Six community councils in the Highlands are in danger of being permanently disbanded after the failure of recent election efforts.
For many years, they have been the voice of their respective areas, weighing in on planning matters and engaging with the council.
Community clean-ups, protecting the environment and securing new businesses have all fallen under their remit.
But Cradlehall and Westhill in Inverness; Spean Bridge, Roy Bridge and Achnacarry; Tannach and District and three in Skye – Uig, Glendale and Waternish – failed to attract the numbers needed and therefore remain in abeyance.
There will be another chance to re-establish them later in the year, but if they remain unsupported after that, they will fold permanently.
The loss of a voice in areas facing significant challenges has prompted concern from residents engaged in community work, particularly in Skye.
In Uig, which is in the midst of a massive harbour redevelopment, Billy Harley of the Uig Trust described it as a ‘desperate shame’.
He said: “The community council is a mouth piece for the community and a route to Highland Council, especially at a key time for Uig with the development of the pier.
“Uig Trust has taken a lead on this, but there are many things the community council does such as monitoring housing development that we simply can’t take on.”
In Waternish, community hall chairwoman Jill Lopez said her community has multiple challenges.
She said: “The community council felt chronically ignored by Highland Council, particularly when it came to the impact of tourism especially on roads.
“There has also been concern about a plague of building plans for family homes in Portree that turned out to be Airbnbs.
“Nothing was done about things the community council brought forward and people got fed up.”
Mrs Lopez said Waternish hall would take over responsibility for the Remembrance Day service.
“But things like the community council’s regular beach cleans have gone,” she said.
Inverness South councillor Duncan Macpherson used to chair Cradlehall and Westhill community council.
He said the most recent elections were poorly advertised and it would only need another two or three people to come forward and bring the body out of abeyance.
“The community council helped deliver the new pharmacy, street lighting for paths and campaigned for developer contributions from the 300 Balloch homes,” he said.
“It campaigned about the Tower Road junction with Culloden, saved oak trees from being felled and always kept an eye that things were clean and tidy.
“We need younger people to step up now. It’s only six or eight meetings a year and you get lots of support from your local councillors and Highland Council.”
Meanwhile, eight community councils have successfully re-established after the elections: Caithness West, Caol , Dalwhinnie, Glenfinnan, Inshes and Milton of Leys, Mallaig, Portree and Braes.
Postal ballots will now be held for Rogart and Strathnairn community councils as they received more nominations than their maximum membership.