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Old Leverhulme School building block with hills in background

New lease of life for old school building in South Harris

Published: 01/12/2020

A community project to create a multi-use hub for local people and visitors in South Harris has been awarded £41,700 by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

Six people standing in front of former Leverhulme Primary school in Leverburgh

The old block at Leverhulme Memorial School is now in the hands of the community and plans are progressing to create much needed local services.

Planned developments include a community café, gym, Post Office, laundrette, charity shop and an exhibition space for the local comunn eachdraidh (historical society).

Leverhulme Community Hub received the keys for the block this week, 100 years after the village of Obbe (An t-Òb) was renamed 'Leverburgh' by the industrialist Lord Leverhulme who built the old school building in 1925.

HIE’s investment will help purchase and install commercial laundry equipment, providing a local service and creating an income for the community hub.

The money will also support the group to commission professional services to help get the second phase of the project off the ground. Once developed, the new hub will be used by community groups, clubs and visitors and is expected to create four new jobs. Two part-time staff have been recruited, initially working from home and will move to the hub building when it’s ready. 

Rose Bugler, development manager at HIE's Outer Hebrides area team, said: “This is a fantastic project by the community of South Harris that will provide a range of benefits to the area for many years. The group’s progress despite the pandemic has been impressive and this new facility will strengthen the community’s resilience. We are very pleased to provide support and look forward to seeing the project take shape.”

Angus Macleod, chairman of Leverhulme Community Hub, said: “The development of Leverhulme Community Hub will contribute substantially to the regeneration of South Harris and beyond. The creation of a multi-purpose facility for use by locals and visitors alike is much needed.

“As the building purchase is complete, it is a timely occasion as we mark 100 years since Leverburgh was re-named by Lord Leverhulme, who built the old school building and many others in the area. We are grateful to HIE for this grant, which has assisted us financially and for the advice we have received from them throughout each stage.”

During the COVID-19 lockdown, a survey took place with members of the public, which found that 98% of residents were in favour of community ownership of the building.

A team of 50 local volunteers have signed up to help with the running of the hub in the future. Local fundraising through quizzes and curry nights for the hub commenced by the steering group in 2016, generating £23,000 to date. Catering equipment has been donated by Macdonald Hotels, The Anchorage Restaurant has donated chairs and tables for the café and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (CnES) has donated gym equipment.

Funding of £49,167 was announced in September by the Scottish Land Fund and enabled the building to be bought by the community following a discounted sale by CnES as well as repair works and a part-time post to advance the work in the months ahead.

It is expected that the first phase of work on the Leverhulme Community Hub (charity shop, gym, laundrette and the Comunn Eachdraidh - Historical Society) will commence later this month (December) with a view to opening in spring 2021.

Beatha ùr don t-seann togalach sgoile an Ceann a Deas na Hearadh

Chaidh £41,700 a bhuileachadh le Iomairt na Gàidhealtachd ’s nan Eilean (HIE) air  pròiseact coimhearsnachd co-cheangailte ri ionad ioma-adhbharach a chruthachadh do mhuinntir na coimhearsnachd agus luchd-tadhail do Cheann a Deas na Hearadh.

Tha an t-seann bhloc ann an Sgoil Cuimhneachain Leverhulme a-nis ann an làmhan na coimhearsnachd agus tha planaichean a’ dol air adhart gus seirbheisean ionadail mòr-èiseil a chruthachadh.

Am measg nan leasachaidhean a thathar a’ planadh, tha cafaidh coimhearsnachd, talla-spòrs, Oifis Puist, ionad-nigheadaireachd, bùth carthannais agus àite taisbeanaidh don chomunn eachdraidh ionadail.

Fhuair Ionad Coimhearsnachd Leverhulme na h-iuchraichean don bhloc an t-seachdain-sa, 100 bliadhna an dèidh do bhaile-beag an Òib a bhith air ath-ainmeachadh gu Leverburgh leis an neach-gnìomhachais, am Morair Leverhulme, a thog an t-seann togalach sgoile ann an 1925.

