Action Note of Fort William and Ardnamurchan (Ward 22) Lochaber South Ward Forum held on Monday 29 August 2011



Present: Councillors Donald Cameron, Michael Foxley, Bren Gormley, Brian Murphy; Ballachulish Community Council; Kinlochleven Community Trust; Roslynn Newman, Active Schools Nether Lochaber; Will Ferguson, Kirsteen Hine, Leven Centre;  John McGilp (Headteacher), Kinlochleven High School; Justin Richards, 2 Lochs Project; 4 members of the public.


Officials in attendance: Dot Ferguson (CE); Bob MacKinnon (P & D); Simon Jeffrey (ECS); Donald Leitch, Georgina Morrison (West Highland College); Philip Leckie (Skills Development Scotland);

For Action
Chief Executive’s (CE)
Education, Culture and Sport (ECS)
Finance (F)
Housing and Property (H & P)
Planning and Development (P & D)
Social Work (SW)


Listed below is the action required as a result of the decisions/discussions taken by the Lochaber South Ward Forum at their meeting held on Monday 29 August 2011 in the Leven Centre, Kinlochleven.


Please arrange to take the required action on the basis of this Action Sheet.

1.  Welcome and apologies – Ian Jackson


2.  Action sheet from 27 June – noted


3.  Community Safety update


Inspector Donald Campbell updated the meeting with regard to local issues.  Local staffing changes have now been implemented with the new Area Commander (Ch Insp David Bushell) taking up post as of 29 August. There has been a slight decline in the detection rate to 59% for Lochaber and Skye.  Overall recorded crime has dropped by around 5%. 


Police continue to be proactive in all areas and a court case regarding significant drugs offences will now be heard in October/November.  With regard to road safety, there is a continuing campaign to meet the demands of increased numbers of people in the area and to reduce accidents.  The camera van will now be based in Fort William and additional sites are being identified for its use.   Serious road accidents and fatalities are slightly down on last year, but there has been a small increase in the number of collisions. 


Street League football has again worked well this year with the final being played on 10 September at the BA Park.  All community councils were encouraged to contact Insp Campbell if they are not getting police representation at their meetings. 


Speeding in Ballachulish was again raised as an issue, but speed surveys indicate the problem is not as severe as perceived.  The Community Council has indicated its wish to see pincers installed in Albert Road, not speed bumps.  Cllr Gormley will write to the Director of TEC Services about this matter as well as to explore a 20mph restriction for the area.


4.  Training for Work


Presentations were given by Bob MacKinnon (HC Employability Team); Simon Jeffrey (HC Area Youth Development Officer); Philip Leckie (Skills Development Scotland) and Donald Leitch (West Highland College UHI). 


In ward 22, there are currently 172 people claiming Job Seeker’s Allowance of which 30 are aged between 18 and 24.  Around 370 people will be subject to re-assessment for readiness for work.  All of the speakers referred to the excellent partnership working which exists between the organisations and with Jobcentre Plus.  Projects attract a range of funding from external sources including EU funding and deliver a wide range of client centred services, helping to overcome barriers and working with employers to create opportunities etc.  Local funding is going into areas where there are pockets of higher unemployment. 


Skills Development Scotland works closely with the other agencies offering a wide range of help and careers advice.  The service is moving to more web-based help and from Wednesday a new service will be launched which can be accessed at:
Within Lochaber there are around 250 school leavers each year with latest figures indicating that 95% are going on to a positive destination (training, further education or employment).  Within Lochaber, 20% of school leavers (almost double the number from a few years ago) are now going on to further education, largely due to the presence of WHC UHI.  Activity agreements are now a key part of support for young people and is a plan of learning and activity which an advisor will help a young person put together, so that when they’re ready they can move on from this to further education, training or employment. It can include volunteering, short courses, supported learning and practical experience including work experience placements.
West Highland College UHI outlined the activity carried out by the College and referred to the excellent working with the schools.  All information is contained on the website -  Funding has been achieved to continue delivery in the rural areas, more use of the rural Learning centre is encouraged for people wishing to access UHI courses.


The following issues were raised:


-there is currently no assistance to travel to work, but there is help available to travel to interview.  In some areas, communities are hosting a register for car-sharing which helps to cut costs / emissions
-if a community wishes to start a footpath construction project, there needs to be an organisation / people interested in this and willing to become involved.  Skills used may then need to be accredited.  Some funding has been made available for footpath works.
-it was acknowledged that there is a lot of confusion about where funding for training can be accessed.   Willy Roe has recently completed a review of how Scotland's post-16 vocational education and training can support people into work and help sustain them in productive employment – the review can be accessed at
-young people in the area had also put forward a number of written queries as follows, which will be answered fully by all the agencies:


•They would like that each pupil sees the Careers Officer at the end of 4th year and during 5th year.
•More Taster Courses were available for students to get ideas of what they might like to do.
•Work Experience Week – that the school had more links with local businesses so that there was a wider spread of opportunities for work experience.
•They felt the school is doing a good job of sign posting pupils into the right directions and giving good support.


-Work experience is invaluable for many children, but issues around risk assessments need to be resolved. 

5.  AOCB


-Mini-recycling centre, Ballachulish – still investigating area of HC/Transerv yard for recycling facilities.

-Toilet facilities, Kinlochleven – very strong concerns were expressed about why the public toilets were closed and moved to the Ice Factor as part of the Highland Comfort Scheme.  It was agreed that a meeting would be held between Members and the Leven Centre to discuss the matter further.

-Street lighting trials – concern was expressed about the lack of consultation prior to the trials being implemented.  Tenants with concerns were encouraged to write to HC Street Lighting section as soon as possible.