Sunday, December 09, 2018

Common Good Fund notes from the Borders that may be of interest to the many serious students of these matters in Nairn

We've got a link for you folks, it isn't a long read when you get there but it centres on what sort of things go in a register of assets from the historical standpoint. Here it is. 

Thursday, December 06, 2018

Team Hamish "saddened that precious common good funds have been spent undertaking yet further consultations..."

Readers may have seen the previous article this week, available here: "Explosion of support for Team Hamish on popular Nairn social media pages as public anger grows towards Highland Council over their attitude to the award winning organisation."  The Gurn had understood that Team Hamish had been concerned for some time about the attitude of Highland Council towards their project and finally went public with their frustrations. 

Today the Highland Council published a press release in connection with their own Links consultation which they have budgeted 15K of Nairn Common Good Fund cash for. In the light of recent developments the Gurn asked Team Hamish for comment on today's press release from Highland Council. They told us:

"We are saddened that precious common good funds have been spent undertaking yet further consultations when the community has made their preferences clear on a number of previous occasions.

Additionally we believe the community would have welcomed transparency and open dialogue regarding the formal procedures to be followed in making such critical decisions when enhancing the town."

Here is the Highland Council press release from earlier today:

Another successful consultation event was held at the Nairn Community and Arts Centre on Saturday 3rd December where it was confirmed that the draft outline plan put forward at the first event held at the Community Centre in November met with broad approval, as did the proposed projects to deliver the plan. 

Nick Wright, consultant, said: “Throughout, this has been a positive process with very good levels of community engagement and lots of consensus about future priorities for the Links, keeping the natural character whilst updating what the Links has to offer, with an emphasis on local organisations working collaboratively with the Council. Almost everyone who came to the event was comfortable with the projects put forward, and with the suggestions of who would be involved from the community and the proposed next steps to start delivering the projects."

What has emerged, as well as strong support for improving the area around the Paddling Pool and James Cafe in collaboration with all interested parties, is a widespread desire for new facilities to blend in with the natural setting of the Links. Another main priority is improving accessibility across the Links and particularly to the beach.

The consultation is moving into the concluding phase and the final report is now being prepared. The Council intends to set up a meeting in January with key potential delivery partners who have emerged from the consultation process to enable early action to agree delivery on the ground on a project by project basis. The clear message from the local community is to ‘make things happen’.

Area Chair Councillor Tom Heggie said: “On behalf of the Nairnshire Councillors I would like to thank the people of Nairn for their enthusiasm and input to the consultation process. I have received several very positive reports from groups who were consulted and they have remarked on how carefully the consultant listened to them. We are now awaiting his draft set of proposals which will be discussed with a range of stakeholders. This will allow the final proposals to be ratified at the March meeting of the Nairnshire Committee.”

Contact the Elderly - Nairn tea parties to combat lonliness

Guests and volunteers from a group aimed at overcoming loneliness marked a new beginning with a special event at Nairn’s Golf View Hotel.

Contact the Elderly, which combats social isolation among older people through tea parties, usually meets at a local volunteer’s home. But last weekend the charity celebrated the re-launch of the Nairn group with a luxury afternoon tea at the hotel – and issued an invitation to others in need of company to join them.

The charity organises monthly, free tea parties all over Scotland for older people who live alone and don’t have the chance to get out and about much and socialise. Transport is provided by volunteer drivers who chauffeur guests door-to-door.

The Nairn group had been temporarily in abeyance but is now fully up and running again and looking for more guests and volunteers to join the party.

Caroline Peter, Contact the Elderly Support Officer, said:

“We’re thrilled to have the Nairn group running again as it’s such a great opportunity for an older person in need of a bit of company to meet like-minded folk in a friendly and relaxed setting.

“It might just be a chat over a cup of tea and some cake but for some people who are socially isolated from the community it can be a real lifeline of friendship. The difference it can make to someone living alone is immense. 
“We know that the thought of meeting new people can be quite daunting but the atmosphere is always really friendly and welcoming.

“Our drivers get to know the guests and can strike up real friendships. It’s just a lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon and the hosts and drivers get as much enjoyment out of it as the guests.

“We’d be delighted to hear from anyone interested in joining our parties as a guest or volunteer driver or host in Nairn.”

To find out more about becoming a volunteer or guest with Contact the Elderly in Scotland, please contact Caroline Peter on 01561 405011 or

Christmas Concert - proceeds to Team Hamish - Drumossie Hotel Tues 11th December 2018 7.30pm

It's that time of the year again! The Terribles are dusting off their jingle bells and getting ready to shock & delight the good people of Inverness and area at their annual charity Christmas concert.
The event of the year is on Tues 11th Dec at 7.30pm in the Drumossie Hotel, Inverness. A cheery mix of show music, light classics and Christmas singalong.
Tickets £8 at the door or book on 01667 453507.
All proceeds to Team Hamish.

Swan and Duck update, six years on from the formation of a Trust

More on the Simply Superb Swans site. 

