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Chairman’s Report to AGM



Last year, I was able to report some progress for the first time in quite a while and I am pleased to say that, once again, progress has been made in the past twelve months; quite significant progress, in fact.

Having decided to renovate the old generator shed – just a shell of four walls – and secured funding to cover the cost of materials the work was done over eight weeks in the early part of the year and we now have a usable, weather proof shelter on site in addition to the two composting toilets.

The website has been kept up to date and we have had a few new members join us. We will, of course, continue to try to grow the membership and seek support for our work from individuals and organisations. The continuing interest and support from Forestry and Land Scotland is very welcome.

In addition to the generator shed refurbishment, the past year has also seen some significant activity on site. As before, we are indebted to Tom and Sarah Whelan for cutting the grass on site thereby saving us a huge amount of work. We are also indebted to FLS for arranging the removal of huge quantities of the brash left over from the tree felling a couple of years ago. We have also organised two separate events which have significantly improved the site by planting a large number of trees; thanks again to FLS for providing the trees, planting equipment and expert instruction and supervision. Some general tidying up was also done. A fair bit of work remains to be done here but we are getting there!

We have also made progress on one of our primary objectives, that of involving the local community more with activities on site. In cooperation with Lisa McDonald of Haven House Arts, we have staged a number of events. Two family painting days were very well supported as were a couple of evening forest bathing and meditation events. More events are already planned for next year.

We have also had some success in attracting funding for our long term plans for the site. We now have funding for the cost of material to construct a camp kitchen on site and I expect this work to be carried out in the Spring of 2024. I am also delighted to be able to report that we have secured significant funding towards our main objective of providing a permanent building on site to support all of our planned activities and it is now our firm intention to put a building on site during 2024. The building of choice is a 6m diameter rotunda with a part veranda and we will be moving forward with a ground survey to check the suitability of the preferred ground screw foundation system and with an application for planning permission.

In conclusion, it is very gratifying indeed to finally have significant progress to show for all the work that has been done in the background and to have a vision of where were going in the next twelve months which is, I believe, realistic and achievable.  Finally, as always, I would like to thank my colleagues on the Board over the past twelve months for their support and for all the work they have done and to wish next year’s Board even more hard work and just a bit more success.