There was a frank and considerably broad soul-searching episode last night at the NICE AGM in the Community Centre. Alistair Noble wished to encourage conversation about progress (or the lack of it so far). NICE will find it extremely hard to move forward until they find a new potential tenant to move into the Old Social Work Buildings – Gurnites will remember that a childcare business set to move into the Social Work buildings pulled out and headed for the Rosebank Church instead. There was much expressed too about the sincerity of Highland Council as a partner to the Community Enterprise body although Cllr Michael Green was present to attempt to soothe nerves and add some perspective from that direction. There were gloomy currents but streams of optimism too – a feeling that success is still possible and that everyone can move forward positively for the benefit of the common good. Over the next few days, if time permits the Gurn will detail some of the opinions heard last night
NICE now comprises a membership of 1065 (three signing on the night) and there were around 60 members present and 51 others sent their apologies.
Here is the Chairman’s report from Alistair Noble which set the tone for the evening’s proceedings:
“ I was going to start as a keen gardener by saying we have done a lot of spade work and soon we will be ready to plant and see things growing! But and it is a big but we as directors and a large number of NICE members have to put a lot of time and energy into developing a track record and saying we have delivered proposal x and are working in partnership with all other agencies and the blunt truth is that amount of time and effort is not producing the results we expected.
Everywhere else in Scotland and in Highland a Community Enterprise body with over a 1000 members would be regarded as a great starting point. Normally the statutory bodies would work with the charity to develop capacity and help raise extra funds from all the sources open to the charity.
Why is that not happening with NICE?
It seems amazing to me that a group of people who have a proven track record of working in many different ways for the Common Good of Nairnshire are seen as being difficult and somehow to be stopped. It will come as no great surprise that I do not think Nairnshire has had its Fair Share of resources in the boom times. I therefore will be arguing along with all of Nairnshire that we should not pay an equal share of the cuts.
To the Future then and how we make NICE work.
We will work in partnership with all agencies. The work of the combined Community Councils is helping to deliver a new Nairnshire Plan. The bypass is looking realistic at last. We will work with the HC on town centre regeneration. We are in serious discussions with other partners to help this happen. The right to buy again is important as the various schemes progress.
The harbour/river/flooding/sewage needs some serious thinking and expenditure but it has to be done. We will do all we can to make it work.
Sandown and the wetlands are again linked to the best use of the Common Good and wea rea again working in partnership to help deliver these proposals.
We have always argued that Nairnshire needs to develop and improve to compete with all the other tourist, retirement and places to live and work competition it faces.
We are helping the Nairn People and the Integrated Health and Social care services to develop the Nairnshire capacity it deserves, with a Fair share budget.
This is a time of great opportunity for Nairnshire. In thanking my fellow directors for all their hard work I would also like to thank the CC chairs and members for their input.
We need a frank discussion with our members tonight about the way forward. I look to the 2015 report for a much cheerier future."