North Coast Connection - Sutherland
When Tongue’s local day care centre, the Kyle Centre, was threatened with closure in 2011, a group of local residents decided to take on the running of the centre themselves under the name of North Coast Connection. The centre now provides a range of activities to older people and other groups, helping to address rural isolation.
With the assistance of a local Community Development Officer and a partnership with Tongue’s community-led transport providers, the group secured a three-year Service Level Agreement with Highland Health and Social Care Partnership.
The Kyle Centre is now being run as a community well being hub. Activities have included a lunch club with health promoting activity three days a week a, parent and toddler group, exercise sessions, youth group, local history, healthy eating, a gardening group and health awareness-raising sessions. Other community groups use the centre for various activities when it is not being used by North Coast Connection, including an art club, Step It Up Highland healthy walking group and a music group.
Since the centre became community-run, numbers using the centre have more than doubled, something North Coast Connection puts down to the open, flexible and needs-sensitive nature of their community-led health approach. In a sign of the group's growing ambition, the group is currently extending the Kyle Centre to provide more community space and enhance this vital service. The community lunch club has continued in temporary premises (The Kyle of Tongue Hostel) during the building phase of this development project.
Find out more at North Coast Connection's Facebook page
Also, a more in depth case study of North Coast Conection, by Community Health Exchange (CHEX) is contained in the publication Communities at the Centre.