November 2015 Wind Farm Results

November 2015


Tips For Enjoying Christmas

Christmas can be a wonderful time of the year but sadly not for everyone. We have put together a list of useful links to help you get through the festivities.

From all of us at Soirbheas we wish you a Merry, Safe, Healthy and Warm Christmas!

Countdown to Christmas Tips  – Great savings ideas for saving on your food bills. Ideas for using up left overs and cutting your food waste to save money.
Perfect Portions – Help to cut your food waste and save money.
Reduce Reuse Recycle  – We waste more at Christmas than at any other time of the year.
Trade Craft – Have an ethical Christmas.
How to avoid debit – Try and avoid over spending by planning ahead.
Stay Safe and Healthy – Cooking tips to reduce food poisoning. How to avoid feeling lonely. More than 80,000 people a year need hospital treatment for injuries such as falls, cuts and burns during the festive period – don’t be one of them!
Stay Warm – Though it has been unusually warm don’t get caught out when the bad weather comes.
Stay Safe When Driving – Know your limits and don’t drive when your feeling tired.

Latest Grants Awarded By Soirbheas

Soirbheas presents the latest round of grant awards to two enterprising community projects.

elderleycarecentre   childcarecheque

Since Soirbheas’ grant programme was launched in April 2014, over £50,000 of grant funding has been awarded to local groups in Strathglass and Glen Urquhart. Soirbheas currently have two grant programmes Tier 1 (up to £500) and Tier 2 (£501 – £10,000). The most recent round of Tier 2 grant awards are presented to two key charitable organisations in the community and make a contribution towards creating important social infrastructure and creating jobs in the area:

  • Glenurquhart Care Project £10,000 – GCP will purchase 0.5 hectare of land at the rear of the existing Care Centre in Drumnadrochit to allow development of new amenity housing for the elderly, supported by the services of the Care Centre.
  • Glen Urquhart Childcare Centre £9,000 – The Childcare Centre are recruiting and training an additional member of staff to create new childcare provision for 3 – 5 year old in addition to nursery places to support local families by providing full day care.

Soirbheas can also assist groups in Glen Urquhart and Strathglass by helping them to develop projects or identifying other grants/match funding or partners.  Check out the funding section on the Soirbheas website www.soirbheas.org which highlights some other funding opportunities or get in touch with the charity’s Community Development Officer, Carol Masheter [email protected] for guidance.

New support for Shared Ownership Renewable Energy Projects

Shared Ownership of Renewables is a new pilot programme of accelerated support to facilitate social enterprise and community investment in commercially owned renewable energy developments.

The service will support 40 Highlands and Islands communities and social enterprises to realise an income stream through investment in commercially owned renewable energy.

The service will deliver one to one support and a series of tailored development workshops and specialist support to raise awareness of, and accelerate, the completion of investment opportunities.

Melanie MacRae, Senior Development Manager at HIE: “We recognise that some communities may not wish to take on the development of a renewable energy project single handedly.  We see investment in shared ownership as an alternative model to enable communities to generate a sustainable income from renewables.

“There are a number of opportunities in our region and we are really pleased to be able to put this support in place for our clients. The service will work closely with our existing account managed communities whilst also having a focus on our fragile and employment action areas to ensure maximum benefit for the region.”

The programme is due to start in Autumn 2015.

Register your interest

To find out more or register an interest from your community or social enterprise please contact [email protected]

New Club Directory For Glen Urquhart & Strathglass

Do you want to find a group or club to join but don’t know what’s going on in your area?
Want to do some volunteering in your community or meet new people?

Then check out the new Clubs Directory for Glen Urquhart and Strathglass

If your club is missing or you need to make an update to the directory please contact: [email protected]

Soirbheas Board Meeting

The next board meeting is on Thursday 19th November 7.30 at Balnain Hall – all members are welcome.

Meeting dates for 2016 will be available shortly.

September 2015 Wind Farm Results

Sept 2015

999 or 112 – Which is Best?

In the UK 999 and 112 are the same.

  • 112 calls do not have priority over 999 calls. Continue using 999 and you will have no issue.
  • Remember to raise mountain rescue, you must first ask for police.
  • 112 is the pan European standard number for contacting the emergency services and was introduced to run in parallel with 999. It also works in other countries across the world. Do your research when traveling abroad.
  • The absence of a signal on the phone’s home network will mean that it may be possible to obtain a signal on another network. You may be able to place a 999/112 call on the other network, but you cannot receive a call on that network, even if the inbound call is from emergency services.
  • If after a few attempts of dialing 112/99 and your phone has not connected, you can send a text to 112/999 (you have to be pre-registered). You can only send a text from your home network. If you have a weak or intermittent signal on your home network that is the time that sending a text to 999/112 could be a life saver, i.e. not enough signal for a call, but a text may squeeze through.
  • Mobile phones can be located by mobile phone masts when 999/112 is called. The phone’s position, according to the phone network, is sent to the emergency services. This is done by triangulation, and the more masts available, the more accurate the calculated position. So in remote areas ……..

