Alex Murray Construction Ltd have almost completed an exciting new energy efficient business centre for Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn (Galson Estate Trust). The multifunctional centre aims to become a hub for business activity and community interaction within the fragile area.
The £450,000 development includes an office for the Trust’s staff team, along with offices for rent, meeting rooms and space for crofting archives and markets. Alongside the main building, the project also includes a wind turbine and an electric car with charging point in order to promote the use of sustainable energy.
The business centre has been made possible by support from various organisations, including: BIG Lottery Fund, HIE, Leader, Community Energy Scotland, Climate Challenge Fund and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.
Councillor Archie Campbell, Chair of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s Sustainable Development Committee, said: “The Comhairle is pleased to support the business centre and to contribute £50,000 from the Community Regeneration Fund. The business centre will be a valuable asset for the community and visitors alike.”
The 56,000 acre estate includes 20 crofting townships, from Port of Ness to Upper Barvas. The area maintains strong links with the international Gaelic community and is at the forefront of encouraging Gaelic culture and arts. A ranger has been in post for approximately six years in order to facilitate the sustainable management of the natural environment.
HIE’s Head of Communities in the Outer Hebrides, Jane Macintosh, said: “Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn is now another step closer to realising its ambition of a sustainable future. Further ambitious developments are underway, including promotion of tourism and environmental improvements to provide real benefits to both the community and the estate.
“The area faces challenges, but is showing signs of positive change and an upturn in population. The trust aims to continue to encourage this growth and the business centre will provide sufficient revenue to fund future projects.”
Agmes Rennie, Chair of the Urras Board of Directors, added: “The community has great potential and we hope the new business centre and support from our staff will provide an added incentive for economic development in the area. We have been keen from the outset to work with partners to realise that potential, and the new centre will mark a significant milestone in that regard.”