Ulva Ferry housing project wins award

Helen MacDonald, local development officer with MICT, Scottish Government Housing Minister Kevin Stewart and Moray Finch, general manager with MICT.

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A project to create affordable family housing and increase the school roll at Ulva Ferry has won the housing category in the prestigious 2017 SURF Awards.

In 2010, Ulva Ferry on the west coast of Mull had an ageing and declining population and Ulva Primary School was facing closure. A key factor was the lack of affordable housing for young families.

The community formed the Ulva School Community Association in 2011 and, working with Mull and Iona Community Trust, instigated the Ulva Ferry Housing Project.

Six years later, the community has built two three-bedroom homes, delivering the first affordable rental housing to be built in the area for decades. They are now home to two families, each with three young children, which has helped secure a future for the school.

Local people have been involved at each stage of the project, with the interests of the wider community at the heart of each decision made. The success of the project has strengthened the community’s appetite for more affordable housing development to further secure the longer term future for Ulva Ferry.

Last week the project was recognised in the SURF Awards for Best Practice in Community Regeneration. The SURF Awards scheme is delivered in partnership with the Scottish Government, with additional support from Architecture & Design Scotland, Creative Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), Scotland’s Towns Partnership, and Skills Development Scotland.

Moray Finch, manager of Mull and Iona Community Trust, said: ‘We are delighted that the impact of the Ulva Ferry housing project on the local community has been recognised by the SURF judging panel. We could not have achieved this without the support of Highlands and Islands Enterprise which has funded our local development officer since 2011.’