Saturday 24 March 2018

Aisha Malik gives a winning presentation for Shakti Women’s AId at the Your Place, Your Priorities event

AN unusually early start for a Saturday – there’s a public vote on some local grant applications under Stirling Council’s Your Place, Your Priorities project and the rural applications event is in Callander.

There’s no applications from our area on East Loch Lomond which is a shame…our village hall could certainly have found some projects worthy of an application up to £10,000. Anyway, the closest application came from some of our friends’ in Drymen…and our pal who runs the local MugStock Festival has an application in, so we want to show some support.

The event kicks off at 10am and we’re a couple of minutes’ late…but that’s made worse when we’re told there’ no parking spaces left at the and are redirected to alternative parking which adds ten minutes to our driving and another ten or more minutes’ walk.

We arrive just as registration for voting is being closed…and there are a few understandably angry folks behind us. This is when we start to see the problems with what on the face of it, was a good project idea.

There’s 49 (actually, 45 as some folks withdrew or didn’t show) presentations to sit through and high percentage are from the Callander area..we immediately sense these have an unfair advantage as there’s such a strong local turnout…other folks have up a 60-mile round trip. And if that hasn’t put them off supporting any of their local applications, the lack of parking and subsequent closure of voting registration will certainly work against them.

Judging by the presentations, the applications are all good and deserving causes…but putting the applications from across such a wide geographic area in the same bag..and up against each other is questionably not the fairest way to distribute grants,

I find myself getting annoyed with the folks that don’t ask questions about the projects per se, but instead use the  chance to ask a question to pick holes, or expose what they think are shortfalls in the project…and one question in particular is a shrouded racist remark from a plummy sounding audience member which really gets our back up.

Furthermore, the lack of any ‘sector’ definition means important social causes are pitted against needs of local amenities and, in some, cases, areas that should already be the council’s domain.

Democratic? In theory, yes, but in reality? But that’s a criticism of the project/process and in no way aimed at the applications – all of which are well presented on behalf of deserving causes and needs.

Eight projects successfully make it though the vote…including Callander Primary School, Callander Youth project. Sadly, nothing to benefit any part of Stirlingshire  west or south of Aberfoyle.

Some worthy awards tho’ – in particular Shakti Women’s Aid which provides specialist support services to black minority ethnic women and children and both Trossachs Search & Rescue and Killin Mountain Rescue…all of which got my vote.

A little jaded – by the process, not the winners who are all deserving causes – we drive home, get some work done then go for a walk, dropping in to see our pals Betty and Joe on the way back.

Back home – having been inspired by the Ableton workshops at yesterday’s Question Session 03 event in Glasgow – I download a trial version of Ableton Live 10 and experiment putting together some beats on my laptop. I think the ‘big Mac’ in the studio is too old and long in the tooth to run it..but if not, I’ll give it a whirl int he studio at some point.