West Side development project is set to start as contractor is appointed

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The Bragar and Arnol Community Trust has announced today (Tuesday) that a contractor has been appointed to undertake the redevelopment of Grinneabhat on the West Side of Lewis.

O’ Mac Construction Ltd will be undertaking the work at the former Bragar School which will see the creation of enhanced community facilities for events and meetings, along with a hostel, an àite cèilidh café and a launderette.

Work is expected to begin in May with completion due in early summer 2020.

The project will be managed by Tighean Innse Gall (TIG) on behalf of UCBA, and Brian Chaplin, Chairman of TIG said: “Urras Coimhearsnachd Bhràdhagair is Àrnoil have put a lot of hard work into making the case for and securing funding for their community hub project and TIG is delighted that we have been able to provide the Trust with project management support and advice.

“Our Management Committee congratulate the Trust on reaching this stage of their project and we wish them every continued success with their plans.”

The project has received support from a wide range of local and national organisations including the National Lottery Community Fund, the Scottish Government’s Regeneration Capital Grant Fund (with support from Comhairle nan Eilean Siar), the Climate Challenge Fund, HIE, the Robertson Trust, Bòrd na Gàidhlig, the Scottish Communities Landfill Fund, Western Isles Development Trust, and also the Aspiring Communities Fund supported by the Scottish Government and European Social Fund.

Since purchasing Bragar School in 2014 the local community have also undertaken various fundraising events to ensure a sizeable contribution to the project costs.

While the building is closed events will continue using halls in the neighbouring areas. Office staff currently based at Grinneabhat will also be moving to new temporary premises.

Catriona Campbell, Chair of Urras Coimhearsnachd Bhràdhagair is Àrnoil, said: “We are delighted to have reached the point where work is about to begin on what will be a new chapter for the building and for the communities of Bragar and Arnol.

“This is a project which is deeply rooted in the local community, but which will also be of value to the wider community in the Western Isles.

“I would like to thank all the organisations who have supported us, but especially the people of Arnol and Bragar for their huge voluntary effort and generous donations which have helped get us to this point.”

Mark MacDonald, Managing Director of O’ Mac Construction Limited said: “We are delighted to have secured the contract for the redevelopment of Grinneabhat and we look forward to working with the Bragar and Arnol Community Trust and TIG to provide the community and other users with quality facilities that they can be proud of.”

To celebrate the ending of one era and the beginning of another UCBA will be staging special community events at Grinneabhat on Friday 19 and Saturday 20 April which will include a cèilidh featuring talented musicians and singers from the local area.

Those attending will also get the opportunity to meet with representatives from Tighean Innse Gall and project architects Whyte and McGinn, to get an insight into the work involved in the refurbishment.