Workings

How the Forum will work 

After much debate and serious consideration the Working Group arrived at the basis for the Forum detailed below.

A key consideration is that it should be entirely open so as to promote wide debate, and broad consensus where possible.

Principles

  • The Forum should be as open and transparent as possible. By definition all meetings of the Forum be fully open to the public.

  • That any vehicle which allows for open, clear, face to face dialogue between major stakeholders, groups, and individuals within the community, can only be beneficial.

  • That the accountability of decision making bodies will be enhanced by such a Forum.

  • That the Forum will not be a decision making body in itself, and will not seek to undermine, replace, or circumvent the community bodies that already exist, but rather will seek to augment their democratic mandate as a source of community opinion.

  • A close working relationship with the Community Council and Community Company is key to fulfilling the Forum’s potential. The appropriate foundations have already been laid thanks to the involvement of two Community Councillors and two Directors of the Community Company, including the Chairman, as members of the Working Group.

  • In July 2017 Applecross Community Council indicated their endorsement of the emergent consultative Forum as an ‘appropriate consultative mechanism’.

  • The Forum should act as a catalyst for project delivery through the immediacy of direct stakeholder dialogue.

  • That a highly experienced Chair will maximise the potential of the Forum in the short term. We also believe that, in the short term at least, a Chair from outwith the community will help to facilitate open debate.

  • Accordingly Drew McFarlane-Slack has been invited to be our interim chair for the 4 meetings during the important first year. His past experience, which seems to fit him ideally for the role, is summarised below.

  • A local Chair may well be desirable in the longer term. This will be a decision for the Forum itself. The Working Group anticipates that Drew’s example will be helpful to any local who might be willing to undertake the role in the future.

  • Given the innovative nature of the Forum, it needs to be flexible and open to ideas that may help to make the Forum more effective. Accordingly, at the end of the first year there will be a meeting to review progress and decide how best to move forward.

Practicalities

  • The forum will meet four times in its first year. Two of the meetings will be timed to coincide with Trustee meetings in Applecross.

  • Forum meetings will be attended by at least two Trustees and their executive officer. Similarly, two members of the Forum, including the Chair, will be invited to attend Trustee meetings.

  • Meetings will be open to all but, for consistency and continuity there should be a nucleus of volunteers, along with representatives of the Community Company, Community Council, and other interested groups within the community, eg Health Care Association, Parent/Teacher council etc.

  • These volunteers will be asked to commit to attending the first year’s meetings and to keeping up to date with relevant papers, agenda, minutes etc.

  • A chair, and remunerated minutes/communications secretary will also be appointed. The Trust will meet the associated costs.

  • Agenda and minutes for meetings will be available on this website

  • Members of the community are encouraged to submit suggestions of topics for the Agenda in advance of Forum meetings.

We greatly appreciate the Trust’s support for the Forum and willingness to be fully involved in its activities. We see the Forum as an exciting and major development in the relationship between the Trust and the Community. But, above all the Working Group recognises that the success or failure of the Forum will be judged by achievements ‘on the ground’. Throughout our discussions we have been aware that the successful delivery of projects that are welcomed by a broad consensus of the Community is the ultimate goal. We believe that the Forum can play a valuable role in achieving that goal.

Jon Glover (for the Working Group)

Drew McFarlane-Slack (Forum Chairman)

Drew lives in Ballachulish with his wife and daughter. In his earlier years he worked as both a greengrocer and a trawlerman.

From 1996 – 2004 he was Chairman of the Kinlochleven Land Development Trust, giving authority to the project known as “Kinlochleven a Highland Village Reborn”, a multi-million pound project to provide a new economic future for the village of Kinlochleven in the aftermath of the closure of its 90 year old Aluminium Smelter.

He has also been Chairman of Lochaber Enterprise, Convener of the Highland & Islands Fire & Rescue Service and, for 16 years, he was a Highland Councillor.

He has a wide range of experience with respect to housing as Chairman of Highland Housing Alliance, Director of Lochaber Housing Association, and Chairman of Duneland Ltd (a development company operating within the Findhorn Foundation community).

He is currently Highland Regional Manager for Scottish Land & Estates (he will leave this position in January). With this role in combination with his various housing roles and involvement with the regeneration of Kinlochleven, he is probably uniquely well placed to understand the issues facing the Applecross Trust and community as we embark on our exciting project, working together for Applecross and its people.

 

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