All statements are true for the UK, other countries will vary.

The fair not to be missed!

A staggering Thirty groups are joining forces to attend a Club & Volunteering Fair which will take place on the evening of Tuesday 6th October at the Craigmonie Centre in Drumnadrochit.

Local community charity Soirbheas is working in partnership with High Life Highland to get local people more involved with local groups and to spread the word about what’s going on in Glen Urquhart and Strathglass.

Clubs and organisation’s will be talking to visitors on the night about their group, encouraging new members to sign up, recruiting volunteers and promoting forthcoming events.

This is a family friendly event open to all ages and a chance to see what is on offer in your community. There will a chance to see the Black Dragon Scotland Karate club in action, the local fire service carrying out a training session and hear the Drumnadrochit Pipe Band and much more.

We have high hopes that this event will give residents of the local community a great opportunity to learn all about the interesting and varied activities going on locally.  We hope that the organizations involved in the fair will also benefit by raising their profile and gaining new members and volunteers.

If you want to take up a new hobby or sport, would like to help out in your community or simply want to know what’s going on – then come and join us from 7pm – 9pm 6th October at Craigmonie Centre, Drumnadrochit for tea and a chat – entrance is free.

For further information please contact Carol Masheter, Community Development Officer by email: [email protected] mob: 0751 445 2783

List of clubs and organisation’s taking part in the event:

1st Glen Urquhart Guides
Active Schools
Black Dragon Scotland
Cooking Club
Craigmonie Centre
Craigmonie Woodland Association
Drumnadrochit Badminton Club
Drumnadrochit piping society
Fire Service
First Responders Unit
Friends of the Glenurquhart Centre
Glen Urquhart Community Association
Glen Urquhart Community Council
Glen Urquhart Indoor Bowling Club
Glen Urquhart Karate Club
Glen Urquhart Public Hall
Glen Urquhart Shinty Club
Glen Urquhart Church of Scotland
Glenurquhart Heritage Group
Great Glen Outdoor Club
Highland Equine And Riding Therapy (HEART)
RNLI Loch Ness
St Ninian’s Episcopal Church
Strathglass Heritage Association
Strathglass Senior Youth Club
Trees 4 Life (TBC)

Club and Volunteering Fair


The Prince’s Countryside Fund open for applications

The Prince’s Countryside Fund gives grants to projects that help support the people who care for the countryside.

Organisations and charities that are helping to protect and sustain Britain’s farming and rural communities can apply for funding of up to £50,000 until 8 October 2015, with £725,000 of funding available in this round.

Claire Saunders, Director of The Prince’s Countryside Fund, said:

“Rural and farming communities are under immense pressure at the moment. We are looking for projects which will have a long-term positive impact to help sustain our rural areas and encourage enterprise that will help the people who care for our countryside and make it tick.

“Britain’s environment, security and prosperity depends on our countryside. Three quarters of British land is farmed, and agriculture is central to our landscape. It is crucial that we protect this priceless national asset and provide funding that supports the remarkable people working to create and sustain a vibrant rural economy.”

Projects will be considered on their contribution to one of three key countryside issues:

1.Thriving Rural Communities – projects that provide innovative solutions to deliver assets and services that keep rural communities together and develop a more sustainable rural economy i.e. empowering communities to provide village services or create business hubs and employment for local people

2.Rural Livelihoods – projects that focus on developing stronger, more sustainable farm and rural enterprises with the aim of halting the decline of the rural economy i.e. providing rural businesses with support and advice or supporting farmer led initiatives

3.Farmers of the Future – projects that help improve skills and increase opportunities of taking up rural careers, in particular in farming, with the aim of helping people to remain within and contribute to the rural economy i.e. training opportunities and apprenticeship schemes that inspire and enable new entrants to consider a career in farming

You can contact a member of The Prince’s Countryside Fund team on 020 7566 8797 or email [email protected] to tell them about your project before going ahead with your application. They can talk to you about whether your project meets the Fund’s objectives and give guidance on what you need to do to make your application.

Visit the Prince’s Countryside Fund website to find out more.

The fund will close for applications at 5pm on Thursday 8 October.

Autumn Newsletter 2015

To find out all our latest news and updates including forthcoming events check out the Autumn Newsletter.

