Gairloch and Loch Ewe Action Centre (GALE) is a community-owned and managed charitable development company in Wester Ross.
Its key aim is to develop and improve the way of life and standard of living across the Gairloch and Loch Ewe area.
GALE’s approach to achieving this end is three-faceted, with a range of community projects and activities, a tourism information service and a shop all pulling in the same direction.
GALE works with local community groups and volunteers to develop sustainable community projects that tackle important issues within the Wester Ross community, such as improving the social life, the local economy and the environment.
A digital photography project aimed to help people find “a creative route to living a full life”, while a supported volunteering scheme gives people with special needs the opportunity to get involved with local community action.
Some of their projects are one offs – carried out to completion while others are ongoing and may last for many years, being managed and developed by GALE for the benefit of the local community. These projects include:
Community Markets: GALE has been running community markets since June 2000 with the aim of providing an outlet to sell and an opportunity to buy locally-made products. Since then there has been a growing interest in local and regional products. Combined with environmental concerns and increasing awareness of food miles, these issues have contributed towards the growth of the local economy.
They now run three markets across the area: Gairloch Community Market; the Local Produce Market; and Aultbea Community Market.
Tourist Information Centre: Free information and advice is available to around 20,000 visitors each year through the GALE Centre’s Information Point. Books, guides, maps and leaflets are produced and displayed as well as signposting services to an array of local activities, such as fishing, walks, boat trips and attractions. Local businesses are offered a range of affordable advertising opportunities to help them reach potential customers.
Volunteering Opportunities: GALE provides volunteering opportunities for local people with varying support needs, providing weekly volunteering placements at The GALE Centre.
Typical activities include serving customers in The GALE Centre shop, serving tea and coffee at the community cafe, restocking leaflet displays for the tourist information service and carrying out a range of administrative jobs such as typing, posting letters and printing documents.
Community Shop: GALE runs the only community owned and managed shop in the Gairloch and Loch Ewe area. The aim of the shop is to provide a permanent outlet for local people to sell their products and, in many cases, launch new product ideas. It also creates valuable year-round local employment opportunities for both the shop staff and for those who supply the shop with their locally made products.
The shop generates vital funds for GALE with all profits made in the shop being used to fund new community projects or subsidise their existing work. The shop is currently situated in Gairloch Tourist Information Centre and is open 7 days a week.
For further information, contact:
The GALE Centre
Wester Ross, IV21 2BH