Ardentinny’s Village Hall Revival

At the Village Hall AGM in Ardentinny last week, one thing became abundantly clear. Namely, that the intervention at the EGM the previous August by Agnes Harvey, Guy Elder and Merle Ferguson who volunteered to stall the then imminent disposal of the Hall by caretaking it over the winter, had paid off. During that time the hall was ‘reopened for business’, allowing local clubs to return to use it and organisations and individuals to rent it for meetings and events. Minor and more serious defects in the fabric of the building were identified, the former being dealt with by Guy while quotes were obtained for rectifying the latter. Agnes, as Treasurer, dealt with documentation, the bank account and necessary payments while Merle, as secretary, handled hall bookings and correspondence and undertook a survey of residents as to the future of the hall.

Out of a total of 105 respondents to the survey 94 considered the hall to be a valuable community asset. 67 wanted it maintained as it is. Others voiced a variety of alternative uses: replacing it with a sustainable, custom-built hall on land beside the village car park with perhaps some social housing units to attract young families or even refugees, as in Sutera; to be maintained as a heritage site, e.g., museum/arts/information centre; to be used as a hostel; to be used as a pet cemetery; to be let to an approved business. With a considerable majority voting to maintain it as is, the meeting progressed in that vein.

While the annual accounts are not yet complete, Agnes reported that current hall funds stood at £16,282.37 with all bills paid to date. Mrs. J Urquhart, Accountant, has volunteered to audit the accounts, when completed.

Guest speaker, Anne Sobey, Development Manager, Community Partnership, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, informed the meeting about the forthcoming village hall summit, being held on the 27 June. She explained that, in response to a survey of all the Park’s Village Halls, they decided to organise this summit in the following way: Halls have been circulated with a pre-meeting checklist in order to establish their precise needs and which they are requested to complete and bring with them. On the day, rather than have a standard workshop, they have invited a group of experts to attend. These range from architects, professional agencies, business representatives, all with specific skills and with whom hall representatives can consult in this pop-up skills marketplace with the ultimate aim of going back to their communities with a sustainable plan for their hall’s future. A representative from Ardentinny is invited to attend and there will be Community Partnership follow-up thereafter.

Guy Elder then outlined problems with the fabric of the hall. There is a considerable problem of water ingress due to blocked drainage systems which require groundworks to clear and probably replace old clay pipes and provide an effective new drainage system. The septic tank also needs to be investigated and probably replaced to bring it up to current Health and Safety standards. Dry rot has been identified in the rafters which needs to be remedied and new damp coursing is also required. Finally, there is an urgent need for re-wiring and an upgrade of fuse boxes. The total cost is estimated at £4,200 and a show of hands was requested in support of using some of the hall’s capital in this way. The 50-strong audience gave a unanimous yes.

The meeting was then opened up for questions and discussion. It was suggested that the four community entities, i.e., The Hall Trust, The Community Council, Ardentinny Community Trust and Ardentinny Renewables Trust meet together to agree a season or year plan of collaborative fund-raising village events.

There was a complaint about lack of communication and inclusion which led to some voicing their preference to return to paid membership. There was a vote 21/13 in favour of the latter. However, it was pointed out that this was not representative of all residents who are currently and automatically non-paying members. It was also suggested that a more inclusive, non fee-paying membership may be more favourable when applying for grant-funding. It was suggested and agreed to ask this question at the Village Hall Summit and also to survey all the residents before taking a decision. Neil Robinson volunteered to write and circulate a regular newsletter to improve communication.

The current committee stood down and were proposed and seconded to return for another year. In addition another 4 came forward to join the committee which now comprises Agnes Harvey, Merle Ferguson, Guy Elder, Linda Naismith, David Edwards, Clair Tierney and Ken Walker.

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Power to the People

On Tuesday 22 May, Ardentinny Renewables Trust (ART), SCO 47215, held its first AGM in the village hall with an attendance of 25.  Douglas Menzies (Chair), Bill Tierney (Treasurer), Neil Robinson (Secretary), Rob Bray, Jeanette Reilly, Kenneth Evans and Jenny McLundie were proposed and seconded as returning trustees for another year.

The Chair reported that Ardentinny’s two hydro energy projects, operated by Hydrover are producing a total of 750,000 kw which is the equivalent of the annual electricity supply for approximately 170 homes. In addition there is the scheme operated by local farmer Ross MacArthur.

The projects are required to give 5% of Feed-in Tariff annually to the local community. Therefore ART, established to manage and distribute these funds for community benefit, is about to receive just over £7,000. Lifetime Trust membership is free to all residents (contact ardentinnyreneweablestrust@gmail.com for application details) and qualifies them to apply for Trust funds so long as the project benefits the community. Members will be notified when the funds arrive and project funding applications can be submitted. The secretary will then email members with details of the applications received. Thereafter, the trustees will meet quarterly to consider these and decide on which should succeed.

Project suggestions were invited from the floor and ranged from funding the cleaning of the public toilets; benches along the river walk; folk festivals; a play park at the beach; buying land for housing to attract young families; match funding larger projects; to investing in another village hydro project for a much larger return. 

The next AGM will be held in May 2019 and the first quarterly meeting of the Trustees will be in August. Trustee meetings will not be open to the public.



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Ardentinny Renewables Trust Membership Drive

It was reported at the current community council’s final meeting that Ardentinny Renewables Trust (ART) expects very soon to be in receipt of the first tranche of funds from the village’s two hydro energy projects.

