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Welcome to the KCF forest blog!
17th December 2014
In conclusion to a great crowd fund!
In conclusion to a great crowd fund!
In conclusion to our ‘Sponsor a Sapling’ crowd funding campaign, we would like to thank all our supporters, contributors and partners (namely Hot Tap Media and social media gurus, Lindsay Wrapson and Danielle Burks) for helping us raise £1,710! This is a fantastic achievement and will help hugely towards establishing our tree nursery and eventually regenerating the Kilfinan Community Forest native woodland, for the purpose of renewed public amenity, access and recreation. As a community group and registered charity, fundraising is part of the job; however this is our first crowd funding drive, and what fun it’s been! Hot Tap Media have been great to work with, demonstrating a sound and consistent understanding of our key aims and values, and for anyone looking to crowd fund to raise money for a particular project, they are the team to help you do it! Our social media team have also been instrumental in raising our profile, having established useful connections with other groups and communicating our message to our core target audience and further afield. So, for everyone who has contributed to this fantastic campaign, THANK YOU! We will be sending out certificates electronically in time for Christmas, with exciting perks (picnics, forest tours, woodworking courses, tree dedication and hand drawn cards) to be delivered from early next year.

1st December 2014
Christmas meets Cyber Monday
Christmas meets Cyber Monday
It’s finally beginning to look a lot like Christmas, and the countdown has begun. Are you as excited as we are?

If you haven’t already heard, we’re trying to raise money to reforest an area of native woodland which was badly damaged in last winter’s storms. Guess what - you can help us to do this AND buy a Christmas pressie for the tree-lovers in your life!

How about making someone’s Christmas super special and personal by dedicating a tree to them? For £75 you can have a sapling planted in the native woodland, to include an engraved plaque, mounted onto hardwood and sited by their sapling. In time for Christmas, your loved one will receive a certificate of tree dedication with a special message from YOU! Alternatively, has your loved one ever expressed a desire to learn the art of wood working? We’re running a special Cyber Monday deal TODAY ONLY, where, for £100 you can buy ‘two for one’ on a woodland workshop, which will take place next Spring. From green wood working to furniture making, this practical course will teach you everything you need to know. Sound good? Take advantage of this offer today only!

On the subject of Cyber Monday, we have some further offers… why not exploit these and put the finishing touches to Christmas. If you’re still stuck in the Black Friday – Cyber Monday haze, we have a special LIMITED deal that is available for today only. So how about it – 3 for the price of 1 on our Saplings (you can even name them!) for just £20 if you’re not wanting to break the bank this Christmas! Don’t miss out on our special Cyber Monday deals that will end TONIGHT; go to our sponsorship page for more info.

We will be at the Kames Festive Market this Saturday, 6th December, 10am-1pm at Kames Village Hall; this will be a brilliant opportunity for you to buy someone something really special this Christmas as well as getting into the Festive Spirit! We hope to see you there!
10th March 2014
The Hydro Blog
Willie McAllan (KCFC Director & Treasurer) updates on progress to establish our own micro-hydro scheme.

Renewables Timeline

2005 - renewable energy identified by community consultation as a key objective of the Kilfinan community.

2007 - the Kilfinan Community Forest Company (KCFC) was established as a registered Scottish Charity to buy part of Acharossan forest from Forestry Commission Scotland.

2008 – The purchase of the forest is agreed and the Acharossan Feasibility Study identifies renewable energy as a potential source of income which could be used to fund forest development and employment.

2010 – 127 hectares of Acharossan Forest is purchased on behalf of the community (amid much celebration!). Renewable energy planning begins in earnest.

2011 – Carbon saving schemes and awareness raising are put in place

2012 – Wind and hydro power investigated. Feasibility studies into wind and hydro were undertaken. The hydro study showed viability of a micro-hydro (66kw) scheme on the Allt Mor burn with an estimated annual income of £52,000. However, estimated costs are in excess of £400,000 mainly due to need for access road and the management of planning and environmental permissions.

2013 – Wind energy data showed that a turbine would have marginal viability at the present location of the meteorological mast. A new road is constructed from the KCFC office base to the Kilfinan Way easing access for hydro installation. The KCFC directors take on the task of securing the planning and environmental permissions.

Present position (February 2014)

Permissions: We have now achieved the required environmental and planning permissions and received preliminary accreditation from Ofgem; SEPA have issued the abstraction licence; the export agreement has been granted by the District Network Operator (SSE); and the planning application to Argyll & Bute Council has been granted subject to a satisfactory archaeological survey of the pipeline route.

