Since the NICE meeting on the 12th October, we are pleased report that membership now exceeds 400. Associate membership is proving to be an attractive option for Community Councils and other groups. Auldearn and East Nairnshire Community Councils have joined and it is hoped that others will follow. The Association of Nairn Businesses has also joined as Associates. The Directors are delighted with the response from the community and the support that has been shown.
The old social work building and the site of the old Community Centre are now on the market. The NICE structure offers the Nairn community a real chance to transform the town centre and retain car parking that is vital to support a thriving High St. A Town Square that is attractive and inviting will support jobs and the local economy. The Board have formally submitted a “note of interest” with the vendor and advised them that NICE is engaged with the Community Assets Branch of Scottish Government in the preparation of an application under the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 to register the right-to-buy under the legislation. However it may be possible to negotiate the sale without resorting to Right to Buy legislation.
Local Councillors have in principle expressed support for some of the NICE initiatives and have advised that funding opportunities are likely to exist under a new Community Challenge Fund. It is the intention of Highland Council to, “work with Community Councils and other community organisations to encourage community empowerment, and will introduce a Community Challenge Fund of £1m of recurring expenditure to support community projects which explore new ways of delivering services at a local level“. Another councillor has expressed a desire to increase the Nairnshire capacity around staff and try and see a return of positions that have trickled away to Inverness in recent years.
NICE invites all residents to support this community effort by becoming members. Sign-up forms can be found on this web site or at the Service Point, Community Centre, Library or in one of the local shops. The goal is to achieve a membership of at least 1400.