AVIEMORE’S COMMUNITY WINTER LIGHTS

The start

Initially Highland Council funded and managed Aviemore’s Winter Lights but following budget cuts in 2019, they withdrew their support for all Community Winter/ Christmas Lighting across the Highland region. At that point, if Aviemore wanted to keep its winter lights, the community had to take responsibility for the lights and Aviemore Community Enterprise (ACE) stood up to do that.

We are now 100% responsible for the repair, replacement, maintenance, installation, and storage of Aviemore’s Community Winter Lights.

ACE receives no funding from Highland Council or other bodies, all money must be raised through donations and fundraising.

In 2019, we originally took possession of 37 ‘white snowflake’ lights from the Highland Council. Due to their age and natural wear and tear, only 18 of these lights are still on display with the others being beyond repair, or needing repair. As they are now over 15 years old, that’s not surprising and realistically, the remaining ones will also need repairing or replacing in the not-too-distant future.

Treading water

To date, we have purchased a total of 20 new lights through ongoing fundraising and donations. We feel that’s quite an achievement, especially after the last 20 months and what everyone has been through. The total number of lights on display is 38, so although we are doing a great job, we are just treading water where the maintenance and replacement of our winter lights are concerned.

Challenges

Since March 2020 and lockdown, we made the decision to not push our fundraising, believing that others in the community were in far greater need of the limited support available. With other large projects in the village also looking for donations and support, it was necessary for us to come up with other ideas for raising future funds and try to take some of pressure off of local businesses, many of which have also had their own challenges over the past 18 months – and continue to do so.

As a result, we introduced our 100 Club early in 2021 in an attempt to attract the involvement of local residents and visitors, in fact anyone who had an interest in Aviemore. Although slow in building up to 100 Members, membership is slowly growing and the Club has so far generated over £700* for community funds and it looks promising as a successful long-term fundraiser.

We raised a further £700 In October when our Chair asked for sponsorship to give up alcohol for Sober October in aid of our Winter Light fund.

Empty Kitty

However, with the purchase of the newest lights, our Community Winter Light kitty is now empty and going forward we need to ask for the communities help to ensure the future of Aviemore’s winter lights.

The cost of a new light averages £260, meaning to purchase 18 new lights to replace the remaining old white snowflake lights, we need to raise around £5000 at today’s prices. If a lamppost needs to be converted to be able to take the light, that’s another £200 we need to pay to the Highland Council each time.

Ahead

Looking further ahead, we would like to expand on the number of lights and extend the area covered in the village by adding lights further North along the main street and also along Dalfaber and Santa Claus Land Drives at some point This is a significant ongoing project that will impact on the image of Aviemore as a whole and will need considerable support from the community.

And everyone can help. It doesn’t always involve giving money (see Points 1, 2 and 5 below)
Or if you are time poor see Points 1 – 4 below.

  1. Become a member of ACE – complete the online form  Time needed; 5 minutes
    2. Like/follow our Facebook and/or Instagram pages – please  react, comment and share out posts time needed. Time needed; 5 – 10 minutes a week
    3. Make a donation via our JustGiving page  or contact us for bank account details 
    4. Donate a prize for raffle or auction – please email chair@aviemorecommunity.org
    5. Volunteer – whether its to give out posters, letterbox drops, contact local businesses, hold ladders, or whatever but its up to you totally what you do and we wouldn’t ask you to do anything that you’re not comfortable with. Time needed; its totally up to you.

Our Winter Light Team

ACE relies solely on community support and the goodwill of our volunteers. We would like to acknowledge and give our heartfelt thanks to all the volunteers who have helped in the past, who continue to help on an ongoing basis and to you for taking the time to read this article and just think about how you can help.

* funds from 100 Club are shared between Winter Lights, Summer Floral displays and any other community projects agreed by the Board.