Plan to ‘Build a better Balivanich’ knocked

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A community company, set up to ‘build a better Balivanich’ may be forced to shut down due to a lack of support from local residents.

The Benbecula North Community Company (BNCC) was set up at the beginning of 2014 by a group of volunteers who have been working behind the scenes to take forward some major projects including the set up of a Youth Cafe.

However after several appeals for more help from the community, the Directors have taken the decision to call an Extraordinary General Meeting later this month with a view to dissolving the company.

In a statement the Directors said they had not taken this decision lightly but despite their appeal for support, they had not received any expressions of interest.

In a statement to the Gazette, the Directors explained that during 2014 several successful events were held including a Winter Fair, two community clean ups and a Christmas occasion and they had also assisted in fundraising for the refurbishment of a Sensory Garden in Balivanich.

They had worked hard on what was to be their first major project - a Youth Cafe.

They said: “As a first major project we hoped to gain funding to set up a Youth Cafe with a soft play area in a dedicated space within Balivanich.

“We obtained funding for fact-finding trips to similar projects in Harris and Barra and held surveys to gauge support for the project.”

A weekly Youth Cafe has now been established and they say the numbers attending show a need for this facility. They had hoped to have established permanent premises for a nightly cafe.

The impetus for the set up of the Company was always to improve life for local residents as they added: “The Community have identified a need for additional facilities for young people, hence the choice of our first project.

“Generally, employment opportunities can be few and far between and often they are short term and funded. This is something BNCC would have hoped to address if we had become more established.”

The current position is hugely disappointing for the Directors who had high hopes for the Company and plannedto pursue projects to improve road safety, including access to the school; better street lighting; better signage and access to beaches; improved facilities for children and young people; and much more.

The EGM on February 27th at 7.30pm in Balivanich Hall is potentially the end of the road for BNCC unless a number of people come forward.

The Directors have agreed that if the outcome is as expected, the residual funds will be then donated to three local charities which must be agreed by the membership at the meeting.

The community is now being asked to nominate local charities to benefit either by email to or by leaving a comment on their Facebook page