2014

Board meeting dates for January & February

Forthcoming board meeting dates:

15th January 2015 at Balnain Hall at 7.30 pm

26th February 2015 at Cannich Hall at 7.30 pm

All members are most welcome.

To find out how to join Soirbheas as a member visit.

UK broadband services still patchy

There is a huge gap between the fastest and slowest internet speeds available to British people, Ofcom finds.

Ofcom, the UK’s telecoms regulator, says fixed broadband connections are now “almost universally available” throughout the UK.

Average download speeds are 23 megabits per second (Mbps), it said in a report on the UK’s telecoms infrastructure.

But it admitted that 3% of premises do not have basic broadband of 2Mbps.

And 15% can’t receive 10Mbps – the usual requirement for a typical household these days.

There is also a huge gap between the minimum and maximum broadband download speeds available in Britain, Ofcom finds, with some premises receiving just 0.1Mbps and others 350Mbps.

Read more

November 2014 – Corrimony Wind Farm Results

Nov 2014

November was a little too calm ……..!

Citizens Online Training

Citizens Online Training – FREE online training open to adults of all ages who wish to take the first steps to getting online. The course will cover everything from doing shopping, e-learning, applying for work, ordering medication or keeping in touch with family and much more.

If you know of anyone who needs help in taking the first steps to getting online please get in touch. Also looking for someone in the community who might be interested in teaching the occasional online course. Please call Carol Masheter on 0751 445 2783 or email carolmasheter@soirbheas.org

Job Opportunity – Adminstrative Assistant

Post: Administrative Assistant

Job type: Part-time Temporary Contract 4 days per month (flexible hours)

Location: Working from home (Strathglass/Glen Urquhart)

Remuneration: £8 per hour

Role: Community charity Soirbheas is seeking a suitable person to work alongside the Community Development Officer to assist with the day-to-day running of the charity’s activities. Local knowledge and an interest in community development would be an advantage.

For further information on how to apply  please see the Job Specification, email: carolmasheter@soirbheas.org.uk or call 0751445 2783.

Closing date: 21st November 2014 (it is hoped the interviews will take place on 27th or 28th November)

Latest results from Corrimony Wind Farm

A lovely summer means not so much wind……..

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In addition to having a warm Easter and some fantastic weather so far this summer (which meant less wind), one of the turbines at Corrimony was out of action for two months due to a problem caused by the power cut.  This loss of income will be covered by insurance.  However, as happened last winter, the budget deficit incurred by the lovely summer we are experiencing will probably be compensated for by strong winds through the coming winter months

Community presented with first round of grants

Soirbheas, the community charity for Glen Urquhart and Strathglass, is delighted to announce the first awards for their Tier 1 grant programme.

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Soirbheas grant presentation in Drumnadrochit on 5th July 2014

 

Three grants have been awarded to local groups:

  1. £424.15 to Strathglass Community Council to provide planters and hanging baskets in the villages of Cannich, Struy and Tomich.
  2. £500 to the newly reformed Drumnadrochit Piping Society to purchase a set of drums.
  3. £300 to Strathglass Community Council to run a Christmas lunch for the elderly which will take place in Cannich in December.

The grants were presented at the Piping Society show case event in Drumnadrochit on Saturday 5th July.

Soirbheas’ vision is to make a more vibrant, growing and greener community. The launch of the grant programme earlier this year marked a significant milestone for the members of Soirbheas and the wider community. Chair of Soirbheas Tanya Castell said “Finally, to reach the point of having money being directed back into the community, from the charity’s investments in renewables is a great achievement.  A particular thanks goes out to the Girvan family, as without their vision for community involvement in the Corrimony windfarm, none of this would have been possible.”

The Soirbheas Community Development Officer, Carol Masheter, has been very active in promoting the grants and meeting up with groups to discuss their projects and potential grant applications. As a result there has been a great deal of community interest and we are anticipating a steady flow of grant applications over the next few months.

Tier 1 (up to £500) applications are accepted at any time, however the next deadline for Tier 2 (£501 – £10,000) is 29th November 2014.

