More than £100,000 has been raised by the Western Isles Lottery for communities across the Western Isles since its launch in 2017.

The public are invited to attend the Lottery’s AGM on February 20th at 6pm in An Lanntair to hear more details of the Lottery’s operation and success.

Since the launch, £71,530 has been raised for a variety of innovative improvements, with all monies raised up to end December 2018 already distributed.  In addition, £28,887 in total weekly prize winnings has been shared out to over 200 happy Supporters.

The Lottery is now supported by over 2000 Weekly tickets and is steadily growing in numbers. With this current level of support, the Western Isles are on target to benefit from more than £85,000 during the coming 12 month period. 

A total of 12 local businesses have supported the venture and, in return, each one receives advertising on the official Lottery Site  with a direct link to their respective business. The Lottery site is also where Supporters register and purchase their tickets. All proceeds from ticket sales, stay in the local area where the ticket was purchased.

Support in each area fluctuates but as a result of most Supporters subscribing by Direct Debit payments, the level of fluctuation is minimal so approximate monthly payments to each area are relatively easy to predict.  This allows for planning of projects and quick implementation.

Stornoway Town Centre has been showcased at its best over the last two festive periods as well as during last year’s busy tourist summer season. Some of the improvements are permanent displays and this is being developed further by Stornoway Amenity Trust who receive Lottery proceeds for the area. The Library Lego Club was formed and the hugely successful Disney Day in September 2018 benefitted a variety of businesses in the town.  The Lottery Team are now in a position to extend funding for upgrades outwith the Town Centre during the coming year.

Eoropie Playpark, Carloway Community Centre, Westside Agricultural Show and Balantrushal Community Association have all benefited from funding in the Ness/Westside Area to date.

Uig Community Centre, North Lochs Community Centre and the new Keose Playpark have all benefitted from funding raised by supporters in the Uig/Breasclete/Lochs area with more presentations to be given.

Harris Voluntary Action replaced their festive decorations in Tarbert last year and have installed Hearing Loop Systems for those hard of hearing in local Community Centres.

Balivanich Playpark, Sgoil Lionacleit Pipe Band, Volunteering Uist and Ciumhne Sensory Garden Project all received funding and a new soft play centre is to open with funding at Claddach Kirkibost in the North of Uist.

Barra enjoyed new festive lighting, Xmas trees and the Herring Trail has been replaced. A community PA system was purchased and, recently, Northbay Swing Park received funding. On Vatersay, a wall is to be erected around the Annie Jane memorial shortly.

Malcolm and Janet Paterson, founders of the Lottery said: “It was impossible at the outset to predict how successful or otherwise the Lottery would have been as it is such an innovative venture. Without the dedication of Tony Robson, Emma Fraser and Shona MacLeod, the Lottery could not have been managed. And, crucially, without the support of locals registering and buying tickets, it would never have got off the ground. We are also grateful to all extended family and friends on the mainland who have also contributed to its success for the Islands.”

They added: “A huge thank you must go to the local businesses who have lent their support by financing our regular Bolt-On prizes to continue public interest in the Lottery and secure its ongoing success. A supporter in Uist scooped £1,000 in November and a Stornoway lady received £1,500 in January.

"Another lucky winner will receive £1,000 next month in addition to the weekly prize pot. Not only are supporters benefitting their own communities, they are winning cash prizes for their efforts! It is amazing how £1 a week each from a lot of folk adds up!”