The aims of S4L is to eradicate hunger and poverty from the Community of Bemvu Malawi in a sustainable manner. We are on target for achieving these aims after only three years and as far as the Farming and Feeding programme is concerned to be self sufficient within the next few years.

To enable this to happen in the formative years we not only have to supply funding to achieve these goals but also to supply training and to build a robust management structure over in Malawi which is answerable to a higher authority in order to insure the integrity of the project. Since its inception the Management in Bemvu has been controlled by the Church Authorities however this has proved to have a bias in favour of the Church`s own advantage in as much as some of the decisions have over ridden general consensus and they have continually considered that part of the S4L funding should be diverted to Church funds.

To achieve an Independent Management Structure a Company Limited by Guarantee has been formed after extensive consultation with Scottish Malawi Partnership/independent consultants/Malawi Government Officials /Corra (manage the Grant aid donated by the Scottish Government who were not happy with the Church`s attitude in Malawi) and of course the Community of Bemvu. The Company has been formed with six Directors made up of a cross section of the Community including various religions and genders living in areas throughout the District. This Company will be answerable to and must report back to the Malawi Authorities the same as any other Limited Company as well as to S4L Scotland who in turn report back to OSCR the Scottish Charities Regulator and CORRA who administer grant funding on behalf of the Scottish Government.

There will be a second tier of management in Bemvu made up of a cross section of the community which will act on an advisory basis submitting plans and proposals to the Company.

The project is expanding each year – This harvest which has just finished has resulted in a total yield of 181 tonnes of Maize which has been grown by 120 farmers out of that tonnage 9.85 tonnes is in store in Bemvu for use in the School Feeding programme (Feeding 1200 primary school children) and 49.67 tonnes is being stored in a commercial storage facility this will be held until prices are favourable and then sold – the money going into a Company Bank account held in Malawi to be used once the project becomes completely independent from Scottish funding (the proceeds from the last couple of years sales currently amounts to £6,500 in this account.).The balance of 121.48 tonnes was kept by the 120 beneficiaries for their own use. We are confident that barring any complete disasters we are on the right course for a sustainable future with this project.

September 2019 we sponsored 25 pupils through their four year secondary education an increase on previous years of 20 our ambition for this coming September is 30 pupils, once we start the pupils on their Secondary Education we are committing to the full four year curriculum which is a substantial amount of money none of which is covered by grant aid and we are totally reliant on the generosity of the public to make a donation. We consider that this is a really worthwhile cause as the only way that a Country like Malawi is going to work it`s way out of poverty is through Education which in the case of Secondary Education has to be paid for privately.

Last October we also funded £1,200.00 for the Fertiliser fund which supplies seed and fertiliser to vulnerable people who are old, widowed or disabled this is a gift funded by donation generally through fund raising.

Trees saplings have been provided since the start of the project to be grown for the supply of fruit in order to achieve a more balanced diet or for firewood which is the principle source of heat for cooking in the area. The growth of these trees has had varied success in the past although since vetting the recipients more carefully this season the survival rate appears to be much improved. A nursery has been established for growing banana trees which allows a continual supply of tree saplings throughout the year for general dispersal to the Community.

This growing year we move into our second year of Grant Aid from the Scottish Government but to achieve the timetable for self sufficiency we had also included fund raising in the initial budge , however Covid-19 has seen a halt to this ambition and as we require funds prior to the growing season starting in October it is becoming evident that we shall have to either cut back on what was planned or appeal to the generosity of people to send in any donation that they would feel comfortable. We realise that this is a `Big Ask` in this current climate, Malawi of course is living through the Covid-19 crisis as well, although at the time of writing Bemvu itself only has one recorded case and that was a person who had come from Mozambique. We have made so much progress and it cannot be stressed enough that this is Life Changing to the people in Bemvu who are so appreciative, but their main fear is that we abandon them part way through this Project.

If you wish to donate, please:

Send Cheques/Cash to:

Project Manager: Dave Alsop, Braeview, Cuan Road, Seil, Oban, PA34 4RA

Treasurer: Gerry Foster, Achnaclach Cottage, Clachan Seil, PA34 4TL

Chairman: Dr George Hannah, Finlaggan, Clachan Seil, PA34 4TL

Bank Transfer: Royal Bank of Scotland, a/c name: SeedforLife.FeedforLife.SCIO

Sort Code: 83-26-04 a/c no 00259439

There is also a very easy way of supporting the project which doesn’t cost anything at all but has the potential of giving S4L extra funds and that is through EasyFunding which Maggie outlines below.