Staying Safe Online

Free workshop – 16th September  4 – 6pm at Glen Urquhart High School

This workshop should help you feel more confident if you, or the people you work with would like to know more about

  • Online safety – what are the risks and how can we avoid them
    • Where to access good advice
    • Online shopping and banking
    • Recognising scams and fraud

The workshop is aimed at community groups, public and third sector organisations and charities, and it’s free! To book contact [email protected]

Course delivered by Citizens Online

Over a 100 votes but we still need more!

Community charity Soirbheas are the only along Scotland project to be shortlisted for the M&S Energy Fund National Category with a chance to win £40,00o.

If successful Soirbheas wishes to invest in the Shenval Hydro scheme being developed near Loch Ness. The money generated from this particular investment will allow Soirbheas to launch a new Apprenticeship Grant Scheme to provide young people with a modern apprenticeship, encourage them to stay in the area and support local business to develop skilled staff.

The Glenurquhart Care Centre have been shortlisted for the Regional programme and hope to secure £12,500 to install solar panels at the Care Centre.

Please show your support and vote.

Rural broadband funding scheme launched

The First Minister has launched a new funding programme to support community-led broadband projects in rural Scotland.

Nicola Sturgeon announced that the new Scottish Rural Development Programme (SRDP)broadband grant scheme is now open for applications on a visit to Oban’s Phoenix Cinema where a new wifi tourist information kiosk has been installed.

The £9 million fund will be used to support community-led broadband projects similar to GigaPlus Argyll – a ground-breaking scheme where groups of hard-to-reach communities get together to procure super-fast broadband services from commercial providers.

The First Minister said:”Superfast broadband is being rolled out across Scotland with Scottish Government support, and we are more than halfway towards meeting out target under the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband (DSSB) Programme. The social and economic benefits are clear, as demonstrated by this innovative and accessible wifi tourist information kiosk in Oban’s Phoenix Cinema.

“This SRDP funding will help communities in the hardest to reach broadband areas follow in the footsteps of the pioneering GigaPlus Argyll project, and work together to bring superfast services to homes and businesses.”This scheme takes the available funding for community broadband projects up to £16.5 million in Scotland, over and above the £400 million DSSB investment. It is another step to achieving the Scottish Government’s aim of delivering world class connectivity by 2020 and, enabling people across Scotland to connect any time, any place, anywhere, using any device.” The Scottish Rural Development Programme (SRDP) 2014-2020 broadband grant scheme will be delivered by Community Broadband Scotland (CBS).

CBS Director, Zoe Laird said: “Access to high speed, robust, broadband has a transformational effect on how people live, work and learn, particularly in our most remote and rural communities. Our role at CBS is to help communities find innovative solutions and GigaPlus Argyll is a great example of an innovative business model that will bring transformational and robust broadband to the most remote of premises across eight island and mainland communities. The SRDP scheme will enable us to help even more rural communities across Scotland get digitally connected.”

Eight island and mainland communities on the west coast of Scotland have joined forces with Community Broadband Scotland (CBS) for the community-owned GigaPlus Argyll project.

Chair Moray Finch said:“Broadband connectivity in the GigaPlus Argyll area is poor, with speeds less than 2 Mbps, and our communities on the islands and Craignish peninsula are outside the reach of the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband fibre scheme. By getting together with CBS, we have been successful in securing tenders and appointing a company specialising in the installation and operation of wireless superfast broadband which will deliver affordable services to 1,400 homes and businesses, opening up huge opportunities for us.”

Visit the Community Broadband Scotland website for more on the fund.

Scottish Land Festival at Abriachan


For further information [email protected] or to book https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/abriachan-gathering-our-land-scottish-land-festival-tickets-18179601678?ref=esfb

Green Highland Homes to visit

You’ll be able to visit over 30 Highlands and Islands homes and  a wide range of community events during Green Home Energy Week, which runs from 5th to 13th September.

Green Home Energy Week gives you the chance to  find out what it’s like to live in a home with energy efficiency improvements and renewables systems. The homes feature a broad range of low cost and innovative energy efficiency improvements including solar powered heating, wind turbines, heat pumps, biomass boilers, wall insulation, loft insulation and everything in between.

Register for a visit and you’ll be able to chat to green homeowners about their experiences, and find out more about the free advice and support available to help you make your home more energy efficient.

The community events, being held on the Black Isle, and in Elphin, Lochaber, Kingussie and Nairn, give more opportunities to find out more about these technologies, meet the installers and find out how to save money at the ‘Billbuster’ sessions.

The Green Home Energy Week website has an easily searchable map to help you find community events and green homes in your area –  and register to visit.

Vote for Shenval Hydro Project

Soirbheas, along with only 5 other organisations in Scotland, have had their project shortlisted for a chance to win a share of  £400,000 on offer from the M&S Energy Fund for community energy initiatives.

