Online public meeting set to determine future of De tha dol? community newspaper

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As most of those in the local community will now know, the De tha dol? community newspaper for Moidart, Ardnamurchan and Morvern is under threat of closure, with production currently suspended.

The Covid-19 situation meant the paper was running at a loss for most of last year, but that after keeping it going for as long as possible, and almost completely exhausting reserves, the committee took the decision to suspend production.

Those involved with the publication say De tha dol? had been struggling for some time and the committee was undertaking work to try and address those issues before Covid-19 arrived.

In a statement, committee’s Joanne Matheson told the Lochaber Times: ‘The financial situation can be overcome – grants and fundraising can cover short-term needs, and there are ways to increase income and reduce costs going forward, which would ensure financial sustainability.

‘The one thing that will determine whether De tha dol? has a future or not, is finding
new committee members. In my experience people do not join committees in the hope of power, awards or adulation, they join because they don’t like to see worthwhile things stop happening.

‘The reason we often see the same names appearing in so many different committees, isn’t because there’s a behind-the-scenes members club but because there are too few people volunteering.

‘There are far more activities, projects and events taking place in this community than there were when I moved here in 2003, which is absolutely fantastic, but they all need people to organise them.

‘Instead what has happened is as the number of activities has increased, the size of committees has fallen. If we can’t collectively, as a community, support this number of groups, organisations, projects and committees then perhaps we need to have a conversation collectively about what our priorities are.

‘Otherwise it will be down to fate, timing, luck and circumstance, which things survive
and which go to the wall.’

Ms Matheson told us that with an objective review of what’s gone before, a thorough understanding of the finances and some fresh new ideas about what could be the useful contents of De tha dol?, the paper can come back stronger, and fit for the 21st century.

And she added: ‘But for that to happen, we need to let some of the current committee retire, and replace them with people who aren’t over-stretched with too many other commitments, have new and interesting ideas about what could be in De tha dol? and the enthusiasm to commit an hour a week to making it happen.’

To this end, the committee is holding a public meeting using Zoom on Wednesday, March 31, at 7pm. Everyone is welcome and to find out how to attend please email: dethadol@mail.com