There is no hiding the fact that Assynt can be classified as being a remote community.  It takes a bit of effort to get here, but those who live here generally want to stay here.  It gets under your skin, and once you've lived here for a while it is pretty unlikely that you'll want to live anywhere else.  There are those who have been born and bred in Assynt, while others, like ourselves, are incomers who have chosen to live in this special part of the world.

Generally people who live here like to be independent.   But there are times in your life when you need help.  One of those times can be as you grow older.  Sometimes it is simply not possible to remain in your own home, and so the decision has to be made about moving into some form of sheltered accommodation.

In Lochinver there is the Assynt Centre, a small centre which can home and take care of those unable to take care of themselves.   It also offers respite care for those who generally can look after themselves in their own home, but every now and then just need an extra bit of TLC and so spend a few days in the centre recharging their batteries so they can then go to their own homes again.  The Assynt Centre was originally owned and run by the community, but the Highland Council decided to discharge their responsibilities for social services and take over the running of the centre,which they did.   Over the last few years the Council has slowly been winding down operations at the Assynt Centre, and the centre has been under threat of closure, due to overspend on the budget of the Social Services Department of the Highland Council.  So once again the local community started to look at ways which the community could  take over the running of the Assynt Centre, perhaps as a Social Enterprise, and so maintain the ability to offer local folk the prospect of remaining in the area rather than having to move 60 miles away to Golspie, on the opposite side of the country.

Last week at the monthly Assynt Community Council meeting the announcement was made that staff at the Assynt Centre had been told that the centre was due to close during the summer of 2010.  This is a unilateral decision by the Council, with no local consultation.   As you can imagine there was outrage at the Council Meeting both to the news and the way in which this news had been announced.    Nine people will lose their jobs, but perhaps more vitally, members of the community will lose the right to spend their latter years in the area that they love.  They will be forced to move across the country, away from friends and perhaps family, to an area that they are not familiar with, to satisfy the financial restrictions of the Highland Council.

Assynt is angry.

Assynt will be asking questions of it's local councillors such as Robbie Rowantree and George Farlow, as well as politicians such as John Thurso and Jamie Stone.  It is now up to the council to show good faith and start talking to the community.

Edited to add a link to the article in The Press and Journal.