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New community business centre for Galson Estate

16 February 2011

Work starts this week on an energy efficient business centre for Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn (Galson Estate Trust) which is supported by HIE.

The £850,000 development is also part funded by the Big Lottery's Community Assets programme and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and will include a new office for the trust as well as storage for the estate records and croft archive.

Meeting spaces will be available for community groups in the area and a specific area for crofters' markets will give producers the opportunity to showcase what they have to offer.

The centre will boast its own wind turbine, electric car with charging point and provide a much needed service for visitors and the community.

Local contractors Alex Murray Construction will build the multifunctional centre which aims to become a hub for business activity within the fragile area.

The 56,000 acre estate includes the 20 crofting townships, from Port of Ness to Upper Barvas with a population of around 3,000. In January 2007 the community took ownership of one of the biggest estates in the Outer Hebrides which was made possible with funding from HIE and the Big Lottery Fund's Scottish Land Fund as well as money raised from the community.

The area maintains strong links with the international Gaelic community and is at the forefront of progressing Gaelic culture and arts. A ranger has been in post for around six years and is already delivering considerable benefits to the wider community, facilitating sustainable management of the natural environment.

HIE has been working closely with the estate through its account management process and over the next three years will assist in its ambitious plans to improve opportunities for economic growth. The priorities are to create jobs, reduce local food miles by encouraging new croft based producers to sell locally, and to lower the carbon footprint by using renewable energy technologies.

The trust is currently advertising for a Local Development Officer, supported by HIE, to work with them and the wider community to develop and implement a community growth plan which will take account of opportunities for enhancing the social, economic and cultural welfare of the local area.

Lisa Maclean was recently appointed as the trust's Commercial Development Manager. This post which is supported by HIE will progress a number of initiatives including the new building, a camping site and a wind turbine development.

HIE's Head of Communities in the Outer Hebrides, Jane Macintosh, said: "Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn is now another step closer to realising its ambition of a sustainable future, with work commencing this week on the new building. Further ambitious developments are underway including promotion of tourism and environmental improvements to provide real benefits to both the community and the estate.

"The area faces challenges, but is showing signs of positive change and an upturn in population. The trust aims to continue to encourage this growth and the business centre will provide sufficient revenue to fund future projects."

Agnes Rennie, chair of the Urras Board of Directors, said: "We are delighted that a local firm has started work on the new facility. The building is located in the village of Galson and will be central to all parts of the trust area. The community has great potential and we hope the new business centre and support from our staff will provide an added incentive for economic development in the area. We have been keen from the outset to work with partners to realise that potential and the new centre will mark a significant milestone in that regard."

Councillor Archie Campbell, Chair of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar's Sustainable Development Committee, said: "The Comhairle is pleased to support the business centre and to contribute £50,000 from the Community Regeneration Fund. The business centre will be a valuable local asset for the community and visitors alike. "

The business centre has been possible with support from various organisations including BIG Lottery Fund, HIE, Leader, Community Energy Scotland, Climate Challenge Fund, and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.

Gaelic release

Ionad gnìomhachais ùr do choimhearsnachd Ghabhsainn.

Tòisichidh obair an t-seachdain seo air ionad gnìomhachais lùth-èifeachdach do Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn le taic bho Iomairt na Gàidhealtachd is nan Eilean (HIE).

Anns an leasachadh £850,000, a tha air a leth mhaoineachadh le prògram So-mhaoin Coimhearsnachd a' Chrannchuir Mhòir agus le Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, bidh oifis airson tasglannan croitearachd an urrais, seòmraichean cruinneachaidh agus raon sònraichte airson margaidean nan croitearan ann, a bheir cothrom do luchd-toraidh na th' aca ri reic a thaisbeanadh.

Cuideachd, bheir an t-ionad seirbheis air a bheil luchd-turais agus a' choimhearsnachd a' cur feum mòr, agus bidh e uidheamaichte leis an roth-gaoithe, a' charbad dhealain agus leis a' bhun-dhealanach aige fhèin.

Togaidh Alex Murray Construction, an t-ionad ioma-ghnìomhach a tha ag amas air a bhith na fhìor chridhe gnìomhachais anns an sgìre chugallaich seo.

Tha an oighreachd de 56,000 acair a' gabhail a-steach 20 baile croitearachd, eadar Port Nis agus Barabhas Uachdrach, le àireamh-shluaigh mu thimcheall 3,000. San Fhaoilleach 2007, ghabh a' choimhearsnachd seilbh air aon de na h-oighreachdan as motha ann an Innse Gall. Chaidh aca air seo a dhèanamh le maoineachadh bho HIE agus bho Mhaoin Fearainn a' Chrannchuir Mhòir, a bharrachd air airgead a chaidh a thogail sa choimhearsnachd fhèin.

