Garrabost Mill Trust is a step closer to making a community purchase of the Garrabost Mill with an announcement of a funding award secured from the Crown Estate.
This funding will cover purchase, legal costs and insurance associated with the community buy-out.
The Mill was built in 1893, in commercial operation until 1956 and has been in the ownership of the Morrison family for more than a century. It was still producing flour for sale in local outlets in the early years of this millennium. It's built on the site of one of the world's first oil refineries and using bricks from the former Claypark Brickworks.
Formed as a charity in 2021, the Mill Trust have conducted a number of community consultations including a 2021 survey of Garrabost residents which found that 78% of respondents favoured community acquisition of the Mill.
A wider Green Community survey of residents in Point and Sandwick villages indicated 70% support for community purchase and creating the Mill as a local visitor attraction.
A successful Open Day in September 2021 helped further community consultation and evidenced further support for this idea which was made to council officials and local councillors.
With the announcement of Crown Estate funding, the hopes of many in the community are closer to becoming a reality and there is optimism for retaining this unique example of local crofting and social history.
Mill Trust Chairman, Brian Chaplin has welcomed the news commenting, “We as a Trust are looking forward with great enthusiasm to the future of the Mill and realising our own aspirations to recognise and maintain this important building as a living piece of island heritage within the community.
"We are very pleased to be working with all parties to bring about investment in the Mill, its future and all that it represents of our past. Huge thanks to our three Point Councillors, Alasdair Macleod, Norman Macdonald and Finlay Stewart and staff and both Alasdair and Tony at Point and Sandwick Trust for all their support to date”.
Point and Sandwick Trust Community Consultant Alasdair Nicholson said of the grant announcement, “While the Crown Estates round was delayed from last year, a positive result substantially moves the agenda forward. The Mill Trust is now in a position to make a serious offer to purchase the Mill and to seek further funding to develop the site as a cultural asset reflecting its heritage and its place in the development of crofting in this part of Lewis”.