- Inverasdale Play Park and Wildlife Garden
- Poolewe Village Hall
- Wester Loch Ewe Tourist Guide
- Naast -Gairloch Footpath
- Youth Café
- Loch Ewe Action Forum
- Poolewe Market
- Chapel of Sand of Udrigil
- Laide Jetty
Inverasdale Play Park and Wildlife Garden
For some time now there have been numerous requests locally to provide some sort of recreation area for children in Inverasdale. In 1998 LEAF/GALE built a football pitch at the primary school and this has been well used both at lunch times, evenings and weekends.
A picnic area was also created by LEAF/GALE at Midtown, Inverasdale to provide for locals and visitors to the area. We are currently working on expanding and developing this area into a small play park and wildlife garden. This project is in its very early stages but the children at Inverasdale Primary School have already decided what play equipment they would like. The next stage will be to design the wildlife area and start the fundraising. This will be a much-needed improvement to an area that has been an eyesore for a number of years.
Poolewe Village Hall
The current hall was built in 1964 to serve the communities of Wester Loch Ewe. Although the building is still in fairly good condition it is too small and basic to meet the modern needs of today`s larger community. The current building is used almost every night of the week during the winter months for local clubs and organisations. In the summer, sales of work and a local market use the hall regularly, along with summer clubs for school children and evening entertainments for locals and the many tourists who visit our area.
With such a wide range of uses and the number of local people who benefit from the facility it can truly be thought of as the centre of our community. With this in mind the local people decided they needed something better than the current hall and have now drawn up some grand ideas for a new hall.
Although this has been a long running project with many frustrations and disappointments along the way there does now seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel. We have successfully raised £373,000 toward the renovation costs thanks to the numerous donations we received from locals, visitors and a range of charitable trusts and organisations. Building work started in May 2001 and we hope to see the hall back in use in time for our New Year celebrations.
Phil Staton of Staton`s of Poolewe has worked very hard on the design of a colour brochure of the Wester Loch Ewe area. The guide gives useful information on local amenities, walks and accommodation in Wester Loch Ewe and we hope it will encourage even more people to visit our lovely area. Copies are available from most local shops and the GALE office in Poolewe. If you would like a copy of the guide please send a stamped addressed A5 envelope to Janet Miles. Anyone wishing to advertise in the guide should also contact Janet for details.
This is a lovely walk over open moorland, connecting Naast to Gairloch. LEAF/GALE signposted and way marked the path a few years ago thanks to a grant from Scottish Natural Heritage and we continue to take responsibility for the maintenance of these signs.
In September 2000 LEAF/GALE carried out a survey among the pupils of Gairloch High School to assess the demand for a youth facility in the area. The results of the survey were very informative and showed an overwhelming demand for such a facility to be established.
A small steering group was then formed by LEAF/GALE to take the project forward and consists of a wide range of interested individuals and representatives of relevant community groups and clubs. Our aim is to identify suitable premises where young people can meet in a secure environment on a regular basis. We hope to eventually employ a youth worker on a part-time basis to help identify and meet the needs of young people in our area.
We are currently looking for suitable premises for this facility but plan to use the Gairloch Community Centre in the meantime. The Centre will be open on a regular basis throughout the winter months for all young people in the area to attend. Over this time the young people will formulate ideas and put forward suggestions for activities and management systems they would like to see implemented in the Youth Cafe.
This temporary arrangement will give the steering group time to recruit volunteers, learn what type of facility is actually needed and listen to suggestions from within the community before any major financial commitments are made
Although often overlooked as a project, the actual running of Gairloch and Loch Ewe Action Forum is essential to the success of the local action and decision-making we encourage. The projects we have carried out would have been far more difficult to achieve without the project management work carried out by the Forum.
GALE is managed by a Board of ten volunteer directors and employs a range of people within the local community on a freelance basis to help with specific projects. In addition to this one full time post of Local Development Worker, is maintained by the Forum. These positions are invaluable to our community where it is very difficult to find worthwhile, full-time employment throughout the year.
We try to keep our running costs to a minimum and work as efficiently as possible so that local fundraising efforts can be spent on specific projects. It is however, becoming increasingly difficult to attract external funding for the running costs of GALE as specific projects tend to be more attractive to funders and donors than maintaining an office. Despite this the financial security of GALE is essential to the success of the projects we carry out.
We are continually looking for ways to generate income and become self-financing so that we are not reliant on grants from other bodies. If you have any suggestions that would help resolve this situation or you feel you are able to make a contribution to our work please contact Janet as soon as possible.
Throughout the summer of 2000 with the help of a grant from Forward Scotland, a weekly market was held in Poolewe Village Hall selling local craft products and locally grown/produced fresh produce. The aim of the market was to promote the sale and production of local products and was also an opportunity for local groups to carry out fundraising. Although when the market was first suggested and the idea was met with great enthusiasm it took everyone by surprise to see how popular it actually was. As a result a special market was held at Christmas and Easter and requests have been made by locals and visitors to make it an annual event.
This year, whilst Poolewe Village Hall is being refurbished the Market was held fortnightly in Aultbea Village Hall. This too has proved successful and new stallholders are making enquiries on a regular basis. Some of those attending last year have continued to support the event whilst others have generated enough business and publicity for their products that they no longer have time to attend. In addition to this GALE has received a number of telephone enquires from visitors who wish to make further purchases from specific stalls via mail order and a couple of stallholders received enquiries from shop owners in the central belt.
The market is now completely self-financing bringing employment and revenue into the area whilst supporting the local village halls. It is hoped that a part-time co-ordinator can be employed in the future to further develop the Market and promote local products but like our other projects this will be dependant on GALE securing sufficient funds to keep the Forum in operation.
The Chapel of Sand of Udrigil or Laide Chapel, stands in an old churchyard overlooking Gruinard Bay in the village of Laide. Although it is traditionally said to have been erected by St Columba or one of his followers, the character of the building suggests it was built in late medieval times (more info). Sadly the chapel has been neglected over the years and is in danger of falling into the sea. GALE is keen to see work carried out on the ruin in order to prevent further damage, make it safe for the public to visit and save it for future generations to enjoy.
A small committee has been formed in conjunction with Gairloch Heritage Society in order to co-ordinate the project and GALE has agreed to sit on this committee to help and advise in the work. Early indications suggest that the project could cost in the region of £30,000 and the local community is already working hard to raise this sum before it is too late
Due to the poor state of Laide Jetty, a users association has recently been formed to carry out repairs and improvements to the facility. LEAF/GALE has been involved in advising this group and has agreed to manage the project and help secure funding.