We are based in East Sutherland in the Scottish Highlands, which is located mid-way between Inverness and John O’Groats. Our work covers the coastal villages of Helmsdale, Brora and Golspie, and surrounding villages, including Rogart and Dornoch, although our reach is often far greater.
Our remote rural location provides a number of challenges:
- Isolation and loneliness
- Profound inequalities in access to services
- Demographic profiles that impede normal services and support. Rural demographics usually equate to an upside down triangle of support, i.e. fewer working people at the bottom supporting an unprecedented volume of older people at the top which results in too many people trying to access limited services and support
- Limited amount of transportation for getting to bigger cities and long distances to travel
- Old houses that provide challenges for those with mobility concerns
- Slow or unreliable Internet connection
- Harsh weather conditions in winter months
However, there are some benefits to our location:
- Local knowledge and influence often rests, by necessity, with just a few people wearing a number of different hats, so tapping into the resources of those local pillars of the community can mean connections are made quicker. Also, by working with key personnel who share similar problems and are close at hand, it may be easier to find creative ways around those problems
- “Do it yourself” culture
- Beautiful, tranquil and inspiring surroundings
- Small, friendly populations where everyone knows who lives next door!