On Saturday I had the great pleasure of opening a new green office space in Golspie, appropriately dubbed 'The Links', and take part in the first ever Links Fair.
The Links was first approved to be built in October 2007, with the Cabinet Secretary Richard Lochhead formally cutting the first sod. It is the new home for five public bodies - Scottish Government Rural Payments and Inspections Directorate, Forestry Commission Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Community Energy Scotland.
Included on the Fair's agenda were “Roots and Flutes” musical entertainment by Bob Pegg, The Green Machine mobile Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime display manned by The Northern Constabulary, nest box making and willow sculpture activities, a demonstration of “greenwood” working, a native tree stall, mountain bike activities (bikes included!) and a venison burger bar provided by the Forestry Commission with venison from their own properties.
The Links Fair was the perfect event to not only provides an opportunity for local people to see the new Government office facilities in East Sutherland but also raise awareness of environmental issues and show the importance of the environment to many Scottish Government objectives.
This building represents a partnership of public bodies who all aim to provide a more efficient and effective service by providing easy access to information and advice; a consistent and responsive service, and delivering a service which focuses on customer needs. And as I am told, staff working in The Links are already noticing the benefits of having partner agencies “next door”.
The rural agencies under one ecologically friendly purpose built roof is an example for other parts of Scotland.
Pictured: Visiting with Fiona Cameron, Development Officer for the Leader Programme in Caithness, at the Fair.