“All it takes is a small group of committed people to change the world” – Margaret Mead
Local advertising for the Better Conversation Bus Tour and the public meeting in Lochinver has been great. As a result, John and the team were kept busy most of the day meeting groups and individuals in the area, having conversations about local issues and challenges, and engaging the real potential in and around the area of Assynt. The evening public meeting was the best attended so far and felt really productive.
What struck us again is how much work is done by volunteers in the communities we have visited. Partly, this is a consequence of the reduction in public services, which is a reality for most communities in Scotland, and is acutely felt by people in small rural communities who feel somewhat left to their own devices. Specific examples included poor signage on roads into Lochinver, closure of the Post Office, the imminent closure of the tourist information centre, and lack of access to cash due to the closing of the local bank and a broken ATM.
The consequence of this could be a community in despair, but that is not what we found. During the day we were met by people who try their best and work hard for their community. People with ideas and visions. Visions that became clear during the public meeting. This also drew out a common theme of ensuring better community collaboration and more effective use of resources to create a community that is supportive and caring, inclusive and welcoming, happy, energetic, and sustainable.
Leaving Ullapool now after another successful meeting and moving on to Gairloch.