Letter: Isle of Gigha Heritage Trust replies

Elaine Cameron and Amy Wilson in Achamore Gardens.

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Sir,

I would like to take this opportunity to respond to the article  in the Campbeltown Courier on September 8, based upon the complaints of a disgruntled visitor.

I feel it would be helpful if our local media could be more supportive of the efforts of community led organisations such as the Isle of Gigha Heritage Trust.

The Trust faces enormous challenges in developing sustainable business models to ensure that people can enjoy a good quality of life in the places that they call home. The alternative is to contribute to the depopulation of Argyll and Bute by leaving for jobs and housing in the cities.

It is not an easy task and we are doing our very best in difficult circumstances.

There are valuable lessons from the work that we do that other communities in Kintyre could learn.

The fact that community ownership can be both enormously empowering but it is also an enormous responsibility that requires difficult decision making.

Currently we are planning a  Greener Gigha initiative, winter mini-festival commemorating the Kartli disaster, a new campsite and improvements to holiday accommodation.

We don’t attempt to gloss over our problems but we would much prefer that they are communicated constructively.

Returning to the specific subject of Achamore Gardens and Mr Wallace’s complaints, the text below is from a post I made on the Isle of Gigha Heritage Trust website.

It is specifically about the status of Achamore Gardens. It demonstrates the spirit in which we are approaching the future.

Many of you who have visited Achamore Gardens recently will have noticed that nature has been competing with us humans and mostly winning.

The Isle of Gigha Heritage Trust, owner of the gardens, is soon to be adding to its staff to help bring things back into order.

We are actively seeking funding to not just restore Achamore, but to take it forward for future generations.

Please be patient with us. We are a community owned island and have many priorities to focus on, such as the provision of affordable housing, farming, heritage and culture.

As with all charities resources are limited – we are doing our best. Please support us – and if you must be critical, offer us pragmatic solutions as well. We will listen.

In the meantime, even on a wet and windy day like today there was much beauty in Achamore Gardens.

Live in the moment, open your eyes to the smallest of gems of nature – you will be richly rewarded.

 

Elaine Morrison,

Trust Manager.

Isle of Gigha Heritage Trust.