On Tuesday 20th October, Comrie Development Trust were very happy to welcome around 40 Scottish Government officials from the ‘Food, Drink & Rural Communities Division’ which has a responsibility for a range of policy and delivery areas, including:
- Food & drink industry
- Good Food Nation
- Protected food names
- Livestock and seafood policy
- Implementation and delivery of the 2014-20 LEADER Programme
- Implementation and delivery of the 2014-20 Food Processing Market & Cooperation scheme
- Scottish Rural Network
The Officials were given a welcome from Frank Strang, Deputy Director for Food, Drink and Rural Communities and then an outline of day by Jody Fleck (Network Manager for the Scottish Rural Network). This was followed by a brief overview from Comrie Development Trust Chair, Bill Thow, about Cultybraggan Camp, its history and the plans for the future. The group was then split into two groups and given a tour of the site including Exhibition Hut 1, with time afterwards to look around.
The officials had a particular interest in the community orchard and allotments, healthy food education initiatives and the success of the commercial lettings, including food caterer, Wilde Thyme. The LEADER programme also funded such things at Cultybraggan for example; Culty Quake community music & sign up event, the heritage centre (Exhibition Hut 1) and the mobile apple press which was used again by Comrie Community Orchard group on Apple Day a few weeks ago.
Bill Thow, also informed the visitors about the Community buy-out/ownership of Cultybraggan Camp and the planned community share offer as several of the individuals involved in the day were responsible for the Scottish Land Fund, Community Right to Buy and the Community Empowerment Act.
Afterwards, the group left the Camp and made their way to Comrie Croft (Campsite & Hostel) where they were given a tour by manager, Andrew Donaldson and had a look at Tomnah’a Market Garden based on site. There was a very positive response from the 40 Scottish Government Civil Servants on their visit to Cultybraggan Camp, Comrie Croft and the market garden developments. A good overview had been given concerning the issues being faced by local development organisations and the potential for much to be done. The plan is to take back what has been learned from the visit to government discussions about policies & priorities, and the future of development grant funding.