Inspiring Innellan continues with its efforts to make the village an attractive place for all ages - from toddlers to pensioners. The village has over the years been left with neglected corners which are gradually being reclaimed as children's adventure areas and quiet places for reflection. Both the natural and social histories of the village are being addressed, and horticulture used sympathetically to ensure the natural, wild beauty of the surroundings is not spoiled. Working alongside existing amenities, the group also tries to ensure visitors have a positive experience when they come to the village.
In 2022, the group won the Community Involvement Discretionary award: Inspiring Innellan epitomises ‘Community’. Their Beautiful Scotland judges commented that they had never seen so many, and such a large cross section of the community when they visited. All age groups are involved at all times of the year through the wide range of activities offered, and those doing the heavy work are extremely well looked after by others organising refreshments. One particular project exemplified this, in having ‘something for everyone’, from discussion with the children the judges met and how they enjoyed contributing and what they got from it, to the obvious use a wildlife hide was getting from all age groups. The judges commented that they had never been to a group and come away with such an overwhelming sense of community.
In 2019, the group won the Community Involvement Discretionary Award: The community of Innellan has risen to the Beautiful Scotland ‘challenge’ for the second year. Plants, planters and compost have been donated and the ‘Sponsor a Planter for £10’ campaign enthusiastically supported. Villagers have ‘adopted’ planters for watering whilst others showed off their beautiful gardens at the Open Garden weekend. Council spending cuts have been counteracted by the input of several volunteers who have spent hours cutting and strimming grass verges. Close to 3,000 volunteering hours have been chalked up. Work parties have averaged 16 people every Sunday and volunteers also work individually on tasks such as fixing steps, clearing leaves, litter picking and even painting landscapes to sell for funds. Special family events have fostered good relations with younger community members. Sunday work parties have helped to integrate many newcomers into the area. Volunteer ages range from seven to eighty-four. Following each work party, a lunch is organised by volunteers with food donated by villagers on a rota basis. A regular feature of the lunches is the appearance of several older/less mobile members of the community who come along on a social basis. Support for fund raising events such as quizzes and coffee mornings has been excellent and volunteers helped with the annual Remembrance Day and Christmas Lights too. Donations in kind have been a feature, this year with Inspiring Innellan being offered everything from a box of chocolates to a caravan! A yard to work in, a shed, concrete slabs, tables, picnic benches, hand and petrol driven tools, boats and much, much more have all been donated by villagers. Innellan is definitely a community with a heart and at its heart is its community.