Early Summer News Letter
New Fundraising Shop
The many weeks of consultation, negotiation, grant applications and hard work have paid off and UCT have been able to secure funding to look at the possibility of a community hub with office space and an upcycling shop. It is hoped that the empty shop premises on the corner of Quay St and Argyll St, and opposite the historic town clock, will be a bustling hive of activity by early July.
The board are delighted to announce that Stage 1 funding has been secured from the Scottish Land Fund, enabling the lease of the property for six months whilst conducting feasibility studies into the possibility of purchasing the premises for the community. It will enable UCT, Lochbroom Wood Fuels and Broompower (the community hydro scheme) to have a strong, accessible presence in the centre of the village whilst providing a much-needed fundraising shop for pre-loved and upcycled items with the potential for other innovative and imaginative ventures.
UCT have heard many representations lamenting the many empty shopfronts and the visual impact this apparent lack of life has on locals and visitors alike. It was also clear from the reaction to the closing of the Blythswood outlet that a fundraising shop was very high on the list of locals’ priorities. UCT are, therefore, looking forward to this new and exciting development and hope it will be widely supported.
New Engagement Officer
Interviews are being held this week to appoint a new UCT Community Engagement Officer. Both Tina Hartley and Lee Heaney, the UCT Project Officers, are leaving and UCT would like to thank them sincerely for all their hard work, commitment and expertise and to wish them well in their future careers.
Meanwhile, the case for Broompower, the community hydro scheme at Lael, is strengthening daily as Lochbroom Community Renewables announce a dramatic increase in Community Share sales with £118,000 of shares now sold. The full £900,000 need to be raised by the end of August in order for the project, which already has planning consent and FiT pre-accreditation, to receive the green light to go ahead. This would provide a source of clean energy and a dependable income stream for community projects. The shares scheme offers a secure return at 4% and money can be withdrawn again between 5 and 15 years after the scheme is connected to the grid (anticipated date for completion is winter 2017/18). Many investors prefer to place their finance in safe, local schemes rather than distant, anonymous banks. For further information and details on investment opportunities please see LBCR’s website at www.broompower.org.
After a Public meeting about Community Broad band, we have set up a working group to look at how the areas not benefiting from the new super-fast fibre in Ullapool can access a suitable Broad band speed. A study visit to Knoydart is planned and a pilot project based on Broad band provision for the Lochside and Leckmelm is being investigated.
If you have any views, comments or questions on any of the above, or if you would like to become involved, please do contact UCT, your community trust.