Ardentinny Community Trust Ltd. held its AGM on Friday 22 July, 2011. It appears to have been a packed year for the Trust’s Walled Garden sub-committee which stacked up various meetings with Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE); Development Trust Association Scotland (DTAS), of which it is now a member; Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO); and Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS) and its independent panel of advisers. There were also seminar and conference attendances in Campbeltown, Blantyre, and Ardfern and knowledge and skills exchange visits in Rothesay and Haddington.
In the interim it prepared a successful application, which included its first draft business plan, to FCS for the community purchase of Glenfinart Walled Garden, in accordance with the expressed wishes of Ardentinny residents. It also prepared and submitted grant funding applications to the Co-op Community Fund; Trusthouse Charitable Foundation; Highlands & Islands Enterprise (HIE); Awards for All; and LEADER.
It has already received initial grants from HIE and Firstport which, having to be spent before the end of the last financial year, secured the cost of conveyancing and other legal services and the purchase of a poly tunnel, in preparation for the garden’s first cash crop. There has also been local fund raising with a regular stall at Ardentinny’s weekly open mornings at the village hall and at Kilmun Flea market. Local artists have been very supportive of the project, donating their work in aid of the charity and Pauline Gordon, the Trust’s Treasurer, reported a current walled garden bank balance of £4,038.22.
There are further fund raising plans for a garden party in September; a raffle; guided historic walks from next spring; a bag packing day at Morrisons on Nov. 26th; a cello concert in December and a Variety Concert in Dunoon in January 2012. The committee also has plans to sell its own line of EWE products which will be well designed, locally produced, arts and crafts which can be taken to markets locally and further afield and the Trust also plans to publish a History of Ardentinny and Glenfinart which should go on sale next spring with all profits going to the walled garden charity.
During the meeting a proposal was made that the Trust hold open meetings every two months in order to raise awareness of the work being done, further advertise the project, and hopefully attract more donations and/or loans. This was agreed. In accordance with the Trust Constitution, all the Directors stood down and the following were elected to the Board: Dennis Gower, Pauline Gordon, James Gordon, Merle Ferguson, and Anna Williamson get no credit check loans . Officers will be elected at the next Directors’ meeting.
It is also the intention of the Board to appoint three more directors with specific skills necessary for the project. In addition to the Board, there are plans to appoint a part-time, self-employed project development manager supported by grant funding. The Trust’s updated Glenfinart Walled Garden Business Plan will soon be available on its website www.GlenfinartGarden.org. This 22 page document grew out of the Trust’s initial village survey and continuing consultations. It is also intended to reflect its subsequent research and work in trying to deliver, not only the purchase of this community asset but to incorporate as many as possible of the community’s requested uses and functions of the garden in a viable and sustainable way. Plans, being what they are, are adaptable to changing needs and circumstances and it is hoped that the immediate and wider community will engage in taking this exciting project forward.