Our Annual AGM was held on November 12th and a summary of 2019 and plans for 2020 are set out in the slides below.
As trustees of the Arran Community Land Initiative we know the issue of deer management engenders strong feelings in some local community members. This was clearly reflected in the discussions at our recent AGM. Our 75+ acres of land border Forestry Scotland land and, in common with adjoining areas, deer are increasingly visible on it. Managing them is complex, but must be done – however, there is no easy solution that will satisfy all those affected by what takes place on the site.
The trustees held in-depth discussions in order to come to a decision about deer-management and consider that we exercised due diligence in doing this. We considered the feasibility of fencing the entire area but the costs were outwith our budget. We looked again at our primary aims and purpose; these include outdoor based education and recreation and the enhancement of biodiversity and carbon capture. Our land must be as safe as possible for the adults and children who regularly take part in activities on it. If the land is to be used to grow produce, native woodland and biodiverse plants, these need to be protected from devastation by wild animals.
We consulted The Scottish Government’s Code of Practice on Deer Management (2012) which applies to any land, public or private, where wild deer can be found. This mentions, amongst other things, the significant risk to public health by direct exposure to deer carrying Lyme’s Disease bearing ticks. The National Code also encourages co-operation with other landowners and this is taking place; Forestry Scotland is the primary landowner in the South of the Island as well as a member of Arran’s Deer Management Group. We have therefore asked that our acreage be included in their deer management measures which mean that these will be continue to be undertaken in a professional way.
We understand that some people hold strong views on this subject but we believe we have taken the only responsible decision to both comply with the Code of Practice and for our continued custodianship of the land.
Summer 2018 has been ACLI’s most productive yet! With volunteer days held every Thursday, successful open days, and school groups visiting to help out during term time, the community gardens have been bustling with life. Below are photos which highlight the success of this summer!
Groups from Arran High School and Whiting Bay Primary School have enjoyed learning and helping out in the community gardens, despite the often unpredictable weather that Scottish summers bring.
Thanks to Whiting Bay Primary School P6/P7s who have planted 70 native trees and looked after the veg patches as part of their John Muir award!
We had a fabulous day with 140 pupils from Arran High School and teachers with loads of teacher-led activities to get stuck into!
A tea party was held in the Community Hub, for Contact the Elderly!
Our open day on the 5th of May involved informative talks with visiting Apple expert, John Hancox, camp fire cooking and herb box making!
The open day on 28th July was busy with members of the community getting involved in activities such as ‘dig your own’ potatoes, camp fire cooking, den building, an Arran Bee Group hive demo, as well as relaxing strolls around the garden, allotments and orchards!
Arran Farmers’ Show
ACLI’s stall at the Arran Farmers’ Show attracted lots of attention from both visitors and locals. Luckily the rain stayed off until the afternoon, so the show was busy – a great opportunity for people to learn about the project.
Spot Cleo, one of our Trustee’s dogs, manning the stall!
Volunteer Days and Garden Produce
Below are some photos of our weekly volunteer days, and some of the bountiful produce harvested from the community allotments and poly tunnels this summer. Veg has been available throughout the summer for purchase at the hub building. We would like to say a massive thank you to all of our dedicated volunteers, allotment holders and trustees, and last but definitely not least – our modern apprentice Kieran, and two gardeners, Matt and Darren. Here’s to many more years of community involvement and local food cultivation!
For further information, photos, and updates on events and volunteer days please visit our facebook page:
There is also a short video available of the ‘Go Green’ event at Arran High School