August 13th, 2014

Free Renewable Energy Awareness Session
Renewable Energy Awareness Session on Thursday 28th August
6pm – 8pm at  Craigmonie Centre, Drumnadrochit

The REMOTE project promotes rural development and increase the renewable energy knowledge of communities by providing technology demonstrations, business model examples, training, peer-to-peer support, and community mentoring. The SEAM Centre (Inverness College UHI) is a key partner in the REMOTE project and will develop and implement renewable energy train the trainer workshops and information packages.
In conjunction with the UHI’s renewable energy team at the SEAM centre, Soirbheas will be hosting a free Renewable Energy Awareness session on Thursday 28th August 2014 at Craigmonie Centre in Drumnadrochit 6pm – 8pm (tea included).

Who is the session for?

Anyone who is interested in acquiring a basic understanding about Renewable Heating options for homes, community buildings or a business. The session is also suitable for those who are keen to encourage others to consider Renewable Heating or want to brush up on their knowledge.

What will it cover?

This session will provide impartial information, pros & cons for the various systems including the situation and or building they are best suited for.

How do I book a place?

The course is free but places must be pre-booked online, by email carolmasheter@soirbheas.org or call 0751 445 2783. As refreshments will be provided we require confirmation of bookings by 26th August.
A further renewable awareness and energy efficiency sessions will take place on 4th October 2014.

August 4th, 2014

Dates for forthcoming meetings
Board meeting – Thursday 28th August at 8pm in Craigmonie Centre, Drumnadrochit.
Board meeting – Thursday 2nd October at 7.30pm in Cannich Hall.

August 4th, 2014

Results for June 2014
A lovely summer means not so much wind …

results0613

In addition to having a warm Easter and some fantastic weather so far this summer (which meant less wind), one of the turbines at Corrimony was out of action for two months due to a problem caused by the power cut.  This loss of income will be covered by insurance.  However, as happened last winter, the budget deficit incurred by the lovely summer we are experiencing will probably be compensated for by strong winds through the coming winter months.

July 7th, 2014

Grant presentation in Drumnadrochit on Saturday 5th July

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Soirbheas, the community charity for Glen Urquhart and Strathglass, is delighted to announce the first awards for their Tier 1 grant programme. Three grants have been awarded to local groups:

  1.  £424.15 to Strathglass Community Council to provide planters and hanging baskets in the villages of Cannich, Struy and Tomich.
  2.  £500 to the newly reformed Drumnadrochit Piping Society to purchase a set of drums.
  3.  £300 to Strathglass Community Council to run a Christmas lunch for the elderly which will take place in Cannich in December.

The grants were presented at the Piping Society show case event in Drumnadrochit on Saturday 5th July.

Soirbheas’ vision is to make a more vibrant, growing and greener community. The launch of the grant programme earlier this year marked a significant milestone for the members of Soirbheas and the wider community. Chair of Soirbheas Tanya Castell said “Finally, to reach the point of having money being directed back into the community, from the charity’s investments in renewables is a great achievement.  A particular thanks goes out to the Girvan family, as without their vision for community involvement in the Corrimony windfarm, none of this would have been possible.”

The Soirbheas Community Development Officer, Carol Masheter, has been very active in promoting the grants and meeting up with groups to discuss their projects and potential grant applications. As a result there has been a great deal of community interest and we are anticipating a steady flow of grant applications over the next few months.

Tier 1 (up to £500) applications are accepted at any time, however the next deadline for Tier 2 (£501 – £10,000) is 29th November 2014.

June 19th, 2014

Soirbheas to be part of the Green Homes Open Day

Date for your diary – This year Soirbheas are joining forces with Home Energy Scotland to take part in the Energy Saving Trust  Green Homes Open Day on Saturday 4th October.  Local homes will open their doors to show of the renewable energy measures they have taken.  If you are thinking of making improvements to your home this is a great opportunity to get first hand feedback from other home owner.  Further details to follow shortly…..