Tha ceanglaichean làidir aig an àite ri coimhearsnachd eadar-nàiseanta na Gàidhlig, agus tha e air ceann leasachaidhean air cultar agus ealain na cànain. Tha maor oighreachd air a bhith na dhreuchd a-nis bho chionn sia bliadhna agus tha sochairean ann mu thràth don choimhearsnachd mhòir mun chuairt, le rianachd sheasmhach na h-àrainneachd nàdarra air a chur an gnìomh.

Tha HIE air a bhith ag obair gu dlùth ris an oighreachd tron mhodh rianachd cunntais aige agus cuidichidh iad leis na h-àrd-amasan aca sna trì bliadhna seo ri thighinn, gus cothroman fàis a thoirt don eaconamaidh. Tha prìomhachas ga thoirt do chruthachadh obraichean, lùghdachadh astar bìdh ionadail le bhith a' brosnachadh chroitearan an cuid toraidh a reic san sgìre, agus do ìsleachadh làrach an truaillidh le bhith a' cleachdadh teicneòlasan lùtha ath-nuadhachail.

Le taic bho HIE, tha an t-Urras a' sanasachadh an-dràsta airson Oifigear Leasachaidh Ionadail a bhios ag obair còmhla ris an urras agus ris a' choimhearsnachd mhòir gus plana fàis a leasachadh agus a chur an gnìomh. Bheir am plana fainear cothroman gus leas sòisealta, eaconamach agus cultarach na sgìre a mheudachadh.

Bho chionn ghoirid, chaidh Lisa Nicilleathain a chur an dreuchd Manaidsear Leasachadh Malairt an urrais. Cuiridh an dreuchd, a tha a' faighinn taic bho HIE, air adhart grunn iomairtean, nam measg an togalach ùr, làrach campachaidh agus leasachadh air rothan-gaoithe.

Thuirt Sìne Nic an Tòisich, Ceannard Coimhearsnachdan HIE: "Tha an t-urras a-nis ceum eile nas fhaisge air adhart gus a rùintean a thaobh seasmhachd san àm ri teachd a thoirt gu buil, agus obair a' tòiseachadh air an t-seachdain seo air an togalach ùr. Thathar a' gabhail os làimh tuilleadh iomairtean adhartach, nam measg brosnachadh turasachd agus leasachadh air an àrainneachd airson a bhith a' toirt bhuannachdan ceart rìreamh don choimhearsnachd agus don oighreachd.

"Tha dùbhlain mu choinneamh na coimhearsnachd, ach tha coltas ann gu bheil piseach a' tighinn agus gu bheil àireamh an t-sluaigh a' fàs. Tha an t-urras ag amas air brosnachadh a thoirt don fhàs seo agus thig na dh'fhòghnas de theachd-a-steach às an ionad ghnìomhachais airson a bhith a' maoineachadh phròiseactan teachdail."

Thuirt Agnes Rennie, cathraiche Bòrd Stiùiridh an Urrais: "Tha sinn air leth toilichte gu bheil companaidh ionadail air obair a thòiseachadh air a' ghoireas ùr. Tha an togalach suidhichte ann am Baile Ghabhsainn agus bidh e an teis meadhain sgìre an urrais. Tha comas air leth aig a' choimhearsnachd agus tha sinn an dòchas gum bi an t-ionad gnìomhachais ùr agus taic bho ar luchd-obrach nam brosnachadh a bharrachd do leasachadh eaconamach san sgìre. Bho thoiseach tòiseachaidh, bha sinn airson a bhith ag obair còmhla ri com-pàirtichean gus an comas sin a thoirt gu buil agus bidh an t-ionad ùr na chlach-mhìle chudromach a thaobh sin."

Thuirt an Comhairliche Eairdsidh Caimbeul, Cathraiche Comataidh Leasachaidh Sheasmhaich Comhairle nan Eilean Siar: "Tha a' Chomhairle toilichte taic a chumail ris an ionad ghnìomhachais agus £50,000 a chur ris à Maoin Ath-bheothachaidh Coimhearsnachd. Bidh an t-ionad gnìomhachais na ghoireas tarbhach mar aon don choimhearsnachd agus do luchd-turais."

Thugadh comas don ionad gnìomhachais le taic bho ghrunn bhuidhnean, nam measg BIG Lottery Fund, HIE, Leader, Community Energy Scotland, Climate Challenge Fund, agus Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.

 


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