It has been a great year for Coastal Connections, though we did have to adjust our plans a bit to tackle the cost-of-living crisis and Covid recovery.
We have been working closely with Zero Carbon Moray (ZCM) and their plans for community energy – they had a second great energy fair in Elgin Town Hall and have been visiting small towns to chat to people about community energy needs. They are working with people like Energy4All, UHI, tsiMoray, and Community Energy Moray. ZCM believe that one way of tackling fuel poverty is to start producing community energy and using it to cut the cost of energy. This is a long-term goal and they are just starting.
Like many – the community response to the cost-of-living crisis was to set up warm hubs in 3 communities along the coast: Burghead, Hopeman and Spynie. We raised some money for the heating and asked Hopeman Community Bus to help with transport to the spaces.
What we are hearing is that this was a beautiful project that evolved, like many, to become a social hub bringing people together to have soup and chat. Being able to meet up and see people is very important and this was a real help over the winter. They are taking a break this summer but there are activities every month that are continuing until December. There have also been day trips using the Community Bus, the next one is to Loch Ness!
We have a new project worker who is starting to work with the Hopeman Community Bus to help develop its plans to tackle travel inequalities and social isolation. The bus was successful in helping with the Covid response and getting people to GP appointments along the coast. Now they are working on projects that will help people of all ages get together.
Hopeman is hoping to have a democracy day based on the successful one in Burghead earlier in the year where the community can have their say in what the Community Council might discuss.
The Burghead Selkies have been trying to get better access to the beach for people especially those with mobility challenges. The council has agreed that something needs to be done and the Community Council and the Selkies are helping them see what might be done.
Keep an eye on our blogs for more updates on the exciting things happening in the Moray coast.
This work is happening thanks to an award from The National Lottery Community Fund, made possible by National Lottery players.