A total of £2.1m worth of funding for two projects in the Western Isles has been awarded as part of the Regeneration Capital Grant Fund by the Scottish Government.
Of that, £368,338 has also been awarded to the Grinneabhat Project to redevelop the former school in Bragar, which closed in 2013. The project has been developed by the community through extensive consultation and will involve the building undergoing a full refurbishment to include an exhibition space to showcase historical and cultural displays and local artists’ work.
And £1,800,000 has been awarded to the Cnoc Soilleir project for the establishment of a new state-of-the art modern building for Gaelic and cultural heritage in South Uist, including Gaidhlig language, music, dance and education. The building has been designed to become a local focal point for the community and visitors. It is a joint venture between Ceòlas and Lews Castle College UHI.
SNP MSP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar Alasdair Allan said:“I am really pleased that both of these projects have been able to secure this funding from the Regeneration Capital Grant Fund.
“Ceòlas and Lews Castle College have developed impressive and ambitious plans for a centre for Gaelic music, dance and culture at Cnoc Soilleir. The project will have a significant role in helping with the revitalisation of the Gaelic language in Scotland, while creating jobs and increasing cultural and educational activity in Uist.
“There has also been a strong desire within the community in Bragar to see the school continue as a community asset. This project has the potential to bring great economic benefits to that part of Lewis and I have been supportive of it in my capacity as local MSP.”
Both the awards come following development support from Comhairle nan Eilean Siar. Councillor Donald Crichton, Chairman of the Comhairle’s Sustainable Development Committee said: “The funding secured will help deliver two excellent projects that create innovative learning, cultural engagement and enrichment of the Gaelic language and cater for sustainable employment and many other benefits for the respective local communities.”
Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) is supporting the Bragar project with a grant of £100,000. Rachel Mackenzie, area manager at HIE, said: “It’s good news that new jobs will be created at the Grinneabhat Centre and that it will build on work to promote and celebrate the community’s rich Gaelic cultural heritage. We are pleased to be working with the group in their plans and look forward to seeing the transformation of the school.
The Regeneration Capital Grant Fund is administered through the Scottish Government’s Social Justice and Regeneration Division, having been developed in partnership with COSLA and its member Councils. An annual budget of £25m – open only to applications from Scottish local authorities - provides financial support to deliver eligible projects that deliver large-scale improvements to deprived areas locally.
(Additional information from CnES and HIE has been added since the post was first made.)