Archaeological survey: This will be conducted by Argyll Archaeology in May/June 2014. Local people will be able to participate in the survey either as field volunteers or as researchers. Archaeological training in feature recognition will be provided.

Capacity has been revised upwards to 75kw and annual income of £62,000

Construction costs have been pared down to £160,000 because KCFC has done much of the pre-construction work in-house.

Pipeline: the pipeline will follow the route of the Allt Mor and be buried so there will be minimal visual impact

Noise: a noise impact survey has confirmed that it will be virtually silent in use.

Contractors: we are in negotiation with potential contractors

Finance: the final hurdle is to finance the scheme. Discussion is taking place with potential lenders who support social enterprises. We anticipate needing at least 50% of the hydro income to service the loan.

Future: If everything goes smoothly construction and installation will take place over the summer and we will be generating clean, renewable electricity by Autumn 2014.

We will update this blog as new information / changes become known. In the meantime please give us a ring if you have any questions or drop us an email.
27th February 2013
Proving our worth as a community forest
Nikki Woolf, who’s just joined us at KCF, gives her initial thoughts on why a community forest should engage with its local public at all stages of development…

The way I see it, the purpose of a community forest is in the title – a place for the local community to go; somewhere that provides recreational facilities, not only to attract local residents but also visitors to the area. If you look at community forests across the country, each has its own facilities and amenities, each with its own management structure and different income streams. The ultimate community forest would surely be one with a ‘go ape’ style adventure park, kids’ playground, an endless supply of dry, seasoned firewood, nature trails, cafés, garden centres, and so on.

However we all need to start somewhere and, in my opinion, while future gazing is important, so is practical thinking and making the best use of the natural resources you have. It would be great to be able to create something out of nothing, but appropriate funding is also crucial. However this is only part of the challenge. In my opinion it’s the community that decides if the project is worthwhile, so winning public confidence is surely just as important. What we as a community forest need to remember is it’s you - our local community - who will be using our facilities and buying our forest products; ultimately you will determine the viability of the forest and the overall success of the project.

We also need to remember that the only way to win public confidence is to keep you, our community, consulted at all stages of the project. This means holding public meetings, inviting you up to volunteer, seeking your views, and engaging you in what you’re doing. Here at KCF we actively seek community feedback on our plans, because we realise there’s no point in going ahead with something if we don’t have local backing. It is your forest, after all. That’s why we’re delighted with the local interest and active involvement we’ve received following our recent plans to create a recreational and learning centre within the forest. The 50 plus volunteer hours that have gone into clearing the circular pathway running from the car park to Victorian Falls are testament to the positivity surrounding the project.

Our ultimate aim is to create a real community resource, where people of all ages and from all parts of the community, as well as visitors, can exercise, relax, learn and celebrate, such as running educational woodland workshops with local primary school children. As part of this we will be developing new trails, creating more pedestrian access points into the forest, erecting squirrel and bird boxes, providing new picnic areas, creating new information and display boards, installing a bicycle rack, and improving public car parking facilities. We will be holding an official open day in June this year, where we’ll be showcasing our new recreational area and demonstrating useful woodland skills. We hope to have a good turnout - more details coming soon!
29th March 2012
Planting for the future
Planting for the future
The 17th March was a gloriously warm and sunny day and KCF was delighted to welcome volunteers of all ages who had come to help plant 800 pus baby trees as part of the Woodland Trustís Jubilee Woods Project.

After a quick motivational pep talk from Sara Maclean and a cuppa to fortify them, our willing volunteers headed off to all four corners of the site to start planting.

Amidst much light hearted banter the planting went on for a couple of hours before folk started to feel a bit peckish and downed tools to avail themselves of a soup and sandwich lunch. We may ask our volunteers to work hard but in return we make sure they have a delcious and filling lunch and that day was no exception - with Spicy Bean Broth or Leek and Potato soup on offer, plus yummy filled rolls followed by tea and biccies, the teams were soon re-fueled and set off for round two of the planting. By the end of the afternoon a phenomonal amount of wee trees had been planted or potted up, and everyone was feeling tired but satisfied.

Many, many thanks to all who helped out on the day and a big íThank Youí to the SSE renewable Team who travelled far and worked very hard - youíre a bunch of stars! Hop on over to the gallery to see more pics of the event.
More Details >
16th March 2012
Cook vs Compost!
Cook vs Compost!
Saturday 3rd March saw the wonderful Composting and Food Waste event at KCF. An amazing day of cookery demos and a second, fascinating composting workshop.

