Big Lottery learning from the Western Isles

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Today (Monday 7 March) sees the Big Lottery Fund (BIG) Scotland Committee begin a two day fact finding trip to Lewis and Harris.

The visit will see members of the ten-strong body visit BIG funded projects, meet with community leaders and local politicians to discover more about the area’s unique needs and understand why and how Western Isles projects are successful in gaining Lottery funding.

Across the Western Isles the Big Lottery Fund has had a huge impact on the lives of local people with £5.67 million in BIG funding invested across the Isles through it’s main funding programme, Investing in Communities, since 2006, working out at an average per person of £214.

Big Lottery Fund Scotland Chair, Alison Magee, said: “It’s great to be here in the Western Isles. As the Committee responsible for making Big Lottery Fund decisions we believe it is important to take our meetings across Scotland so that we can see for ourselves the impact of this funding on local communities. Over the last five years communities here have had much success in putting together excellent projects and winning vital funding from us.

“There is much that others across Scotland can learn from the approaches taken here, not only in terms of the kind of projects being funded but in the way communities really shape themselves and work together for everyone’s good – that’s what we’re here to understand and learn more about.”

The two day visit will conclude with Scotland Committee’s regular monthly meeting hosted by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and held in the council chambers in Stornaway tomorrow afternoon.

On the agenda are visits to Co-Chomunn na Pairc’s Ravenspoint Centre, the North Harris Trust, Barvas and Brue Community Centre, the Clan McQuarrie Community Centre, GAIN Eoropie Dunes Park, Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn - Galson Estate Trust Business Centre as well as meetings with key members of other Big funded projects.

In December Co-Chomunn na Pairc received £248,526 from the Big Lottery Fund (BIG) to extend the Ravenspoint Centre in Kershader and today Big Lottery Fund Scotland Chair, Alison Magee visits the project to hand over a specially commissioned Gaelic plaque.

John Randall, chairman of Co-Chomunn na Pairc (the Pairc Community Co-operative), said: “We are delighted to host the Big Lottery Fund Committee, give them a tour of our site so they can see construction is underway and going to schedule.

“Not only will the improved facility allow us to safeguard and improve our community shop it will offer much more attractive facilities for local people and visitors alike, building on the area’s outstanding resources of landscape, wildlife, history and Gaelic culture.”

Pictured above John Randall Co-Chomunn na Pairc Director accepts the first ever Gaelic Big Lottery plaque from Alison Magee BIG Scotland Chairperson. SGD. 22266