Soirbheas’ aim is to improve the lives of people in Glen Urquhart and Strathglass by investing in renewable energy projects and using the income to make this remote community more resilient.

Soirbheas’ funds have helped local groups to buy much needed equipment, run a range of arts, sport and heritage projects and support activities including trips for the young and old, solar panels for village halls to Pipe Band and sports equipment.

The charity wishes to invest in the Shenval Hydro scheme being developed near Loch Ness. The money generated from this particular investment will allow Soirbheas to launch a new Apprenticeship Grant Scheme to provide young people with a modern apprenticeship, encourage them to stay in the area and support local business to develop skilled staff.

To give us a chance to win we need your vote – please show your support and vote .

Soirbheas Are in the Running To WIN £40k from M&S Energy Fund

Soirbheas, the Glen Urquhart and Strathglass community charity organisation has been names as a potential beneficiary of a grant from the 2015 Mark & Spencer Energy Fund.

If successful in winning the funding, community charity Soirbheas proposes to invest in the Shenval Hydro scheme being developed near Drumnadrochit to generate income for the community.

Soirbheas’ aim is to improve the lives of people of all ages living in Glen Urquhart and Strathglass by investing in renewable energy projects.  The money generated from these is then reinvested back into the community to deliver its vision of a more vibrant, growing and greener community.

Support from Soirbheas has helped local groups and organisations to buy much needed equipment ranging from small items such as sports kit to significant installations such as solar panels for a public hall.  A range of arts, sport and heritage projects are supported as well as activities including social and educational trips for the young and old.  Soirbheas also empowers local people by helping with training, research on assistance required and is currently looking at the roll out of high speed broadband to those areas that will be beyond BT’s reach.

The Shenval Hydro scheme has local support and the developer of the project, Green Highland Renewables Ltd, has already secured planning permission for the scheme, which will utilise the Allt Seanabhaile burn on Forestry Commission land near Shenval in Glen Urquhart.  Once installed the scheme will have an output of 500KW.

The money generated from this investment will allow Soirbheas to launch a new Apprenticeship Grant Scheme for people aged 18 – 25 years.  The scheme will assist young people in gaining a Modern Apprenticeship Qualification and encourage them to stay in the area in addition to supporting local business’ growth by developing skilled staff.

“We are very excited to have our project shortlisted and encourage the public to show their support and vote for the Shenval Hydro project.” stated Alan James, Chair of Soirbheas.

Anyone can register to vote on the www.mandsenergyfund.com website for their local projects, each user can only vote for a project once but may submit individual votes for several projects. Voting opens on 0000 BST 17 August 2015 and closes on 2359 BST 30 September 2015.

Choosing the winners – The national prize for a project that requires a maximum of £40,000 is determined by the highest number of votes against the project campaigns competing in this category

 Working in partnership with Soirbheas have also assisted Glen Urquhart Care Centre to submit an application for the regional prize of £12,500 to install Solar PV to reduce the carbon emission of their building.

Improve your chances of securing funding

The Perfect Match

Tuesday 8 September 2015 – 10:00 to 12:00
Fairways House, Fairways Business Park, Inverness, IV2 6AA

Voluntary organisations, charities and social enterprises often need some grant or loan funding to carry out their activities. This course aims to help you make successful funding applications, understand funding guidelines and prepare funding applications.The course will include: fit for funding – your organisation’s profile top tips for funding applications jargon busting understanding funding criteria and your chance to decide who gets the money the current funding landscape

Price:  SCVO and Signpost members £30, non-members £50 to book

Finding Funding

Tuesday 8 September 2015 – 13:00 to 15:00
Fairways House, Fairways Business Park, Inverness, IV2 6AA

Voluntary organisations, charities and social enterprises often need some grant or loan funding to carry out their activities. This course will give participants tools to identify potential funders to give them the best chance of funding success.Through group and individual activities this course will cover: getting ready for fundraising identifying sources of information on funding getting the best out of the new free fund search engine, Funding Scotland, to effectively identify a range of funders for your project interpreting fund entries in directories and from online searches collecting and managing your funding information.

Price:  SCVO and Signpost members £30, non-members £50 to book

For more information contact Sandra Hogg on 01463 251729 or email [email protected].

New loan to help reduce energy costs

As well as cutting costs through transport efficiencies, reducing your building’s energy costs can make a big difference to your bottom line. Support is available through the Resource Efficient Scotland SME Loan which is now open for applications. Funded by the Scottish Government, the loan could help your business cut overhead costs through improved energy, material resource and/or water efficiency use.

