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The Iona Community has completed phase one of its refurbishment project in Iona Abbey and needs a final £400,000 by the end of 2018 so that the residential and community space can reopen in time for Easter 2020.
During 2018, the Iona Community’s accommodation and facilities on the island have been made more accessible for visitors: bathrooms have been replaced to suit people with disabilities, a lift has been installed and lighting has been improved to create a safer environment in the 1930s accommodation.
The volunteers and staff on the island have now started packing up the building so that phase two of the project can begin: linking the centre to the island’s renewable energy resources, installing a sustainable heating system, replacing electrics and refurbishing the bedrooms, bathrooms and the refectory.
The Iona Community has raised over £3.3 million for the capital project on the island. More than 1,300 individual donations, ranging from £2 to an unexpected £882,000 from the Ark of the Covenant Church through the Charity Commission. In excess of $1 million was donated from friends and foundations in the USA.
The community now needs £400,000 by the end of 2018 to minimise how long the abbey accommodation is closed to guests and the resulting impact on Iona’s economy.
Reverend Kathy Galloway, co-leader of the Iona Community, said: ‘The generosity of our members, friends and associates has made this progress possible, and we now just need help crossing the line of our fundraising campaign.
‘The Iona Community welcomes around 1,500 guests to the island each year, and we want to welcome people from all walks of life for generations to come.
‘Raising the final £400,000 will mean we can complete and equip the living and community space and minimise the impact our closure has on the island’s economy.
‘In the long-term, improved heating and insulation will mean we can extend our season to welcome more visitors and volunteers each year. At the moment, many rooms are too cold to use past October and before March.
‘We need help now to cross the line so that we can safeguard Iona Abbey as a living place of hospitality, and ensure that thousands more people can visit this special place seeking sanctuary and inspiration.’