An estate on the Isle of Lewis will come into community ownership thanks to grants announced this week from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and Scottish Land Fund (SLF).
The Carloway Estate will purchase over 11,000 acres of land on the north-west coast of the Isle of Lewis that takes in over 200 crofts spread across seven townships including Callanish, Breasclete, Tolsta Chaolais, and a number of outlying islands.
SLF announced its support earlier this week and today (May 30) HIE announces a further £38,964 to the Carloway Estate Trust, the group managing the buyout of the estate which has a population of 648. This is another step forward for the future management of the Carloway Estate.
Alongside the SLF funding, HIE’s funding will focus on the employment of a Development Officer to take forward developments plans on the estate.
Announcing the support from HIE, the organisation’s Development Manager, Ingrid Galbraith, said: “Communities who buy their estates like North Harris, West Harris and Galson have enjoyed a new-found drive for regeneration and development once their land was in community ownership. HIE has been working with the Carloway community for two years, supporting them with the future management of the land, and helping them take forward their ambitious development plans.
“The acquisition of the Carloway Estate will allow the community to start many ambitious projects which aim to benefit the community, such as the development of tourism, housing and renewables to create a forward looking, empowered and resilient community.
Scottish Land Fund Committee Chair, John Watt, said: “We know from experience that communities can achieve great things when they own and manage local land and property.
“The Carloway Estate possesses a range of assets and has the advantage of being a popular visitor destination thanks to the Callanish Stones and Dun Carloway Broch, so there is great potential for tourism related development. This is one of two projects receiving funding today which reflect the pioneering steps people will take to address problems or challenges in their own areas.”
Kenny John MacLennan, Chair of the Carloway Estate Trust, said: "Carloway Estate Trust is absolutely delighted with the Scottish Land Fund and HIE grants announced today for the purchase of Carloway Estate on behalf of the community.
“This grant will now allow us to progress the formal aspects of the community buyout, and ultimately transfer the estate into community ownership. We would like to thank the staff at HIE and BIG Lottery who helped us through the process of being successful in receiving a grant from the Scottish Land Fund.
“The grants will be put to good use, primarily to pay for the estate, but also for legal costs and the employment of a Development Officer for a two year period to help promote estate development plans. This is great news for the Trust that started the buyout process less than two years ago.”
The Scottish Land Fund is funded by the Scottish Government and delivered in partnership by the Big Lottery Fund and HIE to support rural communities throughout Scotland to become resilient and sustainable through the ownership and management of land and land assets. The Carloway buyout has also received £30,000 funding from Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s Community Capital Grant Fund.