  • Loans are available from £1,000 to £100,000.
  • Scottish SMEs, private sector landlords, not-for-profit organisations and charities can apply.
  • The loan is interest free (unless you’re applying for a technology which will receive payments from the Feed In Tariffs or Renewable Heat Incentive schemes, in which case the interest rate is 5%).
  • There are no set-up charges.

Resource Efficient Scotland provides free resources and expert support to help businesses cut energy, materials and water costs. Last year they identified over £16 million of savings- that’s savings of over £18,000 on average for each of the businesses they helped. To find out about the free, independent and confidential support your business is entitled to,visit www.resourceefficientscotland.com

Broadband Campaign

Latest news from Scottish Rural Parliament…. Scottish Government have commissioned additional work from BT to confirm in autumn which areas will and will not get superfast broadband through the BT roll-out.

This will then enable those communities unable to access superfast broadband through BT to work with Community Broadband Scotland to identify alternative methods of accessing this essential service.

In addition, representatives of the Rural Parliament will be meeting with BT and the Scottish Government next week to consider the additional issues raised throughout the campaign.

The Rural Parliament is still gathering evidence of these key issues via a short survey for discussion at this meeting. Members of the public with one or more of the following four concerns can submit their evidence here:https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/broadbandevidence:
• The date for superfast broadband coming to your area has been moved back
• Your neighbours get superfast broadband but you don’t
• BT has not yet told you if you will or will not get superfast broadband
• You have superfast broadband but it is still slow

For a full statement and a statement from Scottish Government see:http://www.scottishruralparliament.org.uk/broadband-campaign-success/

June 2015 Wind Farm Results

June 2015

No summer means great wind.

May 2015 Wind Farm Results

May 2015

Interested in Health Walks?

Working in partnership with Step It Up Highland Soirbheas is keen to develop a programme of Health Walks in Glen Urquhart and Strathglass.

Heath Walks enable people to achieve better physical health, improve mental wellbeing, attain a healthy weight and encourage interaction by socialising with others while enjoying the wonderful outdoors.

Health Walks take place weekly and are led by trained volunteers who share their own passion for walking with others who are less likely to walk regularly and so to encourage joining a local SIUH walking group. All walks are free to attend and are led by trained walk leaders who will welcome and encourage new walkers of all abilities.

Free training to become a Health Walk Leader will take place in Inverness on 24th June places are limited an must be booked by 11th June.

If you are interested in helping to set up a Health Walk in Glen Urquhart or Strathglass or are keen to join a walk please get in touch with Lynne Bannister [email protected] or Carol Masheter [email protected]

For more information on Health Walks visit http://www.pfw.org.uk/projects/step-it-up-highland/

April 2015 – Wind Farm Results

March 2015

March was windy again although for the whole year, the total income earned was slightly less than hoped for

Funding Opportunity

The scheme aims to increase the capacity and resilience of communities and local VCSE organisations to provide people with the support and skills they need. The Fund has a total of £144,500 for 2015/16 to support innovative and creative projects which have a preventative impact in communities, combat inequality and promote social inclusion, and assist work to mitigate the effects of welfare reform.

The Fund also aims to support local organisations to work in partnership. SCVO hopes the pilot will inform Scottish Government funding streams to community based organisations in the future.

The following organisations can apply for grants of between £1,000 and £5,000:

  • Charities.
  • Voluntary organisations.
  • Social enterprises.
  • Community organisations.
  • Volunteering bodies.
  • Co-operatives.
  • Housing associations.
  • Credit unions.

Applicants must have an annual income of £200,000 or less in 2014/15.

Funding is available for projects to achieve one or more of the following criteria:

  • Expanding/developing an organisation’s capacity in order to meet demand relating to welfare reform.
  • Developing a pilot project which focuses on tackling the impact of welfare reform and inequality.
  • Help bringing organisations together in partnership to support people.
  • Developing people’s ability to prevent them from reaching crisis point.

The deadline for applications is 29 May 2015 (5pm).

Full details can be found on the SCVO website

For other funding opportunities.

Soirbheas Celebrating 1st Year of Giving

Soirbheas, the community charity focused on investing in the communities of Glen Urquhart and Strathglass, is to celebrate its first 12 months of supporting local groups by holding a birthday party at Cannich Hall on Tuesday 12th May.

Guests will include representatives from a number of groups that have benefitted from Soirbheas’s grant programme so far, including local school children and users of Cannich Hall who are keen to show off the new PV Solar system and mark the progress of the hall taking another step towards going ‘green’.

Soirbheas was formed to secure benefits from local renewable projects in Glen Urquhart and Strathglass for the benefit of the community.  The income generated is invested through the Soirbheas grant programmes and direct delivery to generate a more vibrant, growing and greener community.

