Windfarm windfall

Tolsta Community Development committee with Co-operative manager Steven Cooper and one of the vouchers being distributed.
Tolsta Community Development committee with Co-operative manager Steven Cooper and one of the vouchers being distributed.

Christmas has come early for Tolsta residents who are now reaping the benefits of their first community wind farm dividend.

The turbine has been generating electricity since August last year, and through its trading subsidiary, Tolsta Power Ltd, community funds have been paid to Tolsta Community Development Ltd for distribution within the Tolsta community.

Every household in Tolsta will receive a voucher for use at Co-op stores worth £200.

TCD secretary Murdo Maciver said: “What we decided was we’d give vouchers to each household and it was up to them to use them as they please.

“It’s just to celebrate the first income from the turbine. The first dividend was originally planned for January, but we brought it forward for a bit of Christmas cheer.”

The vouchers will be handed out next week, and split a fund of £45,000 between 225 homes, excluding holiday homes and vacant houses.

Murdo said the installation of the turbine has been a long process, but it’s been worth the wait.

He continued: “There will now be a community fund set up with an application process for anyone in the Tolsta community who wants to use the money.”

Tolsta Community Development Ltd has in the past weeks supported a number of organisations within the Tolsta area; the main beneficiary being the local shop and Post Office with support of £2,000. The shop building is owned by Tolsta Community Development Ltd and is run as a separate business by Buth Tholasdaith.

Other organisations which have benefited are Tolsta School £1,000, the Golden Oldies £450, the Community Council £450, the annual fireworks display £200 and the local children’s play park P.A.C.T. which received funding of £2,000.

TCD chairman Murdo Maciver said: “The issuing of these vouchers marks the realisation of an eight year vision, a vision which at times seemed impossible to achieve.

“I am proud of the people of Tolsta for the drive and ambition they showed in allowing this project to go ahead.

“I am particularly proud of the group I worked with. If only for the dogged determination they had in making this dream come true.

“Our aims now are to protect this asset and create funding for all the people of New, North and Glen Tolsta for any developments they wish to see realised.”