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Cammy Maccallum Roofing And Aideen on the roof of Kerrera Old School

Islands Green Recovery Programme

How communities are 'greening' their development projects

£2 million for locally-led green recovery

Island communities have benefitted from a Scottish Government £2 million programme of locally-led green projects designed to help support economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Islands Green Recovery Programme, announced in the Programme for Government was delivered in four strands and managed by four partners - Inspiring Scotland, Zero Waste Scotland, Energy Savings Trust, and here at HIE - delivering investment in low carbon transport, food sustainability and zero waste projects.

Applications are closed. Here are some of the communities who accessed the funds.

Inside Kerrara Old School looking towards stain glass window and wooden beams


Community organisations developing new opportunities often face the challenge of breathing new life into traditional buildings. The Isle of Kerrera residents, in the Inner Hebrides, have been able to get their redevelopment off on the right environmental foot, thanks to the IGRP.

The fund has supported the Isle of Kerrera Development Trust (IKDT) with £94,000 to reroof and fit bespoke new windows to its 1870s former school building. Having been largely unused for 20 years it was cold, draughty, and barely habitable.

The group bought the existing building in 2019, and with significant investment required, IKDT faced the daunting challenge of raising over £500k. IGRP monies delivered through HIE came at the just the right time, enabling high spec Crittall windows to be fitted and the essential work to replace the roof to be carried out as part of Phase 1, making the building wind and water-tight and preventing further decay.

It’s a huge step forward in creating a user-friendly, flexible and energy efficient community space. Coupled with this, the group has acquired an area of land known as the ‘School Knoll’ on which they will site a marquee for larger community events and outdoor activities.  

This assistance has dramatically helped our project at a crucial time. Having a new roof, completed to such a high standard, is a huge step forward in creating a much-needed community hub on the Isle of Kerrera.
Aideen Shields, project co-ordinator, project co-ordinator, Isle of Kerrera Development Trust

Shapinsay Development Trust - decarbonising affordable island housing

Changing how we heat island homes can bring a wide range of benefits. A recent IGRP investment in the Isle of Shapinsay in Orkney is addressing fuel poverty, helping support the island’s population and playing an important part in recovery post COVID-19.

Shapinsay Development Trust has decarbonised two recently purchased community owned affordable homes. They have replaced the old heating systems with Air to Water Heat Pumps, double glazing, interior wrap around insulation, replacement floors with damp-proofing and LED lighting.

Collectively these energy efficient measures will reduce overall tenant costs of around £1,500 per annum.  The affordable homes will reduce combined CO2e of 247 tonnes per annum.

We're delighted to receive this funding.  It has enabled us to provide high quality, energy efficient affordable homes. The tenants benefit from energy savings, addressing fuel poverty on the Island, and we're creating a positive environmental impact.
Jean Coomber, Chair, Shapinsay Development Trust
Westray (1)

Orkney Horticulture Cluster Feasibility

Supply chains for fresh fruit and veg can be challenging when you’re an off-mainland Orkney island. The IGRP funding is supporting a project across seven Orkney communities with £40,000 to explore innovative growing methods to boost productivity, and enhance local food security.

The project has carried out a joined-up community consultation and developed detailed feasibility studies for horticulture on North Ronaldsay, Papa Westray, Westray, Eday, Sanday, Stronsay and Shapinsay.

Community, academic and supply chain stakeholders have been involved in assessing markets, and reviewing the land, energy, horticulture and human capital assets of each island.

Open and covered systems of horticulture and potential enhancements have been investigated. This includes everything from additional light and heat, to more sophisticated trials of vertical farming techniques, including hydroponics - growing fish as well as plants in an integrated system. Eday has explored the feasibility of growing and processing microalgae as a protein supplement for cattle. Crop selection, including potential cash crops, have also been looked at with synergies drawn from across neighbouring islands.

Having identified the best solutions, detailed proposals are now being drawn up for new infrastructure.

Shetland Bressay IGRP

Bressay Development Ltd - decarbonising Old Bressay School

As a central hub for community life in the Shetland Isle of Bressay, Old Bressay School is seeing its carbon footprint transformed thanks to IGRP.

Bressay Development Ltd has replaced heating systems, and installed a Solar PV array and extensive loft insulation in the older part of the recently acquired old school. Four Air Source Heat Pumps, servicing different zones of the building are powered by roof mounted Solar PV units.

Collectively these measures reduce the overall energy costs by more than 53%, saving c.£6,000 per year. The building’s carbon emissions are also reduced by 24.8t CO2e per year. 

The impact of the overall investment is expected to prepare the building for increased and more sustainable use as a dynamic hub by the community and visitors. The Hub will continue to play an important part in the island’s recovery post COVID-19.

We’ve all been delighted by how much more comfortable the building is for us, our staff and visitors. It is too early to see the full effects, but our kWh’s have reduced considerably.
Beatrice Lowe, Secretary, Bressay development Ltd

Sleat Community Trust - Armadale Stores

A major redevelopment at the community-operated Armadale Stores in the south of Skye has been able to deliver a better, cheaper to run, decarbonised building at the heart of its community, thanks to the IGRP.

The fund has supported Sleat Community Trust to reintroduce decarbonisation measures which they had reluctantly been forced to shelve from their wider £1m project. Armadale Stores provides vital community services, including a petrol station, post office, grocers shop, Trust office and meeting space, and a small garage which is let to a private operator.

Enhanced specification and use of external, internal wall and floor insulation will deliver improved heat retention, with an air source heat pump (ASHP) and solar PV panels providing clean renewable sources of heating for the facility. The project is supporting the local green recovery and will realise renewable energy produced of 3,587 kWh/yr and CO2 savings in supported business of 9.8 tonnes.


We can now look forward to reduced bills and less impact on the environment, which is in keeping with our aims at the Trust to reduce our carbon footprint.
Mike Shucksmith, Sleat Community Trust


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