Since Soirbheas’ grant programme was launched in April 2014, £24,410 of grant funding has been awarded to local groups in Strathglass and Glen Urquhart. Projects that have benefited include:

Tier 1 Grants Awards (up to £500) in 2014/2015

  • Glen Urquhart Piping Society – Purchase of drums, harnesses and cases.
  • Strathglass Marketing Group – Contribution towards production of a map for the new Kintail to Affric Way
  • Glen Urquhart Childcare Centre – Funds to renovate outdoor play equipment
  • Strathglass and Affric Community Company – hire of equipment for Strathglass Gala Day

Tier 2 Grants Awards (£501 – £10,000) in 2014/2015

  • Glen Urquhart Shinty Club – Development of a new junior all weather pitch
  • Strathglass and Affric Community Company –  Installation of 16 PV Solar Panels on  Cannich Hall
  • Glen Urquhart High School – S3 Outdoor residential trip and achievement award

“One year on and we are delighted with the response we have had to the grant programme, it’s very evident that there is a great deal of activity and high aspirations in our area. We are keen to work with a wide range of groups in our community to maximise the benefit and strengthen our communities,” stated Alan James, Chair of Soirbheas.

More than 50 primary and secondary school pupils, plus representatives from all the groups that have been awarded grants over the last 12 months, have been invited to attend the party and a special birthday cake has been prepared. The event will include party games with a twist to get across the importance of energy saving/renewable energy.

Though not all projects meet with Soirbheas’s funding objectives, the charity can still assist groups by helping develop projects or identifying other grants/match funding or partners.  Soirbheas encourages local groups to check out the funding section on the website www.soirbheas.org which highlights some other funding opportunities or get in touch with the charity’s Community Development Officer, Carol Masheter [email protected] for guidance.

All grants awarded in 2014-2015

Surveying, designing & building community paths

Paths for All in partnership with Balloch Village Trust are offering community groups access to a free training course on Sunday 17 May, 10am – 4pm at Balloch Hall, Culloden Road, Balloch, Inverness, IV2 7HQ

Course details: This hands on course is open to representatives from community groups who wish to develop their own community path projects.

This free one day course is designed to give you an overview of key stages involved in the planning development and delivery of any community path project.

Booking: For more information please contact Marion Munro, 01259 222336 or to book a place on this course, please email [email protected]

Renewables Loans for 2015-2016

The Scottish Government has confirmed today that the Home Energy Scotland renewables loan will continue in the financial year 2015-2016 and the scheme has now reopened.

The scheme is unchanged with the same terms and conditions, eligibility criteria, payment amounts and periods as previously.  It continues to operate on a first come first served basis subject to availability of funds.

For latest information, please look at the Energy Savings Trust website.

Soirbheas’ Tattie Project

Spuds, potatoes, tatties—whatever you like to call them, have you ever grown your own? Soirbheas, in partnership with schools and local community groups, has launched a pilot project to encourage more people to grow their own! If you fancy having a go at cultivating your own delicious tatties you can buy a range of seed potatoes from your local school on the following dates:

Glen Urquhart Childcare Centre – Saturday 21st March 10.30—12.30

Glen Urquhart Primary School – Thursday  26th March 3—4

Bridge End Primary School, Cannich –  Tuesday 31st March 1—4

Balnain Primary School – TBC

*Dates or times may be subject to change, please check with venue.

Schools and groups involved  intend to use the funds from the sales of seed potatoes to support other growing projects, so come on lets get growing!

Seed potato varieties being grown or sold as part of the Tattie Project

Thanks go to Transition Black Isle for their valuable help and support in sourcing the seed potatoes for the Tattie Project.

Soirbheas Spring Newsletter

Catch up on Soirbheas’ current and forthcoming activities in our latest issue Spring Newsletter 2015

Funding Opportunities Sessions

Have you booked your place yet? Come along and find out what funding might be available for your group or activity.

Tuesday 24th March at 7.30 – Craigmonie Centre

Monday 30th March at 7.30 – Cannich Hall 

Places are limited please pre-book by completing the online form or emailing [email protected] with your preferred date.

Could Your Group be Missing Out?

Since the Soirbheas grant programme was launched in April 2014, £23,539.15 of grant funding has been awarded to local groups (see grants awarded) in Strathglass and Glen Urquhart.

It’s very evident that there is a great deal of activity and high aspirations in our area, though not all projects meet with Soirbheas funding objectives, we can still assist groups by: helping develop projects or identifying other grants/match funding or partners.  Check out the funding section on the website which highlights some other funding opportunities or come to a Funding Opportunities    Session: Tuesday 24th March 7.30 at Craigmonie    Centre, Drumnadrochit. Monday 30th March, 7.30 at  Cannich Hall.

