HSCHT’s AGM and Annual Conference is taking place in Inverness on Friday 8th September.
We are excited to announce that Kate Forbes, MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, will be our Keynote Speaker at the event. Many of our members are from communities in Kate’s constituency and we are delighted Kate has agreed to speak at our flagship event.
Please sign up for your place at www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/hscht-agm-annual-conference-tickets-35695244437
Our Rent to Buy Scheme is one of four projects who have been nominated for a Rural Innovators Award under the Housing category.
Our spokesperson Ronnie MacRae has said “We are delighted that our Rent to Buy Scheme has been nominated in the Rural Innovator Awards 2016. The main benefits of the scheme is that it is viable in many communities and it is based on loan funding rather than grant funding making it work in any economic climate. As a pioneer of innovative housing models this is one of the ways in which we can help and support families and our rural communities to thrive”.
The Rural Innovator Awards are run by Scottish Rural Action and seek to recognise and showcase some of the most innovative and effective ways in which rural challenges can be addressed. It will be awarded to a project, person or organisation who is improving life in rural communities by tackling one of the priority challenges.
Other projects nominated in this category include:
Scottish Rural Action National Coordinator Emma Cooper said “We are very excited to be able to start accepting votes for the Rural Innovators Awards. Some incredible and inspiring projects were nominated for the awards in this category and shortlisting was a challenging task. We would encourage people to have a look at the shortlisted projects on our website and choose the project they find most innovative and inspiring. The awards will be presented at the Scottish Rural Parliament in Brechin”
You can vote online at http://www.scottishruralparliament.org.uk/get-involved/ria-2015-16/
Voting closes at midnight on the 18th September 2016.
Winners will receive a paid-for place at the Scottish Rural Parliament 2016 on 6-8th October 2016 taking place at Brechin Community Campus in Angus and will have the opportunity to present their project to delegates.
We will be holding this years AGM in the Town House, Inverness. The event, sponsored by Triodos Bank, will begin at 9.45am on Friday the 16th of September and will run until about 2.30pm. This years event focuses on community led initiatives, and will feature a number of presentations from the likes of HIE, Ekopia, Laggan Community Trading Company and others. We will also have exhibits from Triodos, Carbon Dynamic, HIE and Woodland Crofts. See the full programme below.
All welcome, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 01463 233549 to let us know you're coming.
Earlier this month HSCHT attended the Social Enterprise Summit at the Kingsmill Hotel in Inverness. The day was a great success, with a big turn out from representatives from social enterprises of various backgrounds. There was also a variety of speakers throughout the day.
Below Morven Taylor discusses the event, and some opinions on the topic of social enterprise.
For more information on the Social Enterprise Summit – Please go to http://www.socialenterprisesummit.org.uk
Social Enterprise must move on from grant funding model
One of the common causes we found when talking with other organisations at the recent Social Enterprise Summit was the need to establish a sustainable business model.
Like The Highlands Small Communities Housing Trust, many groups we talked to had been set up thanks to grant funding, and in many cases have received further grants to keep going. But the whole idea of social enterprise is that it works as a business model, not because it wants to make a profit but because every group wants to ensure its continued, independent existence.
Everyone at the summit had a cause they are passionate about, something they work towards every day because they believe it provides an important benefit to others in the community. In our case, that is the provision of high quality, warm, suitable housing for those that live and work in small Highland communities.
Even without companies or private sellers and landlords trying to make a profit, housing is an expensive business, so there are few opportunities for us to make a surplus without impacting on the very people we want to help. That’s why we are increasingly thinking of secondary businesses we can set up that will turn a bit more of a surplus, while still helping to work towards our core cause.
This was a popular approach among the other social enterprises we met in Inverness at the summit, and we have picked up many ideas and sources of inspiration. One of the best thing about these offshoot businesses is that they often cater to social causes that other third sector organisations also subscribe too, meaning that links can be forged and we can keep money within the social enterprise family by buying services and even goods from each other. This helps us all get on a more sustainable path, and at the same time expands the range of services being offered here in the Highlands and Islands.
We at The Highlands Small Communities Housing Trust are used to focusing on sustainability in the homes we build or help others to build, but it is equally important to ensure that our organisational model means we will still be here to help the next generation find a suitable Highland home, and the one after that too.
This blog will feature a wide variety of HSCHT’s developments and types of projects located throughout the Scottish Highlands. It will also include the latest news and updates regarding the trust.