Isle of Gigha Heritage Trust
The island of Gigha was put on the market for sale in August 2001. After much debate and encouragement by the local MSP, George Lyon, and other bodies, it was agreed to launch a bid by the community to buy the island. This followed a democratic voting procedure by the community. A Steering Committee was formed with seven members, and with the help of excellent advisor, the process was initiated, the Isle of Gigha Heritage Trust was established.
With the help of the Scottish Land Fund, who were able to offer the Trust 3.525million, together with a grant from H.I.E of £500,000, it was enough to secure the Island. However, a condition of the grant for the isle of Gigha Heritage Trust was to pay back £1 million of the grant from the Scottish Land Fund by March 2004, £200,000 had to be raised through their own fundraising efforts. An onerous task for a community with a population of just over 100 people!
In true Gigha style, the islanders rose to the challenge. On 15th March 2002, the island was handed over to the Isle of Gigha Heritage Trust. Seven directors had been appointed by the membership after an election procedure, as well as a nominated director from H.I.E... A fundraising Committee was formed and the task began to pay back £1,000,000 on 15th March 2004.
In the meantime, the board of directors were working hard to take projects forward, much needed to re-generate the island. The trading Company Board of directors were working hard to ensure the smooth running of the Gigha Hotel, the holiday Cottages and the ground which surrounds them. The Playpark Committee were working to establish a desirable playpark for the island's children. The Paths Network were working to establish a network of walks for the islands visitors. Members were attending Computer Classes to enable them to contribute to the island web-site. The community spirit has been second to none and the confidence and commitment by members has grown enormously. All major decisions are put to Trust membership for a vote, ensuring inclusive management of the island. A Development Manager is in post, working on many initiatives – housing refurbishment programme, community owned windfarm, new businesses, restructuring of farmland and numerous other projects.
After much fundraising ranging from soup 'n' sandwich days, ceilidhs, sponsored slims, quiz nights, sponsored rows around the island and many more ventures, the £1,000,000 was paid back to the Scottish Land fund on 15 th March 2004. The sale of Achamore House raised the largest proportion of this.
At present the island is buzzing. New houses are being built, new businesses have been established, many islanders are returning to live on the island, wind turbines are to be erected and many more projects are in the planning phase. The achievements by this small island community have been exemplary and, at this stage in the process, far exceed expectations, which augurs well for the future.
For more information contact Lorna Andrew Project Administrator 01583 505390 firstname.lastname@example.org
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