A letter from our community owner neighbours of the Isle of Gigha

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Following on the Community Land Scotland report the Corncrake asked the convener of the Gigha Heritage Trust, community owners of the island just to the North of the Kintyre peninsula how they are getting on.
Gigha was purchased from the Horlicks Family in 2002 for nearly £4M from public funds and community loans.

Convener of the Isle of Gigha Heritage Trust Margaret McSporran takes up the story:

Charting Gighas’ Progress
Gighas’ oxygen; our first wind farm, Gighas’ dancing ladies, Faith Hope and Charity continue to serve us well;  this year it has been a pleasure to celebrate that Harmony has now joined the troupe and is spinning to her own tune!
God’s Island has had the benefit of almost a decade of dancers and the pennies and pounds they contribute.

As an island, we are now at a population of around 156 residents including 12 Primary School pupils and 18   High School pupils.
A far cry from the population of 90 with 6 in the primary school 12 years ago.
The island, our people and, indirectly, our 30 + businesses continue to develop through the support of the islands assets.
We have internationally renowned gardens – providing a 4 star destination for tourists
Our Marine tourism facilities are expanding with the benefit of investment from Coastal Communities Fund and work with Crown Estates;
The Community Garden is providing plots for families who want to minimise food miles and maximise home grown.
The islands housing stock has been improved with 30 of the original 42 Estate, now Trust properties refurbished to habitable standard.
Further housing of 18 properties has been developed by Fyne Homes through working with the Trust;
these additional properties, together with the improved housing stock on the estate are enabling a reduction in multi generational households and allowing scope for additional families and individuals with their valuable skills and contribution to the islands economy to make their homes here.
This growth is enabled – Through a healthy dose of will power on the part of this community, its supporters, advisers, and with the funds generated from, what with Harmony now dancing, is now our dancing troupe.
There has been much achieved in 12 years, however there remains much to be done. Not least ensuring that we continue to create the conditions which enable people to be entrepreneurial and contribute to the economy of the island, through provision of housing and infrastructure which encourages individuals to stay and use their skills to participate in the ongoing maintenance and well being of the community and the island.

Maggie McSporran
Isle of Gigha Heritage Trust
May 2014

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