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Pulteneytown People's Project
Annual General Meeting 2005

PPP - AGM 2005
The Pultneytown People’s Project goes from strength to strength as was shown at their AGM held in South School on 28 September 2005. Indeed the very name should be plural now.  The Pultneytown People’s Project is fast producing projects that are getting things done that show what can be achieved once you begin to use the resources of local people to improve and regenerate their area.

Ann Dunnet the Lord Lieutenant was the guest speaker and before telling folk about her role she praised the Project for the work it was doing. Ms Dunnet told the audience about what she did including making arrangements for Prince Charles when he visited PPP in wick recently. She said she was hearing about the project often and not just in Wick but in other places she visited in Scotland.

The list of projects and developments that PPP is tackling is truly massive for an area that two years ago had nothing much going on. Katrina MacNab the project manager made her report to the members as a list of achievements followed by current developments that promise to dwarf the success already under their belt. First came the brief run through of the first year and then into the second year when things began to really happen. The events alone are worthy of listing – Quiz nights, Bingo night, coffee mornings, annual bonfire and fireworks. Raising funds from such events within the community to run trips affordable to everyone. Over 600 seats have been filled on bus trips so far. Building on this to make a community spirit went on with trips for up to 50 children to the cinema, bowling and for food at Christmas. A Christmas party for local children with Santa and games. It will all be happening again in the coming year. Residents meeting take place every month in the local South School.

But is in the realms of help in several directions that the group are having huge success. And the projects they are tackling are not merely about the Pulteneytown area. If you thought they were only about Pulteneytown watch out. One of the most succcessful projects up and running is the Homelink project which alone has 14 staff and one on New Deal delivering support to 16 – 25 year olds having difficulty sustaining tenancies for homes. This is a county wide project helping people not Justin Wick but across the area. The staff help young people cope with running a home and cover things like budgeting, gardening, decorating and cooking as well as many other areas of life that they may require help with. People in the Homelink project are encouraged to take part in a whole range of activities from swimming to sports to encourage healthy living. At the same time problems are addressed with Homelink staff contacting criminal justice, the highland Council and Housing agencies – dealing with employment issues – in fact anything that can steer a young person to becoming a good citizen and neighbour. They are encourage to help clean up the area – gardening, weeding and general tidying up as way of contributing to the whole community. An it is working as Pulteneytown is much neater and tidier than it had been for some years.

PPP runs a Breakfast Club at South school in the mornings and an out of school group MAASK after school ensuring that children are not alone if parents are working. In school holiday periods they have run a very successful Holiday Club.

PP now runs a ladies group where women from any part of wick meet to carry on hobbies. That has expanded to four days a week and meets in the Old Man’s Rest which they spent £5000 on decorating and making more attractive. They had outgrown the use of a room at the PPP centre – a council house donated by Highland Council to the project as office and work space. Indeed things have moved on so far that they have long since outgrown the premises and getting ready to move to a block of houses across the road.

Funding of £30,000 has been obtained to build a skateboard park for young folk and this will be installed in the next few weeks at the Grizzly Park.

And there is much more. Just this week they announced that they have obtained funding of £168,000 for a new Youth Project.

The plans and ambitions now appear to know no bounds. PPP are well on their way to setting up their own community regeneration centre and plans have been drawn up that were on display. This is no pie in the sky and looks to have a very good chance of success. They have spent a year collating the evidence for a centre and have now started submitting funding applications. The concept is to make a new resource that would be available not just for local people but for the High School and the North Highland college during the day as a learning centre and include space for small businesses, a café with crèche and soft play area. At night it would be available for young people and provide a leisure facility for people right at the heart of their community.

Is that it you might ask. Well no way. UKAEA offered the group £50,000 and in their own inimitable style they saw it as opening door to attract even more funding. Taking that pot of money they hope to use it help not themselves alone but the whole of Wick by rejuvenating the Rosebank Park that has needed some investment for the past few years. PPP formed another group to look into this and have separate plans drawn up for a new park incorporating ideas from the bowling club and reforming a new green to competition standards and the tennis players to group all the ideas into one cohesive plan.

Katrina MacNab summed up her annual report by thanking everyone who had supported the PPP and especially the residents for supporting the staff and directors.

This has been truly remarkable performance so far from an area listed in the bottom sections of the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation. They aim to change all that and they look as if they are likely to succeed.