June 10th, 2014

1st Round Tier 2 Grants Deadline 29th June

Carol our Community Development Officer  has been busy over the last few weeks meetings with groups in Glen Urquhart and Strathglass; some really exciting project ideas coming forward.
Don’t forget the 1st deadline for Tier 2 grants (£501 – £10,000) is rapidly approaching – 29th June.

June 10th, 2014

Overall results are still well on target.

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June 10th, 2014

Soirbheas Annual General Meeting

We hope you can join us on Thursday 26th June at Balnain Community Hall at 7.30 pm
Refreshments will be served – all members are welcome.

May 5th, 2014

Corrimony Wind Farm Performance March 2014

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March 17th, 2014

Grant Briefing Sessions

Soirbheas Community Grant Funding

The Soirbheas Grant programmes opens in April 2014 to receive the first round of applications.  To learn more about available funding please come along to one of the Grant Briefing Sessions:

Tues 25th March 2014, 8pm at Cannich Hall, Cannich

Wed 2nd April, 7.30pm at Craigmonie Centre, Drumnadrochit

The aim of the Grant Briefing Sessions is to give you an understanding of the funding programmes, how to apply and what sort of projects will be considered. Places are free but must be pre-booked;  to book a place please see the on-line form or download a form.

If you need further guidance to get your project off the ground or want to discuss an idea please contact Carol the Community Development Officer email: carolmasheter@soirbheas.org

For more information on the grants programme please refer to the Grant Summery Leaflet. Application forms and deadlines will be available shortly on the website.

March 11th, 2014

Why Soirbheas is involved with Beinn Mhor wind-farm proposed by wpd Scotland

We have put together a useful question and answer fact sheet – THE FACTS

March 10th, 2014

Superb production figures from Corrimony Wind Farm in December & February

Great news – December and February were excellent months for Corrimony Wind Farm, with output being significantly higher than expectations which has made up ALL the budgeted production deficit accrued over the calm summer  in 2013.

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February 21st, 2014

Soirbheas and wpd Scotland enter agreement to secure enhanced community benefit for Strathglass and Glen Urquhart

Soirbheas Ltd (www.soirbheas.org) is a community charity whose core objectives are to invest in the communities of Strathglass and Glen Urquhart to generate a more vibrant, growing and greener community.  The charity was originally formed to secure the community benefit from renewable projects, the first one being offered by the local wind-farm at Corrimony, so that Soirbheas’ share of the income from this could be used to benefit the local communities. The funds received will be distributed to local community projects in the form of grants to provide a more sustainable future for the next generation and help protect our environment.  It is hoped that the first funds will be available this spring.  Soirbheas is also willing to drive some projects itself (e.g. higher speed broadband for residents and local businesses)  if there is no existing group planning to address an identified key need in the area.

Soirbheas has now entered into a memorandum of understanding (“MoU”) with wpd Scotland (“wpd”).  The MoU is an early, very high level agreement to explore a relationship between wpd and Soirbheas such that, in the event that wpd’s proposed Beinn Mhor wind farm development proceeds, then Soirbheas can secure enhanced community benefits (ie more than the standard £5,000 per megawatt, MW, per annum developers are expected to offer) for the advantage of the local communities of Glen Urquhart and Strathglass.

The MoU clearly acknowledges that Soirbheas does not represent the communities’ views with regards to the planning application for Beinn Mhor wind farm.  Whilst Soirbheas will continue to remain strictly impartial with regard to the planning process with no role or influence in it, the MoU is the first step to ensure that, if the Beinn Mhor wind farm moves ahead, then the community can secure the maximum possible benefit.  This is fully aligned with the Soirbheas charitable objectives to invest in the Strathglass and Glen Urquhart communities.

The next step is for wpd and Soirbheas to assess how best to achieve the enhanced community benefit option and further discussions will be taking place over the coming months with this goal in mind.  Ultimately, any decision by Soirbheas to execute an agreement that could deliver enhanced community benefits will be carefully considered by the board, taking into account the board’s assessment of the risks and rewards.  If the board decided that the risk/reward balance was not appropriate, wpd have agreed to provide the standard community benefit of £5k per MW per year.

