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The community-backed Bùth Bharraigh in Castlebay is entering a new chapter – with a major public appeal for £6000 in funds to develop their work that has been going from strength to strength since its inception 10 years ago. 

Bùth Bharraigh grew from the Island Markets which were set up by Barra and Vatersay Producers Association in 2000 and it is now moving to purchase the building (the former Scottish Co-op building in Castlebay) which has been rented for the past nine years after a successful Community Asset Transfer appeal. 

Bùth Bharraigh had another successful year in 2022.  Producer sales were in excess of £58,000 and accommodation income resulting from bookings made through the Bùth generated another £50,000 for the local economy. 

Over and above this the Bùth spent over £43,622 with Barra and Vatersay businesses and another £22,460 with other businesses in the Outer Hebrides.  Bùth Bharraigh currently has four full-time members of staff and 22 volunteers.

At the AGM on Thursday 26 January, the next stages of their development were laid out.  Plans for the building were drawn up in 2017.  However, since this time the Bùth has developed Barra and Vatersay Visitor Information service and material costs have increased significantly so the plans and pricing needs to be revised. 

The money to buy the building has been set aside but funding is required to help with architect, pricing and conveyancing fees. 

So last night (Friday) they launched a crowdfunder campaign to help with these costs.

Once the plans are in place and the building has been purchased then there will be a fundraising drive to raise the money to renovate the building.

All those interested in the journey can follow on social media or subscribe to their website for updates.

Bùth Bharraigh is a community owned social enterprise and as well as being a route to market for producers and running visitor information it also provides other goods, services and activities for the local community.

The appeal states: “The premises will be renovated into a sustainable building which meets our needs and will continue to be a central hub in Castlebay for both the community and for visitors to the islands.

“Once the building is bought and plans drawn up then we can start our big fundraising appeal for our renovation.

“It is exciting and we are extremely pleased about improving this building and to be continuing our work.

“Bùth Bharraigh is a social enterprise, established in 2013 and been successfully running for 10 years.  We are a community shop, route to market for local products and visitor information service for Barra and Vatersay.  

“We are a sustainable business and put £10,000's back into the community each year through producer sales, accommodation finding service and our buying local policy.  

“We are the 2022 Highlands and Islands Independent Food and Drink Retailer of the Year and have won many other awards.”