£3m for community projects

Bendoran pic

Projects across Scotland have benefitted from new funding, including a Victorian spa and a seaweed factory

19th September 2019 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

A restored Victorian spa near Dingwall is to pass into community hands following a grant of £484,550 from the Scottish Land Fund (SLF).

Strathpeffer Spa Pavilion, built in the 1880s following the discovery of sulphurous springs, will now continue to play an important role at the heart of the village where it helps to attract tourism and is a venue for weddings and community events.

The grant is one of those issued as part of the £3m fund, with a further nine projects across Scotland also gaining investment. 

Fraser Mackenzie, chairperson of Strathpeffer Pavilion Community Trust, said: “This is a remarkable day for the Pavilion. I'm sure the good news will not only be celebrated by the community of Strathpeffer but throughout the Highland and Island region that the pavilion has served for many years.  The support from the Scottish Land Fund will ensure that these local assets are brought back into single ownership, to be owned and run by the local community in a co-ordinated and sustainable way that maximises benefit to the people that live, work and visit Strathpeffer and the surrounding rural communities.

“This will contribute to the potential for Strathpeffer to become a focus for learning, culture and heritage within Ross-shire and throughout the Highlands.”  

It is estimated that the funding of £450,487 from the SLF to South West & Iona Development will lead to the creation of three full-time jobs, support local businesses and offer the potential for apprenticeships.

SWMID has ambitious plans to develop a community owned seaweed farm with shoreside processing at the two acre site, as well as provide space for a water-sports centre run by a social enterprise, a boat maintenance facility and moorings for local fishermen and visiting yachts.

Bendoran, on the Ross of Mull, was historically a boatyard and is known anecdotally as being one of the most sheltered anchorages on the west coast of Scotland – perfect for mooring fishing boats in the wild winter months, for teaching youngsters to kayak and for landing seaweed harvested from lines in nearby waters.

Famous for its dramatic coastal landscapes, iconic wildlife, and rich heritage of Gaelic language and Celtic art, hundreds of thousands of visitors flock to this beautiful part of Scotland every summer.  

However, the community of 675 people who live there permanently is among the 10% most deprived in Scotland in terms of access to health and other services. There is a shortage of affordable housing, an over-reliance on seasonal employment and a lack of skills training for youngsters.

The seaweed farm and water-sports centre will both create employment and training opportunities, giving a much-needed boost to an area that saw a 12% drop in working-age population between 2011 and 2017.