Hello and welcome to the July issue of the Voice for Arran. It’s a busy time here – the start of the summer holidays and a month jam packed with activities and summery things to do! We have a wide range of previews for you, ranging from book readings and concerts, to film screenings and farm open days. And in the middle of the month is the first Maker’s Festival at Brodick Castle. There are loads of crafty workshops organised for all ages so head to the Castle between the 12th – 14th July.

For readers not on Arran and unable get to these upcoming events, you can read about news from the Stop the Fish Farm Expansion campaign. The recent highlight, which brought June to a close, was the last leg of Georgina Lepley-MacLean’s swim around Arran. Starting at the beginning of the month (with breaks in between) she came into a misty and thundery north Sannox point on Saturday 29th June.  A massive achievement, Georgina set about this swim to show her opposition to the proposals of the Scottish Salmon Company to develop a huge fish farm in this area.

The work of this campaign touches upon the themes that Heather Alberro discusses in her article Utopianism Inspires Change. Heather talks about the place of intentional communities and how groups of people throughout time have striven for a better future than the current conditions of the present seem to permit.  Utopianism does not have to mean a fantastical and unreachable paradise but through hard work and sometimes extra human effort, can be the way in which communities make change. Another community in Arran which is working against the social, economic and environmental status quo is Woodside farm. Visit them on their Open Days later this month, as their vision to establish a model of sustainable, resilient and self-sufficient community-led regenerative agriculture is inspiring.

As well as previews aplenty, we have a few other pieces including some reports from Arran’s local MP and MSP, Patricia and Kenneth Gibson, and a post at the end of the issue to highlight an unexpected and worrying visa refusal for Arran resident Lizanne Zeitman. A petition has been set up calling for her right to remain in the UK, which you can sign here.

Finally, our much loved technical editor John Baraclough’s time at the Voice has come to an end and we want to say a massive thank you for his amazing commitment and work over the years. Fortunately we have found a lovely new ‘techie’ which means we will be able to bring the Voice to you for some time into the foreseeable future!

Have a great month, and enjoy the issue.