Community and cultural development

New National Lottery scheme to make the Outer Hebrides a Great Place

The Outer Hebrides is celebrating an injection of £200,000 to help shape its future development thanks to a National Lottery scheme which puts heritage at the heart of regeneration.

The Great Place scheme is funded by Heritage Lottery Fund across the UK, responds to the specific needs of Scottish places from city and island-wide initiatives to rural areas. The funding places heritage at the heart of creating better places for people to live and visit.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar was successful in securing the funding and worked with Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) to propose the work which will generate new links between heritage, arts and tourism to build economic growth.

Community heritage organisations, landowning trusts, arts organisations including An Lanntair and Taigh Chearsabhagh, and tourism sector group Outer Hebrides Tourism recognised the need to work together to tackle economic challenges and gave their support to the application.

The Great Place Strategy will propose actions both in the short-term and over a ten-year period which can deliver change for communities across the Outer Hebrides, with development and consultation work starting this summer.

Cllr Donald Crichton, Chairman of Sustainable Development at Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, said: “I am delighted that we have been able to secure this funding from The National Lottery’s new Great Place Scheme. The funding will help develop projects and collaborations centred on the islands’ unique culture and heritage to address issues such as poverty, employment, health and education.”

Commenting on the announcement, Lucy Casot, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, said: “You can’t imagine the Outer Hebrides without it’s lovely scenery, spectacular beaches, traditional Gaelic communities and ancient historical sites. Heritage and culture gives the place a unique identity and makes it special for the people that live there. It’s the roots if you like. This scheme will show how building on those roots can have a hugely positive impact on the local economy in terms of health, employment and education, as well as well as instilling community cohesion and pride.”

Rachel Mackenzie, HIE Area Manager, said: “We are to delighted to hear of the award and look forward to working in partnership with the Comhairle to develop a Great Place Strategy that realises the economic potential of our unique heritage assets. We also acknowledge the input from community organisations in taking the proposal forward and intend for this productive relationship to continue as the strategy develops.”

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