Think FRESh, think Fintry

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Fintry is the village in Stirlingshire. The Development Trust there has a windturbine. The community are doing some amazing things; tackling fuel poverty, insulating and other 'community based' activities.

The most amazing thing about the place is the people. On the evidence of meeting a number of them; surprise surprise; they're normal. They worry about jobs, their kids, and all the general stuff we all do. However, where they are different is this.

They have collectively got off their butts and put together an event which is about passing on knowledge. On Friday 9th and Saturday 10th March, you can come along to see a varied menu of goodies. There will an interesting tussle of words and movie clips between an ice cream magnate and land activist in a 'no holds barred' debate refereed by a TV celebrity. Al Gore will be there, on film. You can visit and touch wind turbines. Local people who are living with bio mass, heat pumps and solar panels are throwing their doors open for a wee nosey, if you like. It's all free and gratis.

If the weather is half way good then it is a stunning part of the country; convenient for all the main Scottish towns. For my part, I will be going along expecting to learn something, meet some great people and generally have a fine old time. Hope to see you there.

Johnstone Credit Union and the future




It was a real delight to get to meet the members of the Johnstone Credit Union this week. I went down to attend the AGM and got a warm welcome from everyone. Whilst there, I recorded a couple of podcasts.  This first one was a happy coincidence, because Dave Simmers of Community Food Initiatives North East and Scottish League of Credit Unions delivered the keynote talk to the 70 strong audience. He agreed to a brief interview and I also spoke to a few volunteers. You can listen to the result here. 

Listen to Dave Simmers and the JCU Tellers


More local heroes

Dundee 2012

Only teasing. Lesley and I took a trip out to Dundee and went around the Discovery. Both of us were blown away by the quality of exhibition at Discovery Point. We have stayed across the Tay from this exhibition for a number of years. I guess, like locals, we didn't bother to step across the threshold. But with '100 years of Scott' looming this year, we made the effort. From the explanation of the whole Scott story, the role of Dundee, a real live boat and lots about Antartica; it was interesting and well laid out. Good timing too, because we went off to see our Prosen friends, Jeannie and Hector, who are involved in the Glen's monument for Scott and Wilson. And then, today, we learnt Malmaison have signed up for the Tay Hotel. ( In the meanwhile, 'Table table' at the Discovery Quay is a top noshery. ) The hits keep coming.

If Hospitality and Tourism is to play a big part in Scotland's economic development, then great products like Discovery Point have got to be the norm. I'm off to review it at TripAdvisor.

The loan arranger in Fife

Fife Credit Unions
Anyone who knows me will be familiar with my enthusiasm for people doing 'stuff' at the community level. So, I was delighted to meet Susan Dryburgh, who is Fife Council's Credit Union Development Officer. Standing in the new banking hall at the Kingdom Credit Union in Glenrothes, the place was buzzing. From the cheerful volunteers manning the tills through to the customers opening accounts; it's terrific to see 'a community bank' making its way. I recorded a short interview with Susan and went over some basics about credit unions. Bottom line; if you can seek out and join your local credit union - you'd be doing a good thing. And Susan says it more nicely.


Listen to Susan Dryburgh talk about the Kingdom Credit Union


Delegate Power

Right at the end of the "Doing it well" workshop, I jumped in and grabbed four delegates; Alison, Peter, Ewan and Julia. I put them on the spot as I quizzed them about their thoughts about the workshop. They were quick to point a variety of different lessons, each relevant to their own situation.

Pretty impressive when you consider, I was unannouced and standing between them and lunch!

Listen to the Delegates Session Feedback

Local Finance options and bakeries

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Philip Revell of Sustaining Dunbar was part of the team that delivered the Local Finance options including Community Shares workshop at the CES Training Day. In particular, he was able to talk through the experience at Dunbar which involved community working capital and a bakery. Some very interesting parallels and a good introduction to what is required, if you are thinking about 'community shares'.

Listen to Philip Revell Sustaining Dunbar

The experience of Udny

Brian McDougall from Udny ran a training workshop on the subject of "Governance" at the CES Training Day. Brian is a subject matter expert with both commercial and practical project experience. Over coffee, Brian laid out some excellent guidelines and clever strategies for dealing with money related issues. He also had some sound advice about community engagement.; backed by real world examples. If you didn't make his session, then this short interview gives you the highlights.

Listen to Brian MacDougall Udny