West Harris Trust secures £1million grant for community facilities

West Harris Trust is to benefit from Big Lottery Fund grants announced today (Thursday).

The awards from the Big Lottery Fund Scotland’s Growing Community Assets programme will allow the Trust to build much needed community facilities.

Announcing today’s funding, Maureen McGinn, Big Lottery Fund Scotland Chair, said: “Our Growing Community Assets fund enables local communities to have more control and influence over their own future. Today’s funding for The West Harris Trust and Barmulloch Community Development Company will allow them to create amenities which benefit their communities through increased social and economic opportunities. These projects will support the wider regeneration of their local areas and I wish both organisations every success.”

The West Harris Trust is responsible for managing land on the west side of Harris. Today’s award of £1,090,247 will allow the Trust to construct a Community Enterprise Centre at Rubha Romagaidh, Horgabost that will provide a hub for community and social enterprise activities. It will include a hall, cafe and treatment room; as well as flexible office and studio space that can be leased by the arts and creative industries.

The site will also include a marquee on an outdoor deck, three campervan stances, community poly-tunnels and a children’s play area. Residents of West Harris will be able to take advantage of the new services as will the wider population of the island along with its estimated 20,000 visitors. The centre will create new jobs, host events and provide services that will benefit the local community and its economy, with the Trust intending to attract new young families to the area.

Welcoming the news, West Harris Trust Chairman, Murdo Mackay, said: “This extremely generous grant from the Big Lottery Fund completes the funding package for this ambitious project. It is a major milestone in the Trust’s work and the project will play a key role in retaining and attracting new people and businesses to live and work in West Harris.”

Fellow Director, Neil Campbell, added: “West Harris, although small in size, has big ambition to become a better place with increased population, more young families and local jobs. The completed centre will be a beacon of regeneration at the heart of a community that is renewing itself.”