The proposed Beinn Mhor development would comprise seven turbines, with total generation capacity of twenty-one MW, on an upland site between the village  of Tomich, in Strathglass, and Corrimony, in Glen Urquhart – see http://www.wpd-uk.com/projects/beinn-mhor.html for further details.

Finally please note that, because Soirbheas is a company limited by guarantee, the maximum liability for each member of the charity is fixed at £1.  As such, there is no circumstance under which the communities of Glen Urquhart or Strathglass would be obliged to provide any financial support to Soirbheas beyond this.

February 1st, 2014

Soirbheas Announce the Winner of the Turbine Naming Competition

Soirbheas would like to thank all the primary school pupils who entered our naming of the turbine competition.

We were very impressed with the variety of ideas. Congratulations to Thomas Dick of Glenurquhart Primary with the winning name Whizzer ( …chosen from a short list by the Girvan family).

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Thomas (above) proudly displays his winner’s certificate!

February 1st, 2014

Community Development Officer Appointment

The Board is pleased to announce the appointment of Carol Masheter as the new Community Development Officer for Soirbheas, commencing on February 1st 2014.

Born and brought up at Aigas, Carol moved away to study Art & Design at University in Birmingham. She then went on to become an Arts Development Officer working for Local Authorities in Wolverhampton, Cheshire and Staffordshire.  She returned to the Highlands in 2008 to set up home at Aigas, where she and her husband have built their own house. Since coming back to the Highlands, Carol has gained experience in the environment and sustainability sector and has worked on a number of community initiatives both for Ross-shire Waste Action Network and Highland Environmental Network. Carol has an inherent understanding of the issues and challenges faced by the community and has the enthusiasm, drive, capability and personality to work with the community in resolving them. If you need to contact Carol, she will be available Monday through Thursday at carolmasheter@soirbheas.org

Carol takes over from Donna Green, who stands down at the end of February due to personal commitments. The Board would like to thank Donna for her continued energy, hard work and efforts in raising the profile of Soirbheas and increasing membership. In addition to general administrative duties and her support of the Soirbheas Board, she has done a great job of preparing Soirbheas for distributing grants within our community when the money from Corrimony windfarm arrives in the next few months.

January 14th, 2014

COMMUNITY BROADBAND UPDATE

Soirbheas is very pleased to announce that Community Broadband Scotland has awarded us £2,000 to fund the next stage of our Community Broadband project.

The award will allow us to complete stage one of our grant application; we will use the money to pay a local person to carry out a Community Scoping Overview, which will be used in support of our grant application.

The next stage will be to carry out a feasibility study. This will help us determine the options for getting faster broadband into our community. In due course we will be applying to Community Broadband Scotland for a tier two grant to pay for the feasibility study.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all those local residents who have kindly taken the time to complete the recent Broadband Survey. Your engagement is greatly valued.

If you haven’t taken the survey, there is still time! Click here to go to the home page and take the survey.

A big thank you also to Community Broadband Scotland for all of their help so far in progressing our application.

Our community needs access to faster broadband! Please continue to engage with us as we strive to make this a reality for Glen Urquhart and Strathglass.

January 10th, 2014

Excellent production figures from Corrimony Wind Farm in December

Great news – despite a major power cut on December 5th and it sometimes being a bit too windy, it was an excellent month for Corrimony windfarm with output being significantly over-budget and making up for over 75% of the budgeted production deficit accrued over the calm summer.

January 10th, 2014

RECRUITMENT: TEMPORARY POSITION Remuneration: £15 per hour.

Soirbheas is looking for a suitable person to work on a two week contract to help with our community broadband project.

The assignment will be to complete a Community Scoping Overview as part of our grant application to Community Broadband Scotland.

The scoping overview will involve gathering local area information, collating information on local broadband services and mobile performance data and identifying local mast sites, current demand and usage, etc. The information will then be put into report format to be submitted with the grant application.

Knowledge of the local area (Glen Urquhart and Strathglass) is essential as are report writing skills.

Please send a brief CV by email to donnagreen@soirbheas.org

Closing date for applications: Friday, 17th January 2014