Moray celebrates waste reduction as we approach ‘Recycling Week’

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Cllr Graham Leadbitter

Moray’s recycling rate has been officially revealed as continuing to be among the best in Scotland as overall amount of waste reduces.

In statistics released yesterday by SEPA – the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency ­– Moray continues to rank fourth out of 32 local authorities, with 57.4% of household waste recycled in 2018, despite slipping back slightly  from the 2017 rate of 57.8%.

More significantly, the amount of household waste generated in the region reduced by more than three times the national figure, as the total amount of household waste generated in Scotland decreased 2% from the previous year, to 2.41 million tonnes. In Moray, the amount of waste generated fell by 6.9%, or over 3,500 tonnes, from 51,090 tonnes in 2017 to 47,552 tonnes in 2018.

According to SEPA, several authorities in Scotland have attributed reductions in waste generated to a move from fortnightly to three-weekly waste collections.

Statistics also show that more waste was recycled per person in Moray than sent to landfill, at 0.29 tonnes and 0.21 tonnes respectively.

Ahead of Recycling Week, which begins on 23 September, Chair of Moray Council’s Economic Development & Infrastructure Committee, Cllr Graham Leadbitter, praised the efforts of households in Moray: “We’ve one of the most comprehensive kerbside recycling collections in Scotland, and I’m pleased to see residents are making the most of this. Changing to three-weekly collections for the green bin has made us all think more about improving our recycling, as well as how much waste we’re generating.

“I’m particularly proud that households in Moray reduced the amount of waste they generated by more than three times the Scottish figure, saving more than £311,000 in landfill tax if this was put in the green bin.

“I’d encourage everyone to keep up the momentum, so we can reach the Scottish Government’s target of 60% of household waste to be recycled in 2020.”


Designing KELP – a new health care facility for the Keith and East Locality

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Health & Social Care Moray is holding a series of events in the coming weeks to help design what a new health and social care facility to serve the Keith & East Locality could look like.

Health & Social Care Moray is working with members of the public, NHS Grampian, Moray Council, social work colleagues, third sector, community planning partners and other stakeholders on the Keith & East Locality Project, known as KELP.

If it goes ahead, the new facility will be a first of its kind in Moray, incorporating a wide range of services on one site. Designed with the community to serve the community in an integrated manner.

The project has been up and running for several months now, and the Project Board are keen to move on to the next stage.

Commenting, project manager, Susan Pellegrom, said: “This project is hugely exciting for Keith and the surrounding areas. The current GP practice continues to deliver high quality interventions, but is limited by the environment.

“We held a public meeting at the end of July on one of the hottest evenings of the year. It was really well attended and lots of ideas and suggestions were made. This was also the case at the Keith Show. The next step is our workshops and this is where we are looking for as many folk from the communities to come along. We’ll be talking about what is needed and how it could be delivered.”

Pam Gowans, Chief Officer of Health & Social Care Moray and project board chair added: “This project has the potential to be a significant community asset, and we need people who will use the services there to tell us what they want to see. So far, the response has been really positive and we are keen to build on that. Come along, find out how you can play your part and let’s get something that we all can be proud to have in Keith, where we can deliver services locally.”

More information about the project, including details on how to make your voice heard, is available on the project pages:–east-locality-project.html

Those unable to attend the workshops, can complete a simple survey at

The dates and times for the service modelling workshops, all to be held from 1pm to 5pm at Keith’s Longmore Hall, are:

Tuesday 24th September

Thursday 10th October

Thursday 7th November.

You can book your place by calling 01343 567187 or by emailing


‘Immersive performance experience’ to premiere in Findhorn

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‘Immersive performance experience’ premieres in Findhorn on Saturday. Image credit: Julia Bauer

Bodies of Water, promoted as “an immersive performance experience”, will premiere with Findhorn Bay Arts at the James Milne Institute on Saturday, 21 September, before touring to places and communities across Scotland.

Bodies of Water is a collaborative, interdisciplinary and experimental performance project initiated by Glasgow-based choreographer/performer Saffy Setohy in 2018 in response to BRAW, a project by The Touring Network. Made and performed by a collective of artists including Aya Kobayashi choreographer/performer, Joanna Young choreographer/performer, Nicolette Macleod musician/sound designer and Saffy Setohy.