ART secretary, Neil Robinson, said they anticipate receiving approximately £5,000 from Hydrover and £2,000 from Ross MacArthur’s project by the end of May, 2018 and that the Trust will be circulating a newsletter to all residents within the next two weeks in an effort to encourage and increase Trust membership.

Any Ardentinny resident with a community project may apply for funds from the Trust but must be a member to do so. Membership is free and how to apply for a grant will be explained at the upcoming ART AGM on 22 May 2018, to which all are welcome.

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Ardentinny Community Council

[Update 27 April, 2018]

Ardentinny Community Council By-Election – change of dates for nominations.

The nomination period is now 9-24 May and nomination forms should be lodged with the Returning Officer by 4.00 p.m. on 24 May 2018. Anyone interested in standing for election should contact the election office at elections@argyll-bute.gov.uk or telephone 01546 604331.

Community Council elections for all community councils within Argyll and Bute took place in March/April,2018, the results of which saw the majority in Cowal and Bute uncontested. However, in the case of Ardentinny, the community council remains inquorate. Consequently, a by-election will be held on 28 June with the nomination period running from 8 until 28 May closing date. It is hoped that a sufficient number of candidates will come forward to enable Ardentinny to continue to have a community council.
Contact elections@argyll-bute.gov.uk for further information.

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National Park Elections

Ardentinny residents, and therefore residents of the The Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, will have received information on the Park’s upcoming election of new Board members. Candidates need not live within the Park but must be aged 21 or over and have the support of 10 people eligible to vote within the Ward they are standing.
If you are interested in standing as a candidate to become one of five locally-elected members, download a nomination pack from www.lochlomond-trossachs.org/elections or pick one up from Argyll and Bute Council, Customer Services, 22 Hill Street Dunoon from 10 May 2018. Completed nomination packs should be returned to the Park by 4 p.m. on 31 May 2018.

In the event that more than one candidate stands in your Ward an election by postal ballot will take place. Ballot papers should arrive on or around 14 June and should be returned by post by 4 p.m. 5 July 2018.
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Glenfinart Walled Garden Easter Fun Day 2018 – Highlights

Glenfinart Walled Garden’s Easter Fun Day marked a sunny and successful start to the Garden’s open season. The sunny weather may have been a contributing factor in attracting large numbers to the event but, once there, fun activities and attractions were in abundance.

The fun kicked off with an Easter egg hunt followed by egg and spoon races and an Easter Bonnet competition. In addition the kids enjoyed egg painting, seed planting and throwing a pot with resident ceramicist, Bill Williamson. Meanwhile the adults shopped at a variety of stalls, enjoyed a live performance by Clair Tierney and were nourished in the Tea Tent and Burger Bar all within the stunning surroundings of Glenfinart Walled Garden and Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park.

The day’s success was made possible by the tireless efforts of Ardentinny Community Trust, its energetic group of volunteers and generous donations by Cooperative Food, Morrisons and i-rent (Argyll First). The garden is once more open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays 1-4.30 pm. and at other times, by appointment. For enquiries or requests to visit the garden contact Anna on 01369 810238 or any other Trustee. Email sec@glenfinartgarden.org and follow us on www.facebook.com/GlenfinartWalledGarden and at www.glenfinartgarden.org.

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Ready for the BIG day!

The stage is quite literally set for Glenfinart Walled Garden’s Easter Eggstravaganza. Thanks to all the volunteers who have worked hard over the past weeks to bring the garden back from its winter hibernation. Special thanks also to the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park volunteers who gave up their Saturday to drive many miles to help out at the garden. A special mention also to the event sponsors.. Coop Food, Morrisons and i-rent (Argyll 1st). Thank you for your contributions. There’s lots to do for all the family plus some great music on the new stage!

Easter Fun Day kicks off at 1pm on Sunday at Glenfinart Walled Garden. We hope to be streaming the event live on the Ardentinny.org Facebook page.

Helpers and National Park volunteers on Saturday

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This Sunday – Easter Fun Day @ Glenfinart Walled Garden

It’s free entry this weekend to Glenfinart Walled Garden as Ardentinny Community Trust host their popular Easter Fun Day. With lots for the family to do including Easter Egg Hunt, Egg & Spoon Races, Easter Bonnet Parade along with LIVE music, it’s a day not to be missed. The fun starts at 1pm on Sunday!

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Stronvochlan B&B 1931

The photograph above was taken at “The Bothy” Stronvochlan, circa 1931. This appears to be the house that is now known as Ambleside Cottage, Ardentinny.

Ian MacPherson-Blane who kindly provided us with the photograph, describes the scene.. “The man in the doorway was the cook for the Bothy and looked after whoever was staying there, gamekeepers or forestry workers. The three children in their bare feet in front of him are my mother (Margaret MacPherson) and her brothers Donnie and Jackie. The three well dressed children with shoes are the holidaymakers who were staying at Seaview (now “Keeper’s Cottage”) where my mother’s mother would look after them. Probably the forerunner of the bed and breakfast industry”.

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Garden volunteers dig in for April opening

With the help of local volunteers as well as a group from Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park, Glenfinart Walled Garden, Ardentinny got an early spring clean last Sunday. The new season kicks off on Sunday April 1 at 1pm with the very popular Easter Fun Day. Entry is free.

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This work by ardentinny.org is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 UK: Scotland.