Cuidichidh an tasgadh aig HIE le uidheamachd taigh-nighe coimearsalta a cheannach agus a chur an sàs, a’ solaradh seirbheis ionadail agus a’ cruthachadh teachd-a-steach don ionad coimhearsnachd.

Bheir an t-airgead taic don bhuidheann le seirbheisean proifeiseanta a choimiseanadh gus cuideachadh leis an dàrna h-ìre a thòiseachadh ’s a chur an gnìomh.

Aon uair ’s gum bi an t-ionad air a leasachadh, thèid a chleachdadh le buidhnean coimhearsnachd, clubaichean agus luchd-tadhail agus thathar a’ sùileachadh gun cruthaich e ceithir obraichean ùra. Tha dithis luchd-obrach pàirt-ùine air an trusadh mar-thà, ag obair bhon taigh an toiseach agus a’ gluasad chun an ionaid nuair a bhios e deiseil.

Thuirt Rose Bugler, manaidsear leasachaidh aig HIE: “Is e pròiseact mìorbhaileach a tha seo le coimhearsnachd Ceann a Deas na Hearadh a chruthaicheas raon de bhuannachdan don sgìre airson mòran bhliadhnaichean. Tha adhartas a’ bhuidhinn a dh’aindeoin a’ ghalair-sgaoilte air a bhith ion-mholta agus neartaichidh an goireas ùr seo fulangas na coimhearsnachd. Tha sinn air leth toilichte taic a thoirt seachad agus tha sinn a’ coimhead air adhart ris a’ phròiseact fhaicinn a’ tighinn gu bith.”

Thuirt Aonghas MacLeòid, cathraiche Ionad Coimhearsnachd Leverhulme: “Cuiridh leasachadh Ionad Coimhearsnachd Leverhulme gu susbainteach ri ath-nuadhachadh Cheann a Deas na Hearadh agus nas fhaide air falbh. Tha feum mòr air goireas ioma-adhbharach mar seo a chruthachadh airson a chleachdadh le muinntir na coimhearsnachd agus luchd-tadhail le chèile.  

“On a tha ceannach an togalaich dèante, ’s e àm math a th’ ann airson 100 bliadhna a chomharrachadh on a chaidh an t-Òb ath-ainmeachadh leis a’ Mhorair Leverhulme, a thog an t-seann togalach sgoile agus mòran eile san sgìre. Tha sinn taingeil do HIE airson an tabhartais, a thug taic ionmhasail dhuinn agus airson na comhairle a tha iad air a thoirt dhuinn tro gach ìre.”

Rè glasadh COVID-19, rinneadh suirbhidh le buill den phoball, a lorg gun robh 98% den luchd-còmhnaidh airson sealbh fhaighinn air an togalach leis a’ choimhearsnachd.  

Tha sgioba de 50 neach saor-thoileach sa choimhearsnachd air a thighinn air adhart gus cuideachadh leis an ionad san àm ri teachd. Thòisich an sgioba stiùiridh air togail-airgid don ionad le farpaisean-ceist agus oidhcheannan coiridh ann an 2016, a’ togail £23,000 gu ruige seo. Fhuaireadh tabhartasan de dh’uidheam còcaireachd bho Thaighean-òsta MhicDhòmhnaill, sèithrichean agus bùird don chafaidh bho Thaigh-bìdh an Anchorage agus uidheam don talla-spòrs le Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (CnES).  

Chaidh maoineachadh de £49,167 ainmeachadh san t-Sultain le Maoin Fearann na h-Alba a rinn e comasach an togalach a cheannach leis a’ choimhearsnachd, a’ leantainn air reic lasaichte le CnES a thuilleadh air obair càraidh agus obair aon neach pàirt-ùine gus an obair adhartachadh sna mìosan a tha ri teachd.

Tha e san amharc gun tòisich a’ chiad ìre den obair air Ionad Cuimhneachain Leverhulme (bùth carthannais, talla-spòrs, ionad-nigheadaireachd agus an Comann Eachdraidh) nas fhaide air adhart air a’ mhìos seo (an t-Samhain), a’ sùileachadh ri fosgladh as t-earrach 2021.

 

 

 

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