Village SOS Case Studies
This report will set out five example case studies detailing community projects that have received support through the Village SOS programme. This will aim to give a flavour of the kinds of groups who have benefited from assistance and the form this support has taken.
Isle of Rum Ranger
The position of ranger is vital to the environmental, economic and cultural wellbeing of the Isle of Rum. The role encompasses the monitoring and protection of the island’s natural habitat and wildlife as well as overseeing practical management and tourist liaison services during the summer months. Recently, the island has been undergoing a period of change: 2009 and 2010 saw a phased transfer of land around Kinloch from Scottish Natural Heritage to the Isle of Rum Community Trust – an exciting opportunity for the community to shape the island’s direction. However, the future of funding for the ranger position has become uncertain and it is therefore the Trust’s priority to ensure this role is protected.
Trudi Clarke, the current ranger, was anxious to explore the possibilities of alternative funding and contacted Village SOS to help with the considerable task of funding research. We spent time digging out the most applicable sources of grant funding, providing Trudi and the Isle of Rum Community Trust with a number of bodies who support both salary and infrastructure funding, with a particular environmental focus, and ensured the Trust had all the relevant information to make informed and focused applications. We also connected the Trust with an experienced funding mentor who is now providing on-going support with applications and ensuring that the group has a point of contact should any problems arise.
The Advisory Group
The Advisory Group is a Glasgow-based charity working to improve the lives of with those with learning difficulties. The charity contacted Village SOS to see if it would be possible to fund a Community Development Worker post based in Invergordon, Ross-Shire: the aim being to kick-start the joining together of a small café, a community garden and an arts space in the town. The Community Development Worker would bring these separate ventures together – providing food for the café from the community garden and directing customers towards the arts space for exhibitions and sales of work. By working to maximise the potential for The Advisory Group’s clients to become involved with these projects, the charity aims to ensure that individuals in Invergordon and surrounding areas are able to boost skills, socialise in the community and perhaps develop their CVs in order to approach paid employment.
This is an exciting undertaking that addresses the need for both community services and assistance for those with disabilities in the Easter Ross area. Village SOS worked to identify funders with a particular focus on community cohesion, arts development and the promotion of disability services in more isolated areas. The Village SOS role came primarily in removing the burden of extensive funding research from the charity, providing a report with clear advice and instructions for focused applications and the most relevant bodies to approach.
The Nigg and Shandwick Community Council
The Nigg and Shandwick Community Council came to Village SOS with a unique problem – Nigg is situated on one side of a small ferry crossing and the surrounding community feels they are missing an opportunity to make the most of this popular tourist route. While ferry times are posted on a sign at the pier, strong currents and bad weather can often interrupt the service leaving passengers waiting in Nigg for a ferry that could be up to an hour late. Initial plans were for Village SOS to examine the viability of constructing a small tourist information hub and coffee shop; however, with no planning permission or suitable site in place, other options were explored.
Village SOS research identified readily available technology that would allow for a simple and cost-effective tracking of the ferry and for live updates to be displayed on a website and through a smartphone app. With this in place, we liaised with Tain Royal Academy, the local secondary school, who got on board to help with the coding and design of the app. The Pocket Mariner GPS service was connected with The Nigg and Shandwick Community Council and the technical terms involved in producing the app were spelled out in plain English. The app development is well underway with the aim of releasing a finished product in time for 2016’s summer ferry service.
Garrison House – Cumbrae
Garrison House in Millport sits at the centre of the island of Cumbrae and provides a number of attractions for visiting tourists. Following a fire at the house in 2001, major renovations have been taking place. The manager of the house and estate, Michael Bertram, approached Village SOS for help in identifying the best way to go about developing the pond area of the grounds in order to reinstate the pond, provide a play park and generally increase the house’s tourism facilities.
Village SOS have provided Michael with a clear action plan detailing appropriate steps to tackle the re-generation work and have connected the project with an experienced civil engineer to work alongside them as a mentor. Michael now has an enthusiastic and highly knowledgeable ally on-board and a point of contact should he hit any stumbling blocks as the work progresses.
Black Isle Cares
The Black Isle has an ageing population and a notable lack of services for elderly people (the last residential care home on the Black Isle closed in 2015). Black Isle Cares is a group of committed Black Isle residents who want to ensure that the area’s elderly people have access to the care and support they require in old age. As the Black Isle covers a large and mostly rural area, challenges exist in reaching elderly residents effectively to communicate updates and availability of new services.
The Group approached Village SOS to help facilitate an ideas session and to work on the completion of a business plan. We visited the Black Isle and sat down with members of Black Isle Cares to discuss some of the most pressing issues and to put together a clear action plan to increase their profile in the area. This led to the provision of a business plan that could be easily adapted to meet future needs and implemented in forthcoming funding applications. Following this work, the group has been working with a Village SOS mentor to fine-tune their plans and to put in place some the the marketing and communication suggestions that came from the ideas session.