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Local care charity Urram said this week it is looking forward to 2022 with excitement following the announcement of a £15,000 award from Highlands and Islands Enterprise.
The money, which is being matched with contributions from NHS Highland, Highland Council, the Morvern Community Trust, Ardgour Area Fund, and the Sunart Community Benefit Fund, will help pay for a feasibility study for a new care hub and
community centre to replace the ageing Dail Mhor Care Home and former primary school in Strontian.
Urram has a vision for flexible care, provided in a way that is relevant and responsive to the needs of the residents of the Morvern and Ardnamurchan peninsulas.
Ardgour resident Louise White, who joined Urram as its new project development officer in October, explained: ‘This will be a multimillion-pound development for our peninsulas, built in partnership with the community, NHS, and The Highland Council.
‘Covid-19 has shown how difficult it can be to care for and protect adults in the care system, and we want to provide facilities which will work for our communities.
‘We have gone out to tender and will be appointing consultants in the coming weeks to work closely with all interested parties – including NHS Highland, The Highland Council, community groups, and individuals, so that before the summer we will
have a plan that helps us make this ground-breaking project a reality.
‘The initial community consultation conducted earlier this year, showed enormous support for this project, and demonstrates the many great ideas the local communities already have, to establish a community care hub that will support our communities in the years to come.’
Claire Cameron, programme manager, adult social care projects, added: ‘NHS Highland is delighted to be partnering with Urram to improve ways of delivering care in the community and this project has tremendous opportunity to design an improved way of delivering services across the Morvern and Ardnamurchan peninsulas.’
And with a new year also comes a call for some new trustees for the charity which is now providing hands-on support in the community, as well as looking at a major building project.
In November, thanks to support from the Peregrine Ardnamurchan Charitable Trust, Urram relaunched the Hospital Transport Service to help residents make the long journeys to the Belford and Raigmore hospitals.
In December, the Helping Hands Befriending Service was also established with support from Highland Hospice and the National Lottery Community Fund.
The Dail Mhor Feasibility Study will now unlock a long-term investment in the community. At this pivotal moment in the charity’s early existence, volunteers are being sought to join Urram’s expanded board of trustees, although volunteers are always needed to enable the hospital transport service to expand and develop and to offer befriending support to those in need.
Sunart community councillor and Urram chairman James Hilder said: ‘These are exciting times for Urram as the project and services gather momentum; we have several vacancies on the board and are looking for candidates who are passionate about improving care in rural areas, but also those who have experience of capital
projects. If you have the interest, skills, and capacity, we would love to hear from you.’
Mr Hilder said the forerunner of Urram was the pressure group set up to get Dail Mhor reopened, with representatives from the five community council areas.
‘This structure was incorporated into the new charity, but the retiral of founder members, David Ogg and Joanne Matheson, mean the board has no representation from the Acharacle area as well as existing vacancies,’ told us.
‘In addition, Urram can co-opt trustees from anywhere in Scotland if they have the right skills and enthusiasm and would like to contribute to the long-term support for residents of West Ardnamurchan, Sunart, Morvern, Ardgour, and Acharacle.’
To express your interest in joining the Urram board, or if you want to join up as a supporter or perhaps volunteer as a driver or befriender, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Applications for board membership must be in by January 17. Urram is hosting its first AGM on January 24, and it will be online at 8pm. Urram says it would welcome any
interested parties to attend.