Bodies of Water is described as “a playful, multi-sensory performance experience weaving together movement, choreography, water, objects and sound.

“We encounter water in our everyday lives – through our bodies and environment. We invite you to immerse yourselves in a unique performance experience, as we explore and celebrate this transformative element that connects all living things.

“People and environment are at the heart of the work.

“Explored through choreography, movement, sound, visual art and participatory practices, Bodies of Water aims to draw connections between our experiences as humans made mostly of water, our relationship to it personally, politically, environmentally, and the materiality of water (its choreographic, sculptural and sound potential).

“Underpinning the work, is an understanding that if we can connect to and inhabit the realities of our bodies and experiences, we will relate to and more easily consider our environment, our communities and the challenges that we face.”

The artists expanded their choreographic practice to include walking and moving, drawing, writing, arranging, making, reading and sounding.

Their research has ranged over diverse terrain; their felt sense and memories of water in their environment and bodies, the body as a container and vessel, water filtration, deep mapping, deep time, geological processes, plastic pollution, ‘artificial’ nature, the materiality of water in its liquid, solid and gaseous states.

They have developed the work in Forres, Findhorn, Dunbar and Glasgow, sharing ideas with audiences along the way.

They were part of the exhibition, ‘TIDE: Dialogues of Change in Dunbar’, presenting traces of their research in a range of media.  They also facilitated a creative walk as part of the Moray Walking & Outdoor Festival.

What they describe as a ‘teaser video’ can be watched on

The Findhorn performances will be held at James Milne Institute, Findhorn, on Saturday at 2pm and 7pm, with tickets available from

Suitable for adults, and young people 8 years and above, the show lasts about 1 hour. The capacity for each performance is capped at 25 people per showing, making for an intimate experience.


New award categories to shine spotlight on young entrepreneurs

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Moray Business Women’s Club President Sam Dowdall

Young female entrepreneurs are being given the chance to shine after a Club which celebrates the achievements of women across the region launched two new award categories for its annual ball.

Shining Young Star and Best Product or Service are the two new gongs up for grabs at the Moray Business Women’s Awards which will take place in November.

And the Club hopes that freshening up the awards will encourage younger women to get involved in the group.

Sam Dowdall, president of Moray Business Women’s Club and former Business Women of the Year winner said: “Moray has such a wealth of talent and every year we recognise the achievements of women from across the region. However this year, we have launched two new categories which will both bring new elements to the awards that we hold.”

As well as the two new awards, women can also enter Business Women of the Year, Most Enterprising Business and Member of Achievement, the winner of which is voted for by fellow Moray Business Women members.

However, as Sam Dowdall explained, while these categories are popular, the entries are often from those who have been members or in business for a while: “All of our awards, apart from Member of Achievement are open to all women, whether they are a member or not. But we also want to encourage younger women to enter and to get involved in the Club hence why we have created a category for a younger age group. The Shining Young Star Award is open to women aged 16-26 years old.

“We have a wealth of experienced business-women within the Club, but it would be fab to get a throughput of younger members too. It was also high time that we revamped the awards categories and now, by having five categories, we hope that more people will get involved.”

She added: “We also have some very innovative women who create unique products or services so it was important that we added a category that focuses more specifically on that. The awards are great fun and such a positive way of celebrating each other. Moray has a fabulous, varied business community and we want to celebrate in the best way possible.”

Application forms for the award categories will be available at from Monday, 16 September, and entries must be submitted by 14 October.


Elgin Youth Café group comes of age

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Elgin Youth Cafe award winners earlier this year

Elgin Youth Development Group, the organisation behind the highly successful and respected Elgin Youth Café, will be celebrating their 21st anniversary with an Open Day on 21 September between 12 and 4pm.

Over the past few months a group of young people with the support of staff members have been busy planning the event which will see them open their building to the public allowing the young and the young at heart to experience the opportunities available to young people.  Their social enterprise, The Inkwell, will also be open for two cooking demonstrations.

When asked about the importance of this event Clair Ferguson, Chief Executive of the charity had the following to say “It really is a great achievement and privilege to still be supporting young people in the Elgin area. We wouldn’t be able to do this without the unwavering support of so many people who have volunteered their time or have worked for the charity.  In addition we have been fortunate that funders have stayed with us.  This reflects that we are still relevant to today’s young people and to ensure this continues to be the case we involve young people in the running of our organisation.  They keep us relevant and we appreciate the fantastic work they do.”

