Two organisations in the Outer Hebrides have recently been successful in securing a total of £840,000 from the Big Lottery Fund, it was announced today (Tuesday January 16th).

Western Isles Community Care Forum received £90,000 from Big Lottery Fund’s Improving Lives Medium Grants.

This organisation will use its three-year grant to continue to support informal carers throughout the Western Isles.

They will offer training in manual handling, personal foot care, administration of medication, signposting to other relevant agencies, practical and physical demonstrations, and emotional and social support. This will help carers to feel less isolated and more resilient, allowing them to continue caring for longer.

Urras Coimhearsnachd Bhradhagair agus Arnoil received £750,000 from Big Lottery Fund’s Community Assets.

This group will refurbish the former primary school in Bragar that closed in 2012 and was taken into community ownership in 2014.

The refurbished Grinneabhat centre will include a café, kitchen, community space, exhibition space and a 10-bed hostel.

It will help to improve the sustainability of the local economy, tackle social isolation and loneliness particularly among older people, create employment opportunities, and encourage young people to stay in the area and reverse the trend of falling population.

Big Lottery Fund Scotland is focussed on distributing National Lottery Good Cause funding to help people and communities most in need throughout Scotland. This is through its five-year £250m main funding scheme as well as through its small grants scheme, National Lottery Awards for All Scotland.

They say that: "Through Community Assets we are focused on helping local communities to address specific inequalities or disadvantages through ownership of an asset. We are looking for strong applications which:

  • Are rooted in the community, are genuinely community-led and give the community a stake in local decision-making
  • Are connected to other organisations and services in the community
  • Show clearly the changes that will take place and why this is the best way to deliver these changes
  • Show the developments will be economically sustainable once our grant has ended.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan welcomed today’s award to Urras Coimhearsnachd Bhradhagair agus Arnoil (Bragar and Arnol Community Trust).  The Isles MSP has previously written in support of the project and met with the Trust.

Alasdair Allan commented: “I am very supportive of the bid by the community in Bragar and Arnol to transform the old school and I am delighted to hear about today’s announcement from the Big Lottery Fund.

“I know the benefit such an ambitious project will bring to the local community, and I know that there is a strong desire amongst the residents to ensure that the building, where many generations of the community were educated, should continue to be used as a community asset.

“This is really positive step forward for the project and I congratulate the group on getting this successful award.”