 Hours per week - £27,300 pro rata
The local community development company has a vacancy until March 2018 funded by the Scottish Government to assist in the development of the local facilities. Below is a job description for the Funding and Administration Officer:
Reporting to Community Development Officer
Those of you wondering about progress on the Community Hub project may not have seen much activity on the surface but like the proverbial duck, there has been a lot of furious paddling going on beneath. Here’s a quack summary ….
After our old hall was condemned, a replacement became top priority. We also urgently need a permanent home for our community shop. The shop is a service to the community and is not intended to make a profit, and although the hall and sports area will generate some income through hire fees, not enough to cover its running costs. Our wind farm money will not last for ever, so we plan to cover the shortfall in two ways : we will invest in quality materials and an energy-efficient design to create a low-maintenance building with minimum running costs; and we will incorporate a gift/craft & cafe area alongside the shop to cater for tourists and even small distillery coach parties and thus generate an income from visitors. Millennium Hall will be converted to house the shop and cafe, conveniently close to the new hall to provide opportunities to save on staff, heating, security, etc.
It’s not going to be cheap - £2.4 million! - but we believe we are getting good value for money which compares well with buildings of similar size and quality. The new hall will have a floor area of 795 m² - increased from 550 m² in response to consultation with user groups on their space and storage requirements. It will incorporate toilets/changing rooms which will enable us to better market the sports facility, an upstairs youth area, and its own kitchen for weddings and functions. The building will also function as a resilience centre in times of extended power cuts or extreme weather. The figure includes the cost of converting and extending Millennium Hall to 240 m².
We applied to the Big Lottery for a grant towards the cost. When we began the process more than a year ago, we were one of several hundred applications. We survived the first culling, then made it to a second shortlist of a few dozen who were interviewed by a BL panel, and now finally we are one of just a handful of projects still being considered for funding. We are asking for £1million when the average award is £750K so we are taking nothing for granted. A huge thanks to Charles Morgan for foregoing his summer holiday in favour of guiding the application through its final crucial stage.
Naturally enough Big Lottery had a list of stringent conditions, all of which took time to fulfil.
They required that our plans were scrutinised by a quantity surveyor, and that we conducted a preliminary survey of the site including some test pits. We applied for and received grants from BL to cover these development costs.
We also had to prove that we had the funding in place to complete the project at its estimated cost. Charles arranged a loan facility with Social Investment Scotland Bank which required a lengthy process of due diligence which I’m pleased to report that all the directors passed!
At the core of our application is a 48-page strategic review detailing the background, needs and aspirations behind out funding request, including sections on finance, alternate fund-raising, our other projects, community consultation, fact-finding visits, and more. If our application is successful, it will be due in no small measure to the tremendous work and professionalism of our admin team - Victoria, Tricia, Joan, and Ed who compiled and wrote this document. It will be made available on our website when the application process is over.
Our completed application will be considered by the Big Lottery panel when they meet in September and we hope to hear the result in October. Our admin team will then finalise applications to other possible grant sources - our chances of winning them may be enhanced by Big Lottery endorsement. This will be done as quickly as possible so that work can begin with a minimum of delay.
Fingers crossed, everybody!
In November last year, Moy voted almost unanimously to support an SCD project to bring fibre cabinets to the area. However before engineers had finished surveying the job, a new cheaper method of installing fibre cable became available. Consequently Open Reach has come back to SCD with a much better offer for the same price - fibre cable direct to every premise and speeds of up to 330 Mbps for EVERY home!! After a two week consultation period with Moy folk in which we received nothing but enthusiastic feedback, SCD gave Open Reach the formal go ahead to proceed with the scheme. Work will begin in late August/early September and is scheduled to finish by Christmas.
Open Reach engineers will soon begin a survey up to and beyond Glenmazeran to explore whether SCD's broadband project can be extended to this area. Due to the greater distances involved, we are encouraging local landowners and householders to consider how they can contribute. The scheme's viability will probably depend on locals undertaking to do some of the work on a DIY basis and/or contributing a proportion of the cost.