Places are limited—please pre-book by emailing: [email protected] or calling 0751 445 2783.

Road closure – Etape Sunday 26 April 2015

The Etape Loch Ness is a closed road cycle sportive following a 360 degree, 66-mile / 106km route around iconic Loch Ness starting and finishing in Inverness. The event will bring a significant boost to Inverness and the Loch Ness area, attracting over 3000 cyclists from across Scotland and the UK. In addition, thousands of pounds will be raised by participants for Macmillan Cancer Support, the official event charity. For all event information, please visit www.etapelochness.com

Local communities, residents and businesses along the route are thanked for their patience for your support and patience.

January 2015 – wind farm results

January 2015

January was a good month even though there were difficulties due to the storm early in the month and the following snow.  Two turbines were out for about ten days with the main problem being the snow preventing engineers getting out on site.  Hopefully insurance will compensate for some of the loss.

December 2014 – Wind farm results

Dec 2014

December was a good month again!

Soirbheas Board Meeting Dates

Dates for Soirbheas board meeting:

Thursday 26th February 7.30 at Cannich Hall

Thursday 2nd April 7.30  Glen Urquhart Care Centre, Drumnadrochit

Thursday 21st May 7.30 at Balnain Hall

All members are welcome to attend.

Energy Monitors

Interested in reducing your electricity bill? Soirbheas has recently purchased several energy monitors to loan out to households in GlenUrquhart or Strathglass.

They are simple to install and will help you identify which appliances are using the most energy!


If you would like to borrow one please get in touch [email protected] or call 0751 445 2783.

Carbon CLEVER Cycles

Carbon CLEVER Cycles is a collaborative project between the Highland CouncilSSE and Co-wheels Car Club, which allows you to hire an electric bike (e-bike) in Inverness.

An e-bike is a bicycle which can be powered by electricity as well as propelled by pedals. Each bike has an integrated electric motor which can be used for propulsion, allowing you to tackle hills or headwinds with greater ease than traditional cycles.

You can hire a Carbon CLEVER Cycle from Falcon Square or Highland Council HQ on Glenurquhart Road, Inverness. Prices start from just £1.75 per hour. Simply register for the service and book your e-bike online from the Co-wheels website. Alternatively, call the 24/7 hotline number 0191 375 1050.

Each locker contains all you need for a safe and comfortable ride, including helmethi-vis vestpannier and 13amp portable charging kit.

Living Waterways Awards Open To Entries

The aim of the Awards is to recognise and celebrate best practice in waterway improvements throughout the UK.

Entries are welcome from regeneration projects, schemes or initiatives of any size from across the UK that are located on, or immediately adjacent to, an inland waterway. All finalists are invited to attend an awards ceremony and dinner.

All entries must be able to demonstrate that they:

  • are located on, or immediately adjacent to, an inland waterway in the UK;
  • are innovative and inspirational;
  • have involved active participation of by an appropriate range of partners;
  • have enriched the use and enjoyment of the waterway; and
  • have a proven track record of success.

In addition, all nominations must be able to show:

  • how the environmental, social and economic objectives of sustainable development have been met; and
  • how the project is providing the catalyst for other projects or schemes.

The following Award categories are open to entries:

  • Art and Interpretation.
  • Community & Volunteering.
  • Contribution to the Built Environment.
  • Education & Learning.
  • Natural Environment.
  • Recreation & Tourism.
  • Restoration & Historic Environment.

The deadline for entries for the 2015 Awards is 13 March 2015. The Awards Ceremony will be held in October 2015.

For more information, see the Canal & River Trust website.

What would your perfect community look like?

What would your perfect community look like? Soirbheas is asking this very question as part of  researching the needs of the elderly and vulnerable living in our communities.

The research will used by Soirbheas and partner organisations to identify needs, gaps in services and provision as well as mapping the current quality and level of activities and services that already exist.

You can help us shape the future of Glen Urquhart and Strathglass to make  your community a more vibrant, growing and greener community by taking part in the research, simply completing one of the questionnaires below.

Or if you are active as a volunteer, work or provide services for the elderly, vulnerable and young you can also take part in one of the focus group.

To find out more please contact Carol Masheter  [email protected] or 0751 445 2783.

Free Home Energy Advice Visits

Soirbheas has teamed up with Home Energy Scotland to offer free home visits in home owners in Glen Urquhart and Strathglass by a specialist energy advisor who will provide confidential and impartial energy advice tailored to your home.

If you own your own property and want to find out how to lower the cost of keeping warm and the best energy solutions suitable for your property, Home Energy Scotland can help.

