Gartmore 3: Coastal Communities Network Workshop

Credit: Rebecca Plant

It had been a while since CCN members were able to meet at Gartmore, with the pandemic having delayed the planned 2020 get together, but we were finally able to come together in October 2021 for a weekend of knowledge-sharing, discussions, and a few drams!

The focus of Gartmore 3 was the future development of the Network, and priorities for action. Since Gartmore 2, the CCN had grown from 12 to 18 members so it was a perfect moment to reflect on progress and past success with an eye to the future. Alongside the 14 groups that made it along, we also welcomed several ‘Friends of CCN’ non-community groups, as well as reps from NatureScot and SEPA. We made sure there was plenty of opportunity for networking to welcome the newcomers into the fold.

Proceedings kicked off on Friday night with Kerri Whiteside, FFIs Community Support Specialist, taking us on a journey through CCN’s early beginnings in 2010, right up to present day and everything that it had achieved in between – from the launch of the Community-led Monitoring Project to the Argyll Hope Spot. After a couple of themed discussion, everyone set off for dinner and long overdue real life catch ups!

Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed on Saturday, everyone bundled into the main hall after breakfast for the much-anticipated community updates session where we heard presentations from members on their work since the last gathering in 2018. We also heard from our friends at Sealife Adventures, Scottish Salmon Think-Tank and Scottish Creel Fishermen’s Federation.

Credit: Graham Richardson

Following on from the community updates, we welcomed external speakers who spoke on a number of themes, including James Mackenzie, who talked with CCN about how they can be heard by the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government. Lessons we learned included: pick a key policy ask and support it with evidence, develop a strategy, and find allies, both in and out of Parliament. This will be valuable for a lot of members engaging in upcoming consultations and policy discussions.

After a long afternoon of sessions, a glass or two of wine, whilst being (virtually) whisked away around our fabulous coastline through a showcase of films from CCN members, was much appreciated.

Credit: Rebecca Plant

Sunday it was time to don markers and flipcharts and get down to action planning. We had asked CCN members to vote on a number of themes that had been identified during Saturday’s sessions. The most popular of those themes were distributed to breakout groups for further discussion. This was a chance to delve into how CCN might engage on stuff like the Environment Bill, plastics and marine litter, or aquaculture. Once the responses have been analysed, they’ll inform how CCN will move forward through 2022/23. At a first glance, it seems we’re going to be busy!

Credit: Graham Richardson

Planning for Gartmore 4 is already in our minds here in the FFI office (mark your calendars for May 2023!), but in the meantime we are excited to take some of the inspiring ideas put forward during the weekend and explore how CCN can deliver them with FFI’s support.

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