Could Jumble Sales make a comeback in Nairn? A vist to the Nairn CAB fund-raiser last Saturday

It was great fun to have a rummage around the varioius bits and pieces laid out in the Nairn CAB office on Saturday. This observer managed to find an unused flask to take the place of his  metal one that has mysteriously given up retaining heat after several years. Such is the serendipity of jumble sales. It was fabulous  to get back into a retro jumble haggling situation for once. Many folk will remember jumble sales, will we see more? The only downside is that someone has to take away what is left over and store it somewhere etc. 

Anyway, good to visit the CAB fundraiser and have a blether with some of the volunteers who give their time free to help anyone with a problem. Sadly, they are needed more than ever as there are an increasing number of people with problems, financial and otherwise and it doesn't look like that situation may diminish in the near future. Universal Credit and other factors such as the cost of living are continuing to have a major effect. Well down the volunteers for doing all they can to help those in difficulties. 

The CAB are still in the process of sorting out multi-agency funding to move to a more suitable  bespoke premises with facilities to receive clients in a much better way and space for those who have no choice  but to bring their bairns downtown with them when they seek help with problems. The Gurn understands that the CAB may soon launch a crowd-funding initiative - every penny given to this essential facility will be money well-spent. Merry Christmas to all the folks at the CAB and thank you for all your hard work for our community!

Slideshow in pictures below and individual images here.

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Explosion of support for Team Hamish on popular Nairn social media pages as public anger grows towards Highland Council over their attitude to the award winning organisation

Lots of comments coming in on the article below which has been posted on the Team Hamish facebook page and also on the popular Nairn pages "Nairn our town, our views" and "Nairn Rocks".  It looks like Highland Council have succeeded in upsetting an entire community. Why do they always have to be like this towards Nairn? 

Nairn BID make first appointment

The board of Nairn BID have made their first appointment. Janis MacLean has taken up her role as the new Nairn BID Manager. Janis works on a part-time basis and will work from the BID office which is located upstairs in Nairn Community & Arts Centre.

Following a recruitment process led by Chair Michael Boylan and Vice Chair Peter Gibson, Janis has now started her new role. Janis brings a range of skills to her role as manager and looks forward to working together with the local community and Nairn's businesses, to rebuild Nairn’s reputation as a vibrant town for all.

Previously, Janis has worked for the Highland Military Tattoo at Fort George, as sales & marketing manager, working with the team to promote the Tattoo throughout the Highlands. Janis would collaborate with tourism operators, local businesses, schools, event organisers and the hospitality industry, to forge relationships which would inevitably benefit all concerned, building on marketing, sales and sponsorship opportunities.

Janis also has experience of working in a similar role to that of a BID Manager, having worked for a community owned and managed charitable development company. Its key aim was to develop and improve the way of life and standard of living in the local area, working with a range of community groups and volunteers to implement a regeneration strategy, which would develop sustainable projects that tackle important issues within the community.

Janis also supported the initial project team for Nairn BID and has also owned her own business so therefore understands the challenges that can be faced by many small business owners. She hopes that by working together, Nairn can build upon its existing strengths and make our town a must-visit destination to shop, live and visit.

Chair of Nairn BID Micheal Boylan said “this is an important appointment for Nairn, one of the biggest benefits of having a BID is the resource it brings to support local businesses and groups. The role is part time and is supported by the commitment given from the board of directors and other partners on the local community”

You can contact Janis by e-mail on or drop into the office. As her hours can be varied, please either call, message or text first. Her contact number will be available later this week, which will be publicised on here and on our website.

Islamaphobia incident - thougthful editorial in the Nairnshire Telegraph this week

Nip out and buy the Leopold Street Thunderer this week folks there is a very well thought out editorial about a recent episode described on a scottish radio station. Iain Bain reflects on that and the treatment that Hardhip Singh received from a heckler at the Nairn Festival in 2017. That incident was met with a wave of support for Hardhip, I hope there is a similar reaction from some of our civic leaders perhaps to the lady who received this appaling treatment and was, after all, simply a visitor to our town - and we want as many of those as we can get. 

Here's a description of the incident in question, someone has put an extract from the programe on a soundcloud file.

County Youth policy in action - Nairn U20s 1 Lossie U20s 0

A couple of short videos from the second half at Station Park last night.

Monday, December 03, 2018

S2S plans no more

Meanwhile in Angus worried retailers getting desperate after a month of parking charges in small town communities

Here at the Gurn we believe the current situation with parking charges in the Angus towns (introduced at the start of November) is a good indication of how things will pan out in Nairn if Highland Council go ahead and impose parking charges on us. It's a parallel universe that awaits us next year. 

Here's a close up of what the posters say.

Links Development Consultation - a flying visit on Saturday on the way to the football

This observer attended the Links consultation held by Highland Council in the Community and Arts centre at 14.30 on Saturday afternoon. It looked pretty good, with a huge map on the floor, pictures on the wall and information posters for you to look at and some buttons to put in a plastic jar for whatever really tickled your Christmas fancy. Pictures below.

