MAJOR upgrade works to Lochboisdale Harbour, South Uist, will go ahead this year as the final slice of funding has been secured through a Big Lottery grant of nearly £1million.
The £996,000 award to community landlords Storas Uibhist will enable the entire harbour area to be developed and extended, creating a whole new world of commercial opportunities, not just for the village for the whole island.
Angus MacMillan, Chair of Storas Uibhist, said: “WE welcome this announcement from the Big Lottery Fund and for their support in realising the Lochboisdale Regeneration project. “The grant represents the last part of the funding package, meaning a long-held aspiration of the local community can now proceed.”
The project will see new roads built, as well as a causeway linking Lochboisdale to Gasay Island and new development sites for business and housing will be created.
Continued Mr MacMillan: “The project reflects what can be achieved by community ownership and we are delighted that we can commence with the construction of the development in 2012.
“The investment made by BIG today reflects the strategic importance of this project to the community of Lochboisdale and the wider Uist population in developing a long-term strategy for economic regeneration for decades to come.
“We thank the Big Lottery Fund for their support at this time and in the South Uist Estate community purchase, which led us to this,” he added.
And the islands’ older residents are also set to benefit from another Big Lottery Fund award with £133,693 going to Caridean Uibhist – a scheme which has been supported by BIG since 2004 and helps socially isolated older people on North and South Uist and Benbecula feel re-connected to their communities.
Sheena Stewart, Project Co-ordinator, said: “It can be really difficult for people who live along in remote areas as they often have limited access to transport, family and friends.
“So we are absolutely delighted to have been awarded this substantial sum of money from the Big Lottery Fund which allows us to maintain and further develop our befriending support over the next five years.”
Commenting on both projects, Big Lottery Fund Scotland Chair, Maureen McGinn, said: “These projects for island communities will make a positive difference to the lives of people on these islands in quite different ways.
“Our investment in the Lochboisdale Regeneration project builds on the previous support that we’ve given to the community as part of the South Uist Estate community purchase.
“This is an important, ambitious project which has enormous potential to support the future economic development of the island.”
Ms McGinn continued: “Caridean Uibhist carries out vital work in identifying and befriending older people across the Western Isles who may feel cut off from friends, family and the community around them.
“Supporting these vulnerable people is a difficult task, but we know that this excellent project will be able to build on the good work already carried out on the islands in bringing communities together.”