Development Diary 07.07.19

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What an amazingly good but also inspiring and clear thinking week we have had. We started the week in the Thurso Community Development Trust office by celebrating the events of the weekend with our Climate Challenge Funded project, Thurso Grows launch in spectacular sunshine at the Community Garden last Saturday. We enjoyed fabulous local food, met new people wanting to get involved and enjoyed the sunshine. The garden has been a hive of activity all week with gravel and soil getting delivered.

The week ended with the picture above, an event we were very much looking forward to attending. On Saturday a North Highlands Development Trust meet up was held in Brora. 25 people, 14 Trusts represented and such positive energy in the room. Some of us are more established than others. We would still consider ourselves newbies and no where on the scale of others but some of the Trusts who attended are in very early stages. Yet, there was something to learn from all from the energy to make changes in communities by just attempting this rollercoaster life that is community development to looking towards earned income and being sustainable. A range of diverse projects were discussed that we are all carrying out and many of the issues we are dealing with such as social isolation, taking over community assets (buildings and public toilets) and transport issues are all very similar.

A key element that I have taken away from the day is the need to involve young people in our work. Over the course of the last 18 months I’ve consulted with young people through a variety of ways from visiting Thurso Girl Guides to more latterly speaking to young ones at Thurso Youth Club and Thurso High School. The message from most is very clear and quite pertinent to me at the moment as my Daughter is shortly leaving Thurso for further afield. Young people in Thurso generally feel that there is a lack of opportunity here for them. In one particular consultation I was involved in not one of the young people I spoke to thought that they would be able to remain in Thurso or Caithness to pursue their chosen career, despite many of them wanting to. A comment was made yesterday by David Watson from Kyle of Sutherland Development Trust that the aim should be to not just create jobs through our work as Development Trusts but to create careers. Coming from I do with firstly a call centre then arts background before being able to complete a degree in Sustainable Development right here through UHI and now in a career of Community Development, we do have the opportunities here to create those type of careers, but these maybe non conventional paths need some promotion and some joined up thinking. With opportunities such as UHI, increased digital connectivity and encouraging creative industries alongside community development there is no reason why not, and definitely one for the drawing board.

In the meantime, it is now back to planning, planning and more planning and getting all the consultation work we have completed into a really solid plan for Thurso community development over the next few months. Our AGM date has now been set as 26th August 2019 and I will be putting the finishing touches on an annual report ready for it over the next couple of weeks.

So that’s this week, oh one more thing, want a sneak peak of the front cover of our first edition Community Magazine? It is (fingers and toes crossed) heading to the printers, this week!

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