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Community Land Scotland

Becky McCauley, Wat If?

    Becky McCauley is the Development Manager for Wat If? (Woolfords, Auchengray and Tarbrax Improvement Foundation) 

    What’s the first thing you do when you arrive at work?

    Usually put the heating on! Our small office inside Tarbrax Village Hall can get pretty chilly.

    What makes a working day great?

    The human interactions with members of the community, the staff team and other professionals. Working to improve the quality of life for the local community is often a challenge, but provides real job satisfaction. There are lots of rewarding moments and its always great to hear how a project has improved someone’s life whether it be taking part in a holiday playscheme or being able to get out and about using our Taxibus service. Oh, and any positive grant funding news is always welcome!

    Does your job enable you to get out much?

    More than you might expect given our remote rural location! Its important to take advantage of the social opportunities we have like attending the school’s nativity play or the local community café. We also have a number of projects that take place outside in our beautiful countryside environment such as the development of Pathways and Village Improvements.

    What would be your one piece of advice to young people in your community?

    Take every opportunity to become active in your local community and make a difference. We all have something to contribute.

    Are there any interesting projects in the pipeline for Wat If?

    WAT IF? is currently renovating its first property for use as an affordable rental which will address housing need in the local area. We hope to have our first tenant by Autumn. We are also developing our volunteer program with the help of Volunteer Support Funding. This has allowed us to  set up a number of volunteer working groups who are developing Broadband, Pathways and Housing Projects as well as the WAT IF? Timebank. The Trust now employs a Seniors Worker and a Youth Worker and they continue to devise creative ways to develop activities and services for these groups. We are also about to recruit a Sports Development Officer, so next year will see the launch of a range of healthy living and sporting initiatives. Exciting times ahead.

    What was the reason for starting Wat If?

    Local residents with a passion for improving their area set up the development trust in 2011. WAT IF provided a vehicle to channel the Community Benefit payments made by local windfarm developers. These Community Benefit funds, along with payments from a whole range of other grant funders, are now driving positive changes throughout the area.

    What have been the biggest challenges for Wat If?

    Red tape. Many of our projects hit a few walls along the way and you have to find creative ways to deal with that frustration. I always try and remind myself that this is an endurance race rather than a sprint. If there were easy answers to some of the problems our community face, these would have been tackled years ago.

    What does your ideal weekend look like?

    Lots of family time. The simple things like going for a walk in nature and enjoying good coffee.

    Is Facebook your friend or your enemy?

    Definitely our friend. Its an incredibly important tool for sharing road condition updates (particularly in winter) and helps keep our community informed and safe.