Chairman's Report to AGM 2006

Chairman's Report to AGM 2006 - February 15, 2006


Welcome to the AGM and thanks to the committee for their work throughout the year. Thanks also to all our members and friends for their support.


1. Projects


1.1 Young Historians
This project was due to finish in April 2005, but we negotiated an extension with our sponsors and this enabled us to finish some work that had not been completed. Thanks to LEADER+ and BNSF for being so understanding. The financial side of the project is now complete. An inventory of the equipment bought has still to be completed.

1.2 Tolsta Bàrdachd
The Comann Eachdraidh now has a sizeable collection of village bàrdachd and I'm sure that more could be added to it. Our selection for the book Clachan Crìche was completed last October. Since then I have had very frustrating dealings with the printers and I can only hope that the book will be available for the launch we had planned for Friday 24 th February!

1.3 Local Walks (Ard Walk)
A grant of £12K had been secured from the Western Isles Country Access Programme to fund the Tolsta Walks. Angus Murray and myself had several meetings with Susan Rabe, Project Officer CNES. After our last meeting on 14 th September 2005, the Project Officer was to submit details of materials etc required to me and I could then get three estimates from contractors. I contacted contractors, who would be willing to do the work, but I was not able to progress further, as I am still awaiting the Officer's submission. NT Community Council would have to front the application for insurance purposes.

1.4 Hebridean Connections
We joined this project in September 2005. The project is Lottery funded and will run for several years. Several Comainn Eachdraidh will take part and they will access and organise materials/resources from the Historical Societies on a live website, offering an integrated approach with inter-linkages between the different materials. There will be a significant Gaelic element. Angus Murray and Alick Angus Smith will be our Society's representatives on the company, which is being formed.

2. Functions

2.1 Aig Muir
A very successful social evening for fishermen/seamen was held on 11 th March 2005 in the Community Hall. This was well attended and enjoyed by all. “When's the next one?” a question often asked.

2.2 Broadband
Donnie Morrison gave an excellent presentation in the Community Hall on 26 th July 2005. The topic was Hebridean Connections and Broadband.

2.3 Sarah Egan from Hebridean Connections gave an informal presentation to the committee on 26 th September 2005.

2.4 Uist Trip
This was an enjoyable study/fact-finding visit to the Uists on 15 th and 16 th July 2005 as part of the Young Historians' Project – staying overnight at the Creagorry Hotel.

3. Other Items

3.1 Enquiries
We had to answer numerous enquiries about Tolsta in the office, on the website and by email. I find this by far the most satisfying part of my duties.

3.2 Seanchas
We depend on Seanchas and private donations for our running costs. We print 400 copies of Seanchas every quarter and Alastair Maciver does the typesetting and Hebridean Printers the printing. There are 93 subscriptions to Seanchas, but we need more written contributions to the magazine.

3.3 Special Interest Groups
This is ongoing throughout the year. The focus was on old photos and wedding photos this year. Anna showed a selection of our wedding photos at the Launch Club Wedding Fayre on 1 st July 2005.

3.4 Membership
We now have 352 members.

3.5 Website
The website has put us in touch with a number of descendants of Tolsta emigrants. I would like to thank Donnie and Ruairidh for managing the site and Rhoda for acting as the ‘go-between' for the Society and the webmaster, Taylor Edgar.

3.6 Caidreachas
I attended all the meetings of the Caidreachas last year, but as these meetings have become too demanding for me, I would like this meeting to appoint two representatives, who will represent us at future meetings.

3.7 Skills Building
Some members of the committee are attending some of these free training courses.

3.8 Links
Mod Stall, BBC4 Documentary Some of the other duties relating to the Society included the Links Conference at Lews Castle College from 26 th –28 th April 2005, which I attended. We also manned a stall at the Mod in October 2005 and I was interviewed for the BBC4 documentary ‘Cold War, Dirty Science'.

4. Database

  AGM 2006    AGM 2005   AGM 2004
Pre- school children    32   30   32
School age children    70   64   65
Age: 16-18   11   11   7
Age: 18-59   243   244   242
Over 60s   147   140   140
Total   503   489   486
Births (in 12 month period)    7   4   7
Deaths (in 12 month period)    1   7   11
Holiday homes   14   16   13
Unoccupied homes   5   5   5

Thanks again to all those who contributed to a successful year at the Comann Eachdraidh . The adverse weather last summer prevented us from taking a sail round Tolsta Head. This is something to look forward to this year.

Donald Murray.