A Message about Fundraising

Fundraising has come to a standstill since the coronavirus lockdown began, so I want to endorse a method of raising money for Seed for Life which is really easy, and which is still possible in the current circumstances.

It is over year since we registered Seed for Life with easyfundraising. We currently have 10 supporters who have raised over £50 in that time, but I think we can improve on that because I am sure there are more than 10 of our supporters shopping online!

Easyfundraising is a really simple way to raise money for Seed for Life when you shop online with over 4000 retailers like Amazon, Argos, John Lewis, eBay and M&S, and it’s completely free. The retailers pledge to give a percentage of the cost of your online purchases to your chosen charity.

Over £31 million has already been raised for good causes in the UK by easyfundraising shoppers, so please help us get our share!

If you haven’t signed up to support us yet, please consider it – it’s easy and completely free. These donations really help us, so it would be great if you could take a moment to get started.

Here is a link to our page:

Please remember to use easyfundraising every time you shop online.

If you think you might forget, then download the Donation Reminder from the website. It provides a pop-up reminder every time you shop online with any retailer who has engaged with the scheme.

Please encourage friends and family to register too. 

Any questions, please get in touch with me.

Thanks for your continued support for Seed for Life. 

Maggie Thorpe

June 2020

On behalf of all the Community in Bemvu can we send a big thank you to all the generous people who have donated so much time, effort and money to this project which not so long ago seemed to be so unachievable. WE ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE AND IT IS A GOOD FEELING.

Business Directory back in business

IN preparation for the tourist season making a very late start, I have reinstated the missing pages from the Business Directory and updated several of them. Please let me know if you have a business on Seil that is not listed, or if you would like an advert like the ones on the Self Catering page. 
Nick Bowles      

June Seileachan

June Seileachan

Seileachan June 2020The latest Seileachan is now available as a PDF – just click the image to view or download. 

The June Seileachan contains news from the Community Council and a note about issues concerning the golf course – especially dog fouling. Also the May and June Lottery results. If you prefer to read it in-page there is a transcription below:


Seil & Easdale Community Council Newsletter

Vol. 24 No. 2 June 2020

This issue is being sent to email addresses made available through clubs and societies etc (apologies for any cross-postings) and will also be available on local Facebook groups, such as Seil Survival and the Community Council facebook. The community Council has decided that house-to-house deliveries cannot be made.

A few paper copies will be available at the shop for those without access to the internet.

The Seileachan is also available on the community website: (together with full minutes and agenda) and on The Slate: http://the-slate.

Seil & Easdale Community Council has its own Facebook page: groups/758246257908565/ Contact: email hidden; JavaScript is required for additions to the Community Council’s email list, or any issues arising.

Copy for the next issue should be sent to the editor, Sue, by 31 July: email hidden; JavaScript is required

Although there could be no public meeting at the end of May, your Community Councillors are constantly in touch (remotely, of course) and we had invited people to contact us with any concerns or items to raise. Here are the issues identified:

Coronavirus update
We hope everyone is doing as well as can be expected in these very strange times, and please remember that help is at hand if you need it. Zim and Steve continue to help with deliveries of shopping and prescriptions, and of course Wendy and her team of helpers are doing a fantastic job supporting the community. Details of other help available is posted on our Facebook page and there is also lots of information on the Argyll & Bute website – just click on the Coronavirus banner.  

Buses and Coaches at Ellenabeich
As previously reported, we are grateful to all concerned for the agreement which enables the service bus to turn in the former Highland Arts car park for two years from April 2020. However, a long-term solution is needed, and provision is alsosought for tourist coaches. The Community Council would support any proposal that is feasible and would not attract significant opposition from local residents. We have now received a suggestion that the grassed area at Ellenabeich be used for bus/coach turning and short-term parking, but using grasscrete blocks to address concerns which had been raised about the loss of this green area – see grassblock.html * PLEASE GIVE US YOUR VIEWS on this proposal.

We would like to thank the crews for doing a fantastic job in keeping this vital service going at such a difficult time. The recycling centre at Moleigh is now open, but please read the guidelines on the CC Facebook page before going as there are limitations on what people can take.