This milestone event will also include a showcase exhibit featuring a timeline wall of photos and stories alongside a showcase film. This film, shot and edited completely by young people will feature stories from members, staff and supporters from across their 21 year history.

Carola Smith, a former volunteer spoke fondly of her time for the charity “I really enjoyed the years I spent as a volunteer. In the seventeen years or so I saw lots of changes and met dozens of young people, volunteers and staff. With training events I continued to learn, something which is always valuable.”

The team are hoping that people interested in helping or supporting the next phase of the life of the charity will come along on the day as well as those who have had a connection with the project in any way.  If you have your own story to share please go along as they would love to hear from you.

Cooking Demonstration Times:

12:30pm: Sushi Demonstration

1-1:45pm: Have a go

2pm: Cupcake demonstration

3:30-3:15pm: Have a go

More information about the Café and the Elgin Youth Development Group is available on


Council “washes its hands of its responsibilities”, say Friends of Findhorn Bay

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Findhorn Bay

A petition against wildfowling in Findhorn Bay Local Nature Reserve has been rejected by Moray Council.

The authority received the petition, lodged by Friends of Findhorn Bay, in December 2015, and a counter petition was submitted but not validated. Since then a number of options have been explored by councillors, most recently with the council facilitating mediation sessions, which although made significant progress, did not conclude in a final agreement between all interested parties.

Chair of Moray Council’s Economic Development and Infrastructure Committee, Cllr Graham Leadbitter, said that time and effort from council staff and external bodies had gone in to try and find a resolution: “There’s a limit to how long we can continue to support that process and still deliver other council priorities. As such, this morning councillors rejected the petition as we can’t dedicate any more resources to this.

“Notwithstanding this, we accept that the groups involved may continue with the process and reach a decision, agreed by all parties. If this happens, this decision could be considered by Council in the future.”

Forres Councillor Claire Feaver, who submitted an amendment rejected by the Committee, said: “I feel very disappointed for my constituents who have been campaigning for a more sustainable and wildlife-friendly approach to the management of the Findhorn Bay Local Nature Reserve.

“I have done my best to represent them and share their disappointment that a number of elected representatives chose to ignore the efforts of these different groups over the last year to come to 3 options that could be presented for community engagement.

“It is a complicated subject but the essence is that a small minority had not been prepared to compromise or moderate its demand for shooting but for the first time all wildfowling groups have agreed that the situation on Findhorn Bay cannot continue as is.

“This rejection by the committee of my amendment  means that residents who live adjacent to the Bay have another season of disturbance to look forward to, with little regard being paid to their quality of life.

“I remain keen to see a fair resolution to this issue but the Council’s decision is not helpful.”

In a statement released in response to the Committee’s decision, Friends of Findhorn Bay said: “The problems of cruelty to birds, plastics pollution and early morning noise disturbance, which were highlighted in the Petition, have not been resolved, yet today Moray Council has tried to absolve itself of its statutory responsibility for these issues, leaving the people of Kinloss and Findhorn to sort out the issue themselves.

“Local residents and wildlife will therefore continue to be affected by reckless, irresponsible and unregulated shooting on Findhorn Bay.”

Lead petitioner, Lisa Mead, added: “The Council has let down many hundreds of people who live around Findhorn Bay, whose lives are blighted for 6 months of every year by the disruptive noise disturbance of early morning shooting. And as we have said many times over the last 4 years, camouflaged people hiding themselves behind tree stumps with shotguns is hardly conducive to Findhorn Bay being a place to enjoy natural beauty and observe wildlife.

“I really don’t understand how the Council can just wash its hands of an issue for which it bears responsibility, as statutory manager of the Findhorn Bay Local Nature Reserve?”

The Friends of Findhorn Bay’s response also maintains that: “The Council’s decision totally denies the importance of the sensitive ecology of Findhorn Bay, which includes several Red Listed bird species, and disrespects its important designations as a saltmarsh of international importance under the Ramsar Convention, as a Site of Special Scientific Interest and as part of the Moray and Nairn Coast Special Protection Area.”