PRESS RELEASE: ADDITIONAL £2M FUNDING FOR HIGHLANDS AND ISLANDS INVESTED THOUGH GROWING COMMUNITY ASSETS PROGRAMME
Communities on the Western Isles and on the Isle of Muck are set to be the latest in the Highlands and Islands to benefit from investment though the Big Lottery Fund, following the decision to invest in three projects on the islands.
Three islands based projects have secured over £2m from a total package of £6.9m of investment which has been announced today (Wed 4th April) in Scotland.
Big Lottery Fund Scotland Chair, Maureen McGinn, said: “These three projects for island communities will make a positive difference to the lives of people on these islands in three quite different ways. Though our Growing Community Assets programme, we’re investing in the infrastructure of Muck and South Uist, to allow communities to own and develop their own assets.
“Our investment in the Lochboisedale Regeneration project builds on the previous support that we’ve given to the community as part of the South Uist Estate community purchase. This is an important, ambitious project which has enormous potential to support the further economic development of the island. We’re proud that through our Growing Community Assets programme we’ve been able to build on our initial funding and, through a further grant, help develop the land already purchased by the community. It’s important to BIG that our funding programmes are flexible enough to be able to support development in this way.
“Thanks to Lottery Funding, Muck islanders will soon have access to electricity 24 hours a day, and not the 10-hour supply that they currently receive. The community also hopes that a constant electricity supply will help attract further economic development to the island, creating jobs and securing the future of the people and families who live there.
“Caridean Uibhist carries out vital work in identifying and befriending older people across the Western Isles who may feel cut off from friends, family and the community around them. Supporting these vulnerable people is a difficult task, but we know that this excellent project will be able to build on the good work already carried out on the islands in bringing communities together.”
Residents on the Isle of Muck will soon have a reliable, affordable electricity supply on tap thanks to a grant of £978,840 to the Isle of Muck Community Enterprise Ltd. Currently the island’s power supply comes from a diesel generator, which only operates for 10 hours each day. Now the 38 islanders will be able to enjoy the benefits of electricity being available round the clock for the very first time.
Mark Johnson, member of the project’s steering committee, said: “The Isle of Muck community was absolutely delighted to hear of the award from the Big Lottery Fund, it is difficult to express how much this means to us. As one of the few islands that are not connected to the National Grid, we have been existing on just a few hours of electricity a day. This award will allow us to have a continuous electricity supply using clean, sustainable, renewable sources for the great benefit of the community and the environment. It will hugely change our lives for the better and allow our population to stabilise and grow, safeguarding the community on Muck for years to come. We’d sincerely like to thank the Big Lottery Fund for this investment in our future.”
Residents of Lochboisdale on South Uist are waking up to the news that, thanks to an award of £996,000 to Stòras Uibhist, the entire harbour area will now be able to be developed and extended, creating a whole new world of commercial opportunities, not just for the village but for the whole island. New roads will be built, a causeway will link Lochboisdale to Gasay Island and new development sites for business and housing will be created.
Angus MacMillan, Chairman of Stòras Uibhist: “We welcome this announcement from the Big Lottery Fund and for their support in realising the Lochboisdale Regeneration project. The grant represents the last part of the funding package, meaning a long-held aspiration of the local community can now proceed. The investment made by BIG today reflects the strategic importance of the project to the community of Lochboisdale and the wider Uist population in developing a long- term strategy for economic regeneration for decades to come. The project reflects what can be achieved by community ownership and we are delighted that we can commence with the construction of the development in 2012. We thank the Big Lottery Fund for their support at this time and in the South Uist Estate community purchase, which led us to this.”
Older people living in some of Scotland’s most remote communities will continue to be helped by a much needed volunteer befriending project as the Big Lottery Fund announces an award of £133,693 to Caridean Uibhist. The project, supported by BIG since 2004, helps socially isolated older people on North Uist, South Uist and Benbecula feel re-connected to their communities.
Sheena Stewart, Project Co-ordinator, said, “It can be really difficult for people who live alone in remote areas as they often have limited access to transport, family and friends. So we are absolutely delighted to have been awarded this substantial sum of money from the Big Lottery Fund which allows us to maintain and further develop our befriending support over the next five years.
“This funding will enable us to continue to support older people to retain personal independence by offering opportunities for social interaction, increasing and retaining knowledge and skills and continued inclusion in the life of the community.”