Millions in funding announced

At the Stòras Uibhist AGM in Talla an Iochdar on Thursday June 30th the Chairman and Chief Executive reported on a hugely successful year of significant progress for the community company. Over 100 members and non-members attended the meeting where the Chairmans’ Report, business review, results of the Directors election, annual accounts and Audit report were presented to the community.

Estate management, crofting and drainage have continued to be a core focus of the staff at Oifis Stòras and the recruitment of a gamekeeping apprentice demonstrates long-term commitment to this area of the business.

Having completed coastal protection work at Kilphedar in conjunction with SNH, the township committee and local crofters during 2010, the community company is actively progressing plans for repairing the Smercleit outlet and a civil engineer is currently surveying the area.

The development projects continue to progress, notably the Loch Carnan Windfarm, which is scheduled for installation in 2012 and will deliver £20m of net revenue for re-investment in the islands of Eriskay, Benbeucla and South Uist over the next 20 years.

The Lochboisdale Regeneration project is currently progressing through the planning process and construction is anticipated to begin in early 2012, creating many jobs in the local construction sector.

Since the 2010 AGM Stòras Uibhist has secured almost £14m of grant funding and bank finance for investment in projects across the full range of activities that are covered by the company, including goose management, coastal protection, tourism promotion, Lochboisdale Regeneration and Loch Carnan Windfarm. Stòras Uibhist will continue to work closely with HIE, CnES, SNH, LEADER and Scottish Government to deliver these projects for community.

Auditor Gareth Magee, of Scott Moncrieff, also presented an unqualified Audit Report to the AGM for all of the companies within the Stòras Uibhist group, which reported a profit of £11,000 for the year 2010.

Angus MacMillan, Chairman of Stòras Uibhist said: “Only community ownership of these islands could have delivered investment and progress on the scale achieved in the four years since the historic buyout of the South Uist Estate. The long-term benefits delivered for this community will transform the Estate area, provide jobs, reverse population decline and sustain our crofting and Ghàidhlig heritage.”