Residents of Point and Sandwick are being asked to give their views on how the profits from the Beinn Ghrideag community wind farm should be spent.
The results of the consultation will help Point and Sandwick Trust (PST) shape its next five-year investment plan.
Members of the Trust, wherever they live, are also being asked to give their views as part of the community consultation which is now live online here.
There is a second questionnaire to complement the community survey and it will be sent directly to recipients of grants from Point and Sandwick Trust, about the impact these grants have had on their organisations. This will form the main part of a social impact review.
Point and Sandwick Trust have engaged the services of consultants from Impact Hub Inverness to carry out the social impact review and community consultation over the coming months, to find out how local causes and organisations have benefited from investment from the community wind farm. They will then be drafting a community plan for the next five years, outlining the next series of spending priorities.
Donald John MacSween, Point and Sandwick Trust general manager, said: “We are looking forward to hearing community views about how we delivered our first five-year community development plan, and especially their views about the next five years of community investment.
“These are uncertain, austere times, and PST will be there to help. We are not here to fill gaps in the funding of statutory services but we can, and will, make a difference with our three turbines and we remain ambitious to harness our abundant renewable resources to directly benefit our community.”
He added: “We are very fortunate to have engaged Impact Hub Inverness, who are recognised experts with years of experience in the social enterprise business field. We are also fortunate that we have had solid community support from our beginnings 15 years ago and I hope the community will take this chance to help us formulate and deliver the next five year plan.”
Norman Mackenzie, chair of Point and Sandwick Trust, added: “This consultation is an opportunity for all of our stakeholders to have a say and help shape the future direction of Point and Sandwick Trust’s investment in our community.
“I think that our community grant scheme has proved to be a great help to local groups and it has made a significant contribution to social cohesion and wellbeing within our community. I have no doubt that this form of community support will continue to be central to our activities but, from a personal point of view, I also think we need to consider how we can invest for the future.
“I would urge everyone taking part in this consultation to make the most of the opportunity to make their views known and inform directors as to the type of community investment and support they would like to see PST be involved in over the next five years.”
Two previous in-depth consultations were undertaken by Point and Sandwick Trust, in 2009 and 2013, resulting in the Point and Sandwick Trust Community Investment Plan, now nearing completion. The new plan is due to be presented at the Annual General Meeting in November.
Pictures show Polly Chapman and Brian Weaver of Impact Hub Inverness and Beinn Ghrideag wind farm.
Pictures by Sandie Maciver of SandiePhotos.