£145k award for Colonsay business units

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A £500,000 project to develop two new business units in Scalasaig on the Isle of Colonsay has secured up to £145,000 from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

The project is being taken forward by Colonsay Community Development Company (CCDC) following a feasibility study to assess demand.

The energy efficient units will provide opportunities for new businesses to establish a presence on the island or enable existing businesses to expand.

Ten jobs are expected to be created during the construction period and the leasing of the units is expected to lead to a further eight jobs being created.

The two workshop units will be 67 square metres and built on land bought by CCDC with support from the Scottish Land Fund and HIE.

They will be three metres high with floors capable of carrying loaded vehicles. Each will have an insulated roller shutter door, a window and personnel door, as well as toilet and tea preparation area.

Morag Goodfellow, HIE area manager for Argyll and the Islands, said: ‘Like many of our rural areas and island communities, there are both challenges and opportunities on Colonsay. We have been working with CCDC for many years, supporting its work in strengthening community resilience on the island.

‘I am very pleased we have been able to support this latest initiative and look forward to seeing the new workshops play a key role in supporting economic activity on the island.’

Colonsay is accessed by ferry from Oban, which runs daily in the summer and three times a week in winter. There are currently around 135 residents but like many rural areas, retaining population on Colonsay is challenging and depends on several factors including economic opportunities.

CCDC is working to advance community development, education, training and skills, as well as housing provision, while sustaining the natural environment.

Caroline Seymour, project co-ordinator with CDCD, said: ‘We have reached the point where we can now see real progress on the ground as we work towards a sustainable community and economy for the people of Colonsay. The new commercial units will be providing fresh opportunities for businesses that we have not seen here for many years.’