It all kicked off at 11am in the polytunnel with Alison Sykora of the Real Food Consultancy showing us how to make the most of our left overs from the fridge and how a bit of imagination could turn bits and bobs into a meal for for a king or queen. There were amazing smells, lots of tasting and even the sun came out to play!

After a quick, nutritious and delicious soup íní sandwich lunch, Ron Gilchrist expert composter and vermiculturist from Greenway Consulting continued the day with a workshop on worms and using our kitchen scraps to create the most nutritious soil for growing our own food.

So after tackling the problem of kitchen waste with a two fold approach - cook or compost - there was still time for a lively Q and A session and even pudding! There are more lovely images of this great event over at the photo gallery. Roll on the BIG Community Tree Planting Event on March 17th!!
More Details >
23rd February 2012
All roads lead to...
All roads lead to...!! This picture may look like a lot of old mud - it is, in fact, people, the new school path, cutting it’s way through the woods behind the school, creating a new and ’forest-y’ way’ for local kids to get to school. Funded by the Climate Challenge Fund, work on the path has been progressing rapidly, so rapidly that it doesn’t even look like this anymore!

Watch out for further updates over the next few days with more pics and more news on how the new path is progressing!
19th January 2012
Bit of a Blustery One!
Bit of a Blustery One!
Whew - the New Year certainly got off to a dramatic start. Trees down, roofs blown off, electricity and phone lines kaput! There was a fair bit of windblow damage in the community forest so there will be a bit of clearing up to do - however, the amazing Polytunnel withstood a gale force batttering and none of the portacabins blew away - so not too bad in the grand scheme of things.

Anyhow, Happy New Year to you all - look out for some exciting events coming in the spring and lots of updates about your amazing Community Forest.
21st December 2011
Xmas is coming!
Xmas is coming!
Having weathered the storms and the snow in the past few weeks, we find ourselves winding down for Xmas on site. Mince pies abound plentifully washed down with copious mugs of tea to keep us all warm.

The team will be taking a break over the Xmas period to recharge their batteries and come back fighting fit and bouncing with energy in the New Year. There are lots of exciting events planned for the first three months of 2012 so pop back regularly and keep updated about all our goings-on!

Merry Xmas and a Happy Hogmanay - and heres to a cracking 2012!
28th November 2011
Festive Fun was had by all!
Festive Fun was had by all!
Our last market of 2012 was held on 26th November and a festive time was had by vendors and customers alike. With a fine selection of crafts and amazing food and produce, shoppers were spoilt for choice. And those in need of taking some time out from shopping could relax and take in the festive atmosphere with a cup of tea and a slice of delicious home baked cake. The refreshments at this market were ably handled by the Kyles Allotment Group who also manned two tables crammed with produce and preserves and gardenalia!

Watch out for more market dates from April 2012 onwards - shopping locally is a great way to support local small businesses and producers as well as a great way to cut your carbon footprint. And you get an interesting and delicious array of food and produce - much more fun than the supermarket!
22nd November 2011
Smart Kids!
Smart Kids!
After our recent visit to the school to talk about Car Sharing and ways to help the planet stay healthy, we now have a big bundle of excellent posters reflecting the kids views about how cool it is to car share.

All the fantastic artwork will be on display at the Xmas Market on 26th November at Kames Recreational Hll, 10am to 1pm - pop along to admire the work of the talented youngsters from Tinny Primary and find out more about the Cowal Car Share website, Fuel Efficient Driving Lessons, allotments and whats going on up in the forest!
11th November 2011
Youngsters Go Green!
Youngsters Go Green!
Another trip to the school - this time to talk to the kids about the schools carbon footprint and the new KCFC car sharing initiative (see link below!). Our erstwhile and magnificent Carbon Savings Project Office, Sara Maclean, spent an inspirational morning with the kids and asked them to help us spread the green message locally by designing an image or a slogan or even a poem about what car sharing might mean to them, the community or even the planet.

We cant wait to see wht they come up with!
More Details >
1st November 2011
This Halloween KCF invited the pupils at Tinny Primary school to take part in a Pumpkin Carving Competition, which was judged by local artists and KAG stalwart, Grace Donnelly.

The school reported that much fun was had in carving all sorts of spooky, gruesome, inventive and artistic designs on to the pumpkins. All pupils that took part received a special certificate of merit and the wiiners got a well deserved book token!

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The Kilfinan Community Forest Company
Registered Office: Kilfinan Community Forest, Tighnabruaich, Argyll PA21 2BD, Scotland | Company No: 333208 | Charity No: SCO38908
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