Individual images here

We had a bit of a blether with one or two folk, including some of Santa's little helpers who had just finished another busy shift downstairs at the Nairn Play Christmas fair. Here it all was before us, the ultimate Nairn Links Christmas wish list. This observer bottled it however (the lure of Station Park and Nairn County versus Deveronvale at 15.00 was beckoning), handing my button tokens (invest in your Links dreams currency?) over to Tom Heggie who was in situ with his three colleagues.

We understand from what Tom Heggie had to say at a recent Nairn River Community Council meeting that this consultation is wide ranging, has included Team Hamish, schools, etc, etc. 15K of Common Good cash has been set aside for consultation. It all looks top of the range and will be online too we were told. Here's hoping whatever people want doesn't get left on the shelf with all the other reports and plans that have come and gone over the years. It was evident from the River CC meeting that there are different ideas about where the money will come from with a school of thought that Team Hamish cash is the only game in town while Peter Saggers believes that the Common Good could possibly make contributions and Tom Heggie speaking about the eventual resulting framework accessing other funds.

Meanwhile the award winning Team Hamish plan certainly seems to be raising Nairn's profile out there in town planning world.

Meanwhile in Angus a month after the introduction of parking charges - more evidence of how parking charges damage small communities

A local store in Brechin  has posted a picture of a town centre car park at 10am on a Saturday morning. Brechin has a population of 7,199 Nairn has 9,773 - live, up to date evidence that parking charges damage small towns. 

Sunday, December 02, 2018

Nairn Play Christmas Fayre - Pictures

Good once again to see all the fun and activity at the Christmas Fayre in the Community and Arts Centre on Saturday.

Individual images here

And when Highland Council get parking meters into a town it seems that they show no mercy – Fort William told they can't have two hours free parking for Christmas.

A previous link on the Gurn demonstrates how Elgin (under Moray Council) have an initiative for free parking for Christmas. Obviously the corollary from that is that parking charges are a big factor in the decisions people make on where to do their shopping, especially at Christmas. That article here. 

There was a similar initiative proposed in Fort William recently for two hours of free parking but it didn't have a happy ending, the Area Committee Chairman, Cllr Ben Thompson, is quoted in the P&J:

“We would like to support our own High Street retailers over this Christmas period. Even with six weeks of two hours free parking, Fort William would still be contributing about one third of all the money raised in the Highlands through parking.” 

Another paragraph from the article states “Mr Baxter announced his resignation from Care, Learning and Housing (CLH) committee after council bosses told him the local committee he also chairs had no right to offer two hours free parking in Fort William in the run-up to Christmas.” 

Saturday, December 01, 2018

Local MP Drew Hendry's and other spearkers views on "Brexit , Independence and Workers Rights"

Drew Hendry MP and other speakers gave their thoughts on the topic of "Brexit , Independence and Workers Rights" last night in Inverness at the Thistle Inn's Mayflower lounge. The meeting was organised by the Amal Highland Branch of the Communication Workers Union. Here's what Drew had to say and below the video links to other speeches made last night that are now available on the Gurn's Youtube pages. 


Gurn opinion - So free parking is needed to attract Christmas shoppers in Elgin - says it all about parking charges really - Nairn parking is free this Christmas, let's keep it that way and at every other time of the year too

Community spirit shines in successful search for missing boy

Friday, November 30, 2018

"How would community level democracy work?" Podcast discussion from Common Space - very topical for Nairn's situation?

Those regular readers who pay particular attention to the democratic deficit that Nairn has suffered for some time in the local government sphere may wish to pay a little attention to the podcast below, where CommonSpace editor Ben Wray speaks to Common Weal head of policy & research Dr Craig Dalzell about the think-tank's new paper on restructuring local democracy titled 'Development Councils - A Proposal For A New System Of Local Democracy In Scotland'.

The full report can be found here. 

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Petition to keep Lovat Lodge open

There is a petition on calling on the Trustees of Lovat Lodge to keep the facility open. Stephanie Pottinger who started the petition states on the petition's webpage:

"My name is Stefanie and I’m a Social Care Worker. I have stayed at Lovat Lodge twice accompanying adults with physical and/or learning disabilities. I believe there is no other place like this, where the staff and facilities are so brilliant. For this to close without attempting to save it would be very sad indeed."

Scotlands Towns Design Competition...and the winner is Team Hamish!

A great boost for Nairn with the fantastic result for Team Hamish. 

Sam Hey of #TeamHamish stated of the result: "We are absolutely delighted to have received the most public votes. This is such an honour, particularly when we see the high quality and thought that has gone into the development of the other shortlisted ideas. 

When we established #TeamHamish, we had two principle aims: to create a legacy for our son who’s life was cut tragically short; and to create places and spaces that could be enjoyed by the Community of Nairn who have supported us with so much love throughout Hamish’s journey. 

As our ideas developed, it soon became evident from the way that #TeamHamish was embraced that we had the opportunity to make a really positive impact on people’s lives from a truly devastating situation. 

Winning the Scotland’s Towns Partnership FutureTown Design Competition through a public vote has really bolstered our confidence and allowed us to take another step towards making our ideas a reality and achieve our goal of creating wonderful places and spaces for the benefit of the Nairn’s Community and its visitors".  More from the Scotland's Towns press release here.