Island projects receive a boost through community fund

The Edinbane Centre will seek to breathe new life into the former village shop and petrol station.

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Three communities on Skye and one on Lewis are celebrating after they were awarded grants to support projects in their areas.

Glendale Community Housing Trust, Edinbane Community Company and Sleat Community Trust along with Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn are four of nine projects across Highland to receive a share of Crown Estate Scotland’s £970,000 Sustainable Communities Fund delivered through the Community Capacity Grant scheme.

Since its launch in 2020, a total of £600,000 has been distributed to a wide range of innovative projects across the country.

The latest successful Community Capacity projects, delivered in partnership with Foundation Scotland, include:

• Glendale Community Housing Trust, Skye.  Funding will enable the development of a plan to transform a disused complex of buildings at Borrodale School into six fuel-efficient, affordable homes in an area of severe housing shortage – £20,000.

• Edinbane Community Company, Skye. Money will help to develop a vision to re-open the vacant village shop. The plan is to transform the site into a community-run facility, with a range of services including food shop, toilets, and campervan waste disposal – £25,000.

• Sleat Community Trust, Skye. It is hoped to generate increased economic activity by establishing a campervan service point and cycle trail to attract visitors – £15,000.

•Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn (Galson), Lewis. Funding will support a tourism regeneration project focussing on the renovation of the Butt of Lewis lighthouse complex – £31,400.

On Skye, the Edinbane Centre will seek to breathe new life into the former village shop and petrol station, which has lain vacant for nearly 20 years.

Development worker Andrew Prendegast  said: ‘The community of Edinbane is excited at the prospect of once again having basic local amenities in our village – somewhere to buy food, groceries, and access vital post office services.

‘We acquired the old village shop site in 2020, and this award from Crown Estate Scotland will enable us to develop our plans for a new community-owned enterprise. These key local services will underpin Edinbane’s regeneration.’

Community capacity grants are open to communities up to five miles from Scotland’s coastline or within five miles of Crown Estate Scotland’s four rural estates, which are planning community enterprise projects that contribute to local regeneration and sustainable development.

Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon MSP said: ‘I am delighted to see the wide range of innovative projects being funded under the Community Capacity Grants programme.

‘These initiatives will make a real difference in their communities and the scheme underlines the importance of supporting rural economies to thrive and grow.’

Annie Breaden, head of policy for Crown Estate Scotland, added: ‘Communities are driving ambitious, creative, and innovative projects across Scotland.

‘We were extremely impressed by the range and quality of applications and Crown Estate Scotland is delighted to be supporting such important and positive projects.

‘These initiatives have the potential to make an enormous impact to these communities and the people who live in them, and we are looking forward to seeing how they progress.’

Applications for the next round of the Sustainable Communities Fund will open in summer 2022.