Because we have demonstrated that we are serious about improving broadband throughout Strathdearn, Open Reach is willing to invest some it's time and resources surveying an area which they normally wouldn't consider viable. Soon they will get back to us with some costed options and SCD may only have a short time window to assess whether it can responsibly back any of them.
Looking for a different way to enjoy your day whilst helping the Community? Why not spend a day with a friend running the shop? A chance to catch up with friends and neighbours whilst supporting the shop. We are looking for community volunteers to help by giving occasional cover to run the shop. WRT directors, Alison and Margaret, will be first to be trained but regret tartan paint will not be available on their day behind the counter. No previous experience required, full training will be given and we promise not to sign you up for more than you wish. If interested please contact Lee-Anne in the shop.
Thanks to Carol and the gardening club for planting flowers and brightening up the store front. Cyclists and travellers using the picnic benches now have a lovely area to sit and enjoy their lunch.
There have been some minor issues with people leaving their cars parked for long periods of time when they aren't visiting the shop. There are only 4 parking spaces so please be considerate.
SCD Board is pondering the cost of additional requirements demanded by the roads department to meet new planning conditions. A cost revision carried out by McGowan’s indicates a price tag several times the original quote. Engineers acting on behalf of SCD have been in contact with Planning to see if a solution can be found to relax the conditions and allow the project to complete in an affordable manner. Lead director Duncan Bryden is consulting with local councillors in an effort to find a way to progress.
There is a feeling that this stage of the path project is unviable unless a compromise can be found. Barring a breakthrough, a decision on whether to proceed with the project will be put to company members at the AGM on 27th Sep.
Don’t forget to check Strathdearn Community Website for bin days, bus timetables, school holidays, library van visiting hours, local news, SCD and Community Council documents, photo gallery, and much, much more.
The next two SCD meetings are July 27 and Aug 24, and our AGM will be 27th Sep, all in Strathdearn Hall at 7.30pm.
SCD Membership forms are available from the Company Secretary, Strathdearn Hall, IV13 7YN, or you can apply online through the community website : www.strathdearn.org. Membership entitles you to attend our meetings, stand for election as a company director, vote in elections, and receive news updates.
MORE SPEEDING COMPLAINTS!
A few weeks ago there was a bit of a debate on speeding in Old Mill Road, which seemed to end fairly amicably. Having said that, I have noticed quite a few heavy construction vehicles, and some smaller ones, passing up Old Mill Road presumably en route for Distillery Wood recently – and some of these could do with slowing down a bit! There have also been complaints about Station Road, where, like Old Mill Road, the legal speed limit may be 30mph – but surely common sense would dictate driving much slower past houses where there are children or older people who might not be as quick on their feet as they used to be (getting to that stage myself these days!)
Speeding is an issue that comes up regularly at Community Council Meetings, and the advice from the Community Police Officer is to forward offending registration numbers to them. But surely, with a bit of goodwill and consideration, that won’t be necessary. We’re a small community with a good reputation for caring about each other – so let’s put that into practice this summer, and ease off that accelerator! The front page of the Courier today shows a wee boy of four, in a hospital bed after being knocked down outside his house in Inverness - don’t let this, or worse, happen in Tomatin or Moy. Nobody wants a tragedy here. It’s lovely to see so many wee ones around the village (Tomatin) now – let’s try to keep them safe!
Dear Moy resident,
In November last year, Moy voted almost unanimously to support an SCD project to upgrade broadband speeds in the area. As per the agreed plan, SCD contracted with Open Reach to install three cabinets connected to Tomatin exchange by fibre optic cable.* Each premise would then be connected to one of the cabinets by their existing telephone line. Everybody would enjoy improved speeds with those houses nearest to the cabinets benefiting most. Most households registered for the Better Broadband Voucher which contributed around £16K to the total cost of £105K.
