Back to all blogs

Winter Update from the New Chairman

First snow on the Ben and a new Chair for the CDT Board! (these are almost certainly not linked).

We thank Alan Moffat for his time, dedication, and enthusiasm during his tenure as Chair through what has already been a difficult year - more on that presently - and wish him well with concentrating on A&E Training.

And I thank the Board for their confidence in electing me as the new Chair, so I'd like to take this opportunity to reach out to the people who give us our purpose - You! The CDT members.

In preparation for the AGM - which we intend to hold towards the end of February - there are a few key announcements I'd like to draw to your attention.

Firstly, we have secured support from PKC to develop a Community Action Plan - this will gather suggestions, opinions, and priorities from Comrie residents to inform the design and delivery of further new services and facilities - this will provide CDT with clear direction on the community's priorities, and will help with securing funding for these. I strongly suspect that the affordable housing deficit featured in the recent needs survey will be at the forefront of this.

Secondly, amongst the ongoing projects facilitated by CDT (woodland, orchard, outdoor playgroup, Men's Shed, and so on), and against the tricky backdrop of the pandemic, we have managed to get 5 of the self-catering huts at Cultybraggan up-and-running, with a successful first season pointing towards a significant income stream to help support other community benefits.

In addition, despite being similarly constrained, there has been real progress on revitalising the Camp heritage experience for visitors - again, this helps build our income, and also promotes understanding and enthusiasm for our unique asset. And all of our visitors have been delighted to find tasty treats and a cup of tea available from the cafe, initially with the fantastic help of the Cancer Shop crew, and more recently courtesy of Gerry and Mary - and still it's open Saturday to Monday, 12pm to 3pm - so, somewhere to warm up!

Less positively, this leads me to make plain the difficult financial situation we face. Although we (you! CDT) are 'asset-rich' - we own lots of great and increasingly well-developed facilities - we are 'cash-poor' in that our projected cash-flow from our developments has taken a serious knock, meaning that we are struggling to repay loans, several of which fall due in the New Year. I'm happy to take more creative suggestions as to how we tackle the shortfall but, at the moment, we face hard choices around what to cut, or what to sell.

We need a Board equipped both to tackle our financial woes and to revitalise our engagement and delivery. We need to improve on communicating how much we do, how many people benefit, and what scope there is to continue imagining and creating an even better place to live. Please give some thought to what you, or others that you know in the village, could contribute. The sooner the better.

Finally, where I have said that 'we' have achieved great things, I can't claim any responsibility - our real thanks go to our staff and the members of the working groups who, together, support and deliver so much.

Best wishes


P.S. We recently tidied up the contact information we hold for members - this highlighted some out-of-date email addresses. If you come across any members who don't receive this message, please ask them to get in touch to update their details.

If you have any queries, comments, or suggestions, please don't hesitate to get in touch, either directly to me at [email protected] or via the [email protected]

Winter Update from Jeremy Spurway, new Chair of Comrie Development Trust