Eigg receives £1.2 million for Community Hub project

A mock up of the new tearoom/cafe area that residents and upwards of 11,000 visitors to the island each year, can enjoy. Photograph: WT Architecture

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The island  bought by islanders in 1997 will rebuild and improve its community hub thanks to the Regeneration Capital Grant Fund (RCGF).

The fund for people from disadvantaged and remote rural communities distributed more than £23 million this year and the Eigg Community Hub redevelopment will get £100,000 for 2020/21 with the rest coming in the next financial year.

Stewarded by the Isle of Eigg Heritage Trust, the island has a population of 110 and the original community centre – built in 1998 – is struggling to cope with locals and 11,000-plus annual visitors.

Becca Long, project manager for the community hub, told the Lochaber Times the news of the funding is very exciting for the community.

She continued: ‘An Laimhrig is the heart of the community, the biggest shared resource, the economic, social and heritage hub; it brings the community together.

‘An Laimhrig means point of anchorage, safe harbour, and that is exactly what it has been for Eigg’s community.

‘The size and scale of the development is designed to support the needs of a community growing in confidence and number, facilitating increased economic opportunities for islanders, a social heart, promoting inclusion, integration and cohesion; encouraging Eigg’s younger generation to imagine a future on their home island.

‘It will also help the community take another step forwards in our journey towards becoming carbon net zero.’

The hub will create eight new jobs, support 25 existing ones and regenerate old buildings.

Sam Foster, the architect who did initial drawings for the hub, has worked extensively with people on the island who are now working with WT Architecture.

Mr Foster said: ‘Eigg is populated by the most positive, welcoming, can-do minded people I’ve ever met.

‘Their energy and enthusiasm for major infrastructure projects like the hub project, and affordable housing that I’ve worked with them on, are essential components of their eventual success.

‘It was a real privilege to work with residents and businesses on the island.’

 

Eigg received the largest sum of money of the three projects included in the RCGF this year. Other projects were the Inverasdale Community Centre at £291,265, and the Staffin Slipway Redevelopment at £969,000. There were 25 awards across Scotland this year.

The regeneration fund, that is part delivered by the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA), will have delivered over £160 million of investment since it was set up in 2014.

The fund is open, on a competitive basis, to applications from all 32 Scottish local authorities, urban regeneration companies, and other special purpose vehicles.

An independent investment panel agrees recommendations to Scottish Ministers and COSLA on projects to be offered grant support.

COSLA’s environment and economy spokesperson, Councillor Steven Heddle, said: ‘The Regeneration Capital Grant Fund continues to provide local authorities with an invaluable tool to help deliver on the regeneration aspirations of the communities which they represent.

‘The range of projects reflects the need for localised approaches to help regenerate communities across the country, all of which will help deliver strong economic, social, and physical outcomes.

‘Continuation of the Regeneration Capital Grant Fund for the remainder of the Parliamentary term emphasises the joint commitment of Local Government and Scottish Government to regenerating deprived and disadvantaged communities, and I look forward to seeing what further  innovative projects come forward in the future rounds of this fund.’