Media Release: Moray community opens its doors to the skies

A SMALL community group in Moray is offering visitors to its open day an out of this world experience.

Cabrach Community Enterprise Ltd (CCE) is holding the event on Saturday 3 September between 12-5pm at the former Cabrach Primary School, with all money raised going towards community regeneration.

One of the attractions for visitors is the chance to see images from galaxies far away produced live using a professional astronomical telescope based in Australia.

CCE was formed to make the Cabrach – a sparsely populated area in Moray lying between Dufftown and Rhynie – more attractive and sustainable to visitors and residents.

Visitors to the open day will be able to visit stalls hosted by local businesses, enter a raffle and take part in family friendly games and activities.

This is the first major community event since Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), with additional support from Moray Community Partnership and the EU-funded Moray LEADER programme, assisted CCE to employ a local development officer to progress the regeneration of the Cabrach.

There will be a barbecue hosted by Cabrach Glenfiddich Estate, who will also supply fresh stag and roe deer venison.

New start social enterprise, ‘Earthtime’, will provide children’s activities and local musicians Jimmy Forbes, Andy McCormack and Alison Gillies will be playing.

The Glenfiddich Distillery have generously supplied a 21 year-old malt for the raffle and will also be hosting ‘nosing’ sessions with 12, 15 and 18 year-old Glenfiddich whiskies.

Glasgow School of Art Centre for Design Innovation, based in Forres, is offering interactive activities to capture ideas about the potential future for the Cabrach.

Infinergy Ltd is giving the community the chance to see the future, using a landscape modelling programme to show potential community regeneration benefits from renewable energy, and also putting on a free hourly bus service from Dufftown.

Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said: “I welcome Cabrach Community Enterprise’s innovative approach to community regeneration, it is a perfect example of sustainable rural development and makes a real difference to the lives of rural communities.

“The aim of LEADER is to enhance the quality of rural life through working with those active within their own community.

“Teaming integrated, high-quality strategies with our environment, such as the Cabrach Community Initiative, is to be encouraged. I, as well as members of the Moray LEADER Local Action Group, am pleased to support the Cabrach initiative and wish them a very successful Community Open Day.”

Development Officer, Kim Siu said: “The community are working together with great enthusiasm to make this day a huge success. We hope lots of people will come along, enjoy the activities and support our efforts towards regeneration.”

Local amateur astronomer, Bill Leslie. is helping out at the open day.

As part of the plan to gain Dark Sky Investigation Site status, he commented: “SIGMA, Moray’s local astronomy club will present a breathtaking live event at 3pm. For half an hour, the Cabrach will be linked directly to the Siding Springs Observatory, Australia’s world-class research facility and home to a cluster of twelve professional astronomical telescopes.

“It will be midnight in Australia when we will take control of this telescope, choose targets and decide on the exposures needed to produce images with the telescope’s sophisticated electronic camera.

“It will be an out of this world opportunity to see images of four or five very faint galaxies which are many tens of millions of light years away.”

Time on the telescope has been made available thanks to the generosity of Howie Firth of the Going Nova science festivals.

HIE development manager, Karen Smith, is working closely with the local development officer and the community company.

She commented: “The Cabrach is one of a number of areas where HIE is funding Local Development Officers. Communities themselves control and drive their development, and we will be on hand to provide the support they need.

“We want to help communities carry out sustainable community action planning and deliver projects of direct benefit to them.

:This open day is just one of a number of activities planned by CCE to support the community and its regeneration.”


Notes to editor:

HIE is supporting up to 40 communities in the most fragile areas of the region by funding these key development officer posts.

Support for CCE has come from HIE, Moray LEADER, the Scottish Government and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.

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