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Welcome to the Scottish Community Land Network

This site is for people interested in the management and ownership of land-based assets by communities in Scotland. A Scottish Community Land Network, you might say... As you know the internet is a big 'place' with everything about anything so we brought you relevant news and events, and provide opportunities to share ideas with other people interested in this subject. There are almost 1000 members, and more than 800 articles in our archive.

 

Scottish Community Land Network will not be kept up-to-date after March 2012. However, a new site is being produced by Highlands and Islands Enterprise, and details will be published on this site as soon as they are available.

The most recent articles are available on the home page - previous articles are in their relevant topic areas (browse the 'Topics' menu on the left).

New Job, New Home, New Friends

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On the fabulous Facebook page of a certain community land network, generic viagra ailment I was alerted to a job advert: “Development Officer Post”.  Sounds interesting, I thought.

But I’m still doing an MSc in Sustainable Rural Development, I have to travel to Aberdeen for classes every Monday.  “An energetic and self motivated individual to act as a catalyst for innovative and sustainable community development” ... sounds like me ...  Lectures finish at the end of May, and then I just have the dissertation to go.  I can write that anywhere, I thought.  I thought it would be good experience to go through the application process; I might even get an interview, and that too would be good practice for future interviews.  To my surprise and delight (and a little shock) I didn’t just get an interview – I got the job!

So I handed in the last of my coursework, attended my final lecture, said tearful goodbyes to friends and colleagues, packed in my job at the Citizens Advice Bureau, packed anything I could fit around the furniture I begged, borrowed and bought (from charity shops) into a van, and set sail for the largest of the Small Isles at the beginning of June.  Three months to write a dissertation seemed generous, particularly when it’s on a topic close to my job: the challenge of providing affordable housing in remote rural areas.

rum_ponyA low-level panic has set in as the three months are being steadily eaten away, and there are so many other things to do more interesting than reading government policy documents and sweating over a laptop screen.  Things like climbing the lovely pointy hills and seeing how far I can see; cycling to the other side of the island and hanging out with the ponies; planting things in my new garden so I can have fresh salad and vegetables I grew with my own muddy hands; loitering in the woods to watch the birds and listen to the stream...

Then there are all the new people to meet, all so different but with the same friendly open attitude, making me feel as though I belong here, as though I’ve always been here but just went away for a while.  I’d never been here before I was offered an interview, and thought I better go for a day trip with a friend to check the place out – it rained all day and everything was closed, but it was kind of beautiful all the same.

It’s very different to working at the C.A.B. and giving advice on Employment Issues and Discrimination (for almost two years) or Welfare Benefits (for the latter 7 months).  However, once upon a time I was a Youth Development Officer, and it’s not so dissimilar to that – just on a much bigger scale.

Taking over a job someone else has left is often tricky, and everywhere I go I’m welcomed as “Dave’s Replacement”.  Yes, but I am also a person in my own right.  This comment was recently told back to me in a Knoydart pub – oops – “she’s a feisty one” is probably what they’re all saying about me now.  I love that everyone knows who I am and where I’m from, and I love knowing every single person around me.  I never felt this way in Inversnecky.

There’s still a feeling of optimism and hope following the mysterious transfer of assets from SNH to the Community Trust which was completed last year; also perhaps a sense of people having got more than they’d bargained for.  Suddenly it’s not enough to just live here and get on with your life, you have to make decisions, plan and strategise, and maybe not everyone’s going to like those decisions, plans and strategies.  You can’t please everyone – but I love that we’re trying to.

Priority one has been agreed: a housing plots policy has been drafted and is out for consultation.  The vision is already there.  The planning has been done.  The land is ours.  What will we build first?  And with what money...?

Rum_from_eigg

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