A brief history of the CCE

From Humble Beginnings to Present Day

     The Cabrach Community Association was established in September 2007 by a group of local residents brought together by the proposed closure of the primary school. A public meeting was held in August 2007 in the Grouse Inn, Cabrach, to discuss a response to the council plan to permanently close the school. At this meeting it became clear to all in attendance that the school was perhaps what had brought them there that night. However there was much more than a school building at stake.

     The very future of the Cabrach was fast becoming endangered.

     The Cabrach had seen a 75% depopulation in the last 100 years and in 2007 only 28 houses remained occupied.

     The Cabrach was fighting to save a school when there had once been two schools, two churches, two post offices, two livestock markets, blacksmiths, joiners, shoe makers, a miller and a tailor. There was once a sweet shop and a large enough community to encourage Rizzas Ice cream from Huntly to make the long trek once a week to the Cabrach.

     Now we were fighting to save a dwindling school role due to a lack of population.

     The post offices, markets, shops, smiths, joiners, shoemakers and indeed the ice cream man were all a thing of the past. Gone but for the memories of those old enough to remember.

     Until one night in September 2007 when ten of these last remaining residents met in the Grouse Inn and formed the Cabrach Community Association.

The fight back had begun.

     With help from Richard Lochhead, MSP for Moray, Highlands & Islands Enterprise and Moray Council, Cabrach Community Association was born. With the creation of an association came the need for a constitution.

     A management committee was formed and with help from H.I.E. a constitution was put in place. The inauguration meeting took place and the C.C.A. was up and running.

     Lead by our newly appointed Chairperson Lena Sierakowska and ably assisted by our secretary Nikki Smith and treasurer Mhairi McBain we started on what we hoped would be the road to recovery.

The road to recovery.

     The members of the C.C.A. came and went over the years but the determination has stayed firm and the efforts of the C.C.A. were finally realised in August 2010 when funding was awarded from Leader and the European Union through H.I.E. to enable the C.C.A. to employ a development officer to pursue the goals of the association. With a development officer now in place and the C.C.A. truly established the dream of a vibrant community and a prosperous Cabrach are if not yet within reach a lot closer than they were in 2007.

What's in a name Cabrach Community Association or Cabrach Community Enterprise?

     The CCA grew from a need for the community to act together to save the local school. It soon became apparent that the school was merely the tip of an iceberg and in order to secure a more sustainable future for the dwindling population of the Cabrach, further development would be essential. With support and community consultation being conducted by HIE, a local development officer was employed to work with and bring together the community to work towards and achieve community regeneration. Not an easy task for a community that had suffered from over 70% depopulation in the last 100 years!

     The first step was to re-establish the organization in legal a way which would enable them to purchase and own their own land and assets (for affordable housing and community meeting place). With assistance (and membership support) from Development Trust Association Scotland, the Cabrach Community Enterprise evolved as a company limited by guarantee with charitable aims and objectives (not a registered charity).

     From extensive community consultation with the newly employed development officer, many enterprising ideas were uncovered and it was agreed that the best way forward was to establish the CCE as a social enterprise and join Moray Social Enterprise Network.

     In accordance with the memorandum the members of the CCA joined up as members of the newly formed CCE and on May the 12th an AGM was held and a board of Directors was elected along with the usual office bearers.

     A new website was created and a domain name purchased and in October 2011 thecabrach.org was launched and continues to grow strongly with new items being added all the time.

     Following the Cabrach School closure, a potential asset transfer held a great opportunity for the Cabrach people to once again have their own meeting place and for the first time an office for the Local Development Officer.

Cabrach Open Day

     The CCE came together with renewed vigor and enthusiasm during the summer of 2011 and secured a one week lease of the former school in early September to stage an event aimed at raising the profile of the work being undertaken by the CCE and its hopes for the future.

     The stage was set for the Cabrach Open Day and with help and support from local people; companies and friends of the Cabrach the CCE hosted their first public event on Saturday the 3rd of September.

     With the generous donations of money from Glenfiddich Distillery, Infinergy Ltd and local business, along with the promise of a free bus service from Dufftown, local venison barbeque, whisky tasting, live music, local stalls and entertainment; indoor space was at a premium! With the generous support from the Dufftown in Bloom and Games committee, a team of volunteer's and three tents were borrowed and erected in the grounds of the school.

     Permission was granted from a local land owner to use a neighbouring field as a car park and all that was left was the ordering of a bit of sunshine and a cheery crowd.

     With over five hundred people making the journey to the Cabrach on what must have been the best day of the summer the CCE united to put on a much praised event.

What next for the CCE

     The CCE will continue to work towards its ultimate goal of a thriving and prosperous community as well as continuing to supply the residents and friends of the Cabrach with the opportunity to engage in social and educational activities.

     The CCE prides itself on the fact that it has the love and support of so many people both near and far willing to dig deep financially or purely by giving time and expertise to this great cause thus enabling the Cabrach to have a more vibrant future.

     The hard work goes on and alas will continue for many years yet but although they say the road is long and winding the view looking back from the end of the journey more than makes up for the hardship faced along the way by the traveller.

     Martin Sheed,

     12th February 2012

Site created by : Alain Bidaine © 2011-2013 - Photography : Neil Sheed - Last updated on 1st February 2014
The Cabrach Community Enterprise Ltd - Company N° 398296