Since that time, there have been developments in Open Reach's technology and their strategy for improving broadband in rural areas.** As a result, Open Reach have approached SCD with a new proposal. Instead of installing fibre to the cabinet (FTTC), they offer to install fibre to the premises (FTTP). They will do it for the agreed price (£105K - £16K vouchers) and honour the agreed timetable (finish by December 2017). This would bring much higher broadband speed to EVERY house or business.
Both proposals bring fibre optic cables to Moy area. The difference is in how your premise is connected to this main fibre cable. The FTTC scheme connects to it using the existing copper telephone line, delivering estimated speeds of 1.6 to 80 Mbps, depending on your location. Under the new FTTP proposal, Open Reach will install a further fibre optic cable directly to your house delivering speeds of up to 330Mbps to ALL premises.
FTTP is also more future proof. Connection nodes will be distributed throughout the area which are cheap and easy to connect to, making the Moy area more attractive for new homes and businesses.
Initially there will be only 2 service providers to choose from - BT and Zen - although more will enter the market as FTTP becomes more common throughout the UK. Houses and businesses will be able to choose from various packages offering speeds from 40Mbps to 330 Mbps. The Zen website offers an unlimited usage basic package for £43.99/month (incl line rental), which is exactly the same monthly price as the basic FTTC option.
|Broadband Service||Download speed (Mbps)||Upload Speed (Mbps)||Cost/month (including line rental)|
|Standard broadband (what you have now)||17||1||£32.99|
|fibre to the cabinet (FTTC)||38||9.5||£43.99|
|fibre to the premises (FTTP)||40||10||£43.99|
|fibre to the premises (FTTP)||80||20||£46.99|
|fibre to the premises (FTTP)||330||20||£116.00|
[Please note. These are “up to” speeds. We know that the existing standard broadband which is “up to 17Mbps” is actually less than 1 Mbps in many areas of Moy. Similarly we were told by Open Reach that FTTC speeds of “up to 38Mbps” would be as low as 1.6 Mbps for those furthest from the cabinet. However Open Reach assures us that the FTTP speeds will be close to the “up to” speed for ALL 50 premises in the scheme, regardless of their location.]
There will be some temporary inconvenience to some properties while installing the proposed new scheme. Open Reach will have to install a fibre cable to every premise. In most cases, it will follow the route of the existing telephone line and cause no disruption. However in some cases the cable will have to be laid underground so some disruption to lawns, flowerbeds, etc may be necessary. Open Reach engineers are compiling a list of such properties.
There is no obligation to connect up to this service. Premise-owners may choose to keep their existing broadband service and connect to the fibre service at a later date.
In summary, Open Reach are offering a faster, better, more future-proof service to every premise at no extra cost.
The purpose of this letter is to inform you of the new development and give you an opportunity to ask questions and raise any concerns. However we don't want to lose our place in the Open Reach work schedule which envisages work beginning in late August - early September and finishing in December. SCD would like to give Open Reach the formal go ahead without undue delay. I would therefore be grateful if you would contact me with any questions or concerns by Friday 21 July.
Steve Cormack (SCD director)
Old Post Office
Tomatin IV13 7YN
tel : 01808-511496
* The proposal was to "install 3 new Fibre cabinets, one at Dalmagarry (delivering to properties estimated speeds between 1.6 - 60.2mbps) and 2 cabinets in Moy (24.7 – 80.0mbps and 27.8 –42.6mbps)."
** This offer is possible due to a new method of armouring fibre optic cable which means that expensive ducting is no longer required - the cable can be buried directly in the ground. Further savings are possible because the cable doesn't need to be powered and branching the cable is easier. (The cabinets required electricity to be routed to them and all connections had to be made within the cabinet).
Information sheet describing FTTC vs FTTP : https://www.scotlandsuperfast.
Zen website : https://www.zen.co.uk/yourhome/