New Wastewater Treatment Works Status: awaiting decision
Full details of Argyll & Bute Council’s Planning Application Report and Report of Handling are available on the Argyll & Bute Planning website. The recommendation is that Members: i. Agree to a hearing prior to formal determination

  1. Agree to a hearing prior to formal determination
  2. Endorse the findings of the ACE (Area Capacity Evaluation)
  3. Determine that Planning Permission should be granted subject to conditions.

Footpaths & Sea Access
We received a suggestion to pursue funding for footpaths in light of the UK Government’s Cycling & Walking Investment Strategy. The CC are considering this as a future agenda item.

Road Safety
The CC has received many messages and emails regarding speeding on the island, in particular at Clachan Seil where a 30 MPH limit is in place. As an interim measure the CC will purchase some signs for Clachan Seil. As with the ones at Balvicar, these will be moved from time to time to help people to notice them more often, and hopefully slow down. Whilst the CC have some ideas about further efforts to address this issue, we would welcome ideas and suggestions from residents.

A resident has reported to the CC that knotweed is present in the woodland opposite Alma Cottage. We would like to remind landowners that they are responsible for eliminating knotweed if it is on their property.

Please do not trap rabbits and release them in another location as this just creates difficulties for others. Ideas welcomed for how to manage this problem.

Roads & Bridges
We have been advised that Clachan Bridge had an inspection in March 2019 and no weight restriction is recommended. The next inspection is due in 2021. Kilninver Bridge is inspected more regularly, following repairs carried out in 2011. No movement outwith seasonal tolerances has been detected, but the bridge continues to be monitored regularly due to its importance in the network.

Following concerns from local residents, the CC responded to Prior Notification AGRICULTURE ref 20/00618/PNAGRI Erection of agricultural building, Oban Seil Farm. Full details, including the Community Council’s response, are on the Argyll & Bute planning portal.

CC AGM – to be held at future date (tbc).

 Community Council By-Election
This would have been held in May but has been postponed; we will advise once we have a date. Please consider standing. If you care about what goes on in the community, and want to know more about being a community councillor, please just ask!

SSEN Grant
The CC applied to Scottish & Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) for a grant to support the community through Covid-19 and were delighted to be awarded £1,550. So far we have delivered a small gift, card and artwork produced by local children to members of the Lunch Club, and we are arranging activity boxes for children as well as help in printing school materials. We want to support as many sections of the community as possible so please contact the CC if you know of a local initiative that could benefit.

The hall committee can now make electronic payments both to businesses and individuals – including lottery winners. This is a purely voluntary option but may be easier for many people, especially during the present crisis. Lottery winners this year will be contacted to check their preferences. More details, if required, from John Colston at email hidden; JavaScript is required

May Lottery winners

 £50 Ruth Brittain-Dodd

£10 Geordie Lawson, Bob MacMahon, Mary Philips

June Lottery winners

£50 Bridget McGregor

£10 John Wilson, George Houston, John Chrostan


The Isle of Seil Golf Course reopened on Friday 29 May 2020 under phase 1 of Scottish Government and Public Health Scotland Corona Covid 19 easing of lockdown procedures. All golfers and walkers on the course are advised to adhere to these measures on physical distancing and safe conduct. Please be aware of the danger of being hit by a ball. Our volunteer greenkeepers and members are keeping the course in excellent condition. The wooden bridge has been repaired and painted. New members are welcome, but in this initial period we are not allowing visitors and will not be running competitions.

We are grateful for the income from Supporter Members. Beginner Adult and Junior Coaching one-to-one may be available. Please contact Mary Phillips (300475) or secretary, Pat Mill, at email hidden; JavaScript is required (300087).

During the course closure, walkers and greenkeepers have noticed increased amounts of dog fouling. These faeces create a serious Public Health problem. All faeces contain bacteria eg Salmonella, E.coli and Campylobacter (even in healthy dogs) which can cause gastrointestinal upsets if ingested. The greatest health risk from dog faeces to humans is Toxocariasis. The roundworm parasite eggs responsible for Toxocariasis can survive in sand or soil for many months. Transmission to humans from bacteria and parasites is easy from a disseminated pile of faecal material on lawnmower blades, soles of shoes, and balls and can be transmitted by flies and direct contamination of hands. All dogs on the golf course should be watched and on a lead.

All dog faeces must be cleared up by the dog walker, placed in a bag and disposed of in a rubbish bin. Argyll & Bute Council are aware of this public health risk from dog fouling. All walkers and golfers are asked to be vigilant and may report any witnessed dog fouling to the police. If this dog fouling persists dogs will no longer be allowed to be walked on the golf course.