Your free home visit will cover:

  • How to get the most out of your heating and hot water system including how best to use heating controls.
  • What energy efficiency measures and renewables systems will suit your home.
  • What financial incentives are available to help.
  • Energy and money saving tips.
  • How to combat condensation or dampness.

Book your free home visit now by calling Rabia Arooj on 01463 259714 or email Rabia on [email protected].

Funding for Community Digital Participation Projects

Challenge Fund – This year, supported by the Scottish Government and ERDF, awarding a total of £200,000 to community digital participation projects across Scotland. This will enable groups and organisations to digitise content, build digital networks and improve the digital skills of their members, so that they can continue to thrive in the digital world. Awards range from £200 to £10,000. Awards over £10,000 will only be considered in exceptional circumstances.

For more information please see the guidance notes or email [email protected].

Key dates

  • Launch of online application: Monday 12 January 2015
  • Interests to register should be emailed no later than Monday 9th February
  • Deadline for applications: Friday 13 February 2015
  • Notification of award: By Friday 20 March 2015

To register an interest please email [email protected] with the subject header ‘Challenge Fund Call 2 Registering Interest’. In the email you should provide the following information:

  • Organisation name
  • Address 1
  • Address 2
  • Town
  • Postcode
  • Contact person for application
  • Contact’s role in organisation
  • Contact’s email address
  • Contact’s phone number

Within 48 hours you will recieve an email with your user name to login to the online Challenge Fund Community where you will be able to populate, edit and submit your application.

Go for it – Church Community Funding

Go For It – is about funding change in church and community. The Fund aims to encourage creative ways of working which develop the life and mission of the local church and are transformative for both communities and congregations. The focus is very much on ‘the local’ and any application must be able to demonstrate clearly its association with at least one Church of Scotland congregation. Part of a successful application to Go For It will be the demonstration of a commitment to good partnership working.

Who can apply?

Applications are welcomed from Church of Scotland congregations or organisations very closely associated with them. You will also need to show how you are actively working with other partners, including other churches, to bring about change.

  • Please note, if you have received a Main Grant from the Go for It fund, or the former Parish Development, Priority Areas Staffing or Emerging Ministries Funds, you may only apply to Go For It for Continuation, Training or Help funding, for the same project
  • We will only fund one project, from one church, at any one time. You may only apply to Go For It for funding for a new project, once any existing funding has ceased
  • If you are a voluntary organisation applying in partnership with a local Church of Scotland, please check carefully with the Church which is supporting this application. If they are in receipt of Go For It funding, you are not eligible to apply. Go For It will only fund one project per church at a time

There are five criteria for funding and successful applicants will meet at least two of these:

  • Meeting identified needs in their community
  • Nurturing Christian faith within and beyond the church
  • Tackling poverty and/or social injustice
  • Developing new ecclesial/ Christian communities
  • Creating work which is genuinely innovative and shares good practice with others
Six types of  grants
Research Research Grants are awarded to help you find out more about some aspect of your project, e.g. finding out more about the context for your work, who might benefit and possible methods of working.Maximum award is £1,500
Pilot Pilot Grants are awarded to enable you to test out the viability of an idea by putting it into practice for a short period of time.Maximum award is £5,000
Step Step Grants could follow after a successful Pilot Grant. They are awarded in situations where the nature of the work suggests that grants awarded year by year offer the most appropriate form of funding.Maximum award is £5,000 per annum
Main and Continuation Main Grants are awarded for core funding of projects. Maximum award is £45,000 (over a three year period), with the possibility of continuation funding for a further two years.Maximum award is £20,000
Training Training Grants are awarded to develop the skills and knowledge of people within projects which are funded by a Go For It Main Grant.Maximum award is £1,500
Help Help Grants may be awarded once during the life of the project in situations where circumstances which could not reasonably have been foreseen create a significant opportunity or crisis for a project supported by a Go For It Main Grant.Maximum award is £2,000

Ready to Go For It?

If you think you are ready to Go For It, get in touch with the Go For It Team, within the Church of Scotland’s Ministries Council, by calling 0131 225 5722 or email gofor[email protected]

Find out how to apply for a Small Grant here.

Find out how to apply for a Main Grant here.

New Rural Payments and Services Online System Launches

rural payments

The Scottish Government is inviting farmers and crofters to register for a new online system for rural funding which replaces Rural Payments Online.

The new Rural Payments and Services website launched this week and will deliver nearly £4 billion of support to Scotland’s farming, food and rural sectors over the next five years.

Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs Richard Lochhead said, “The new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), which was implemented on January 1, is radically different to the previous policy so we needed a new on-line system.

Producers can register by visiting https://www.ruralpayments.org.

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: [email protected] or call 0751445 2783.

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