The Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael has welcomed the news that coastal towns and villages across Scotland will benefit from £9.58m of UK government funding through the Coastal Communities fund.
In the Western Isles Stornoway Port Authority received £250,000 to create a floating heavy duty pontoon in Stornoway Harbour of a sufficiently large and high standard to attract and accommodate superyachts and small cruise ships that until now have not viewed the Western Isles, Scotland or indeed the UK as potential cruising ground.
The project aims to generate local employment though additional visitor numbers and expenditure.
Tighean Innse Gall has received £495,419 to support and improve energy efficiency and promote the use of renewables for B & B’s, self-catering and small tourism related businesses throughout the Western Isles and promote the islands as an eco-tourism destination.
Uist Wool has received £125,000 to construct a wool centre and drying loft at the existing mill creating an interpretative area, workshop, office, amenities, and passive solar drying loft.
It is hoped the project will secure jobs through enterprise and tourism throughout the islands communities.
Vatersay Community Association has received £220,000 to contribute to the upgrade and extention of the community hub on the Island, creating a unique multi-purpose centre incorporating first class community and visitor facilities to create and sustain jobs, support marine development and encourage future business opportunities.
Lochboisdale Community Development has received £221,973 to transform redundant quayside space in Lochboisdale in South Uist into a vibrant and commercially productive area.
Capital works will enhance and develop the quayside ensuring that it is easier to access by all and a pontoon will provide access to the water. Digital interpretation screens will provide cultural and heritage information for visitors and involve the local community in producing the content for these digital pods.
The overall plan will incorporate a seating area, shelter, landscaping and a viewpoint feature to help create the space as an attractive destination boosting tourism and local business.
Barra & Vatersay Community Ltd has received £698,568 to install a set of pontoons in Castlebay Harbour for the use of the local water sports clubs, local residents and visiting yachtsmen to improve access to marine pursuits and increase the safety of water sports participants.
The project will directly benefit the existing water sports clubs and yachtsmen and will indirectly benefit the local shops, hotels and cafes by encouraging more visitors to the island due to the increased facilities available.
Secretary of State for Scotland Alistair Carmichael said: “I warmly welcome the Chief Secretary’s announcement. These projects are standout examples of the ambition, creation and innovation which exists within Scotland coastal communities.
“From Castlebay to Stornoway, the scope of these successful projects across Na h-Eileanan Siar underline what the Coastal Communities Fund is all about. On so many occasions the best ideas for improving lives, creating jobs and boosting the economy in coastal communities, come from the people who live there. This substantial funding from the UK Government highlights our support to ensure these ideas become reality.
“This announcement builds on the work the UK Government is undertaking through the historic Islands Framework where we are ensuring our island communities are well represented in our policy making on important issues such as grid connections.”
Pictured is the opening of new marina facilities at Stornoway Harbour last year, and with the annoncement of this new funding, the harbour will soon appeal to an even wider group of yachting enthusiasts.