Tourism capital investment benefits Outer Hebrides’ communities

Ten community organisations in the Outer Hebrides are working to build back better after lockdown with support of £320,141 distributed by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

Tourism capital investment benefits Outer Hebrides’ communities

The HIE Community Led Tourism Infrastructure (CLTI) investments are supporting capital projects across the region to help prepare for the safe return of visitors.

Investments in the Outer Hebrides have supported communities to provide infrastructure that address local environmental challenges in the islands. These include providing campervan waste disposal, enhancing toilet provision, creating outdoor eating facilities and introducing e-bikes as a more sustainable way for visitors to explore the islands.

Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn (UOG) was awarded £91,260 for outdoor tourist infrastructure throughout the Galson Estate.

Lisa Maclean, chief executive of UOG, said: “The support has helped us to put a camping disposal unit in place, build toilet facilities, and create more sheltered outdoor spaces and seating on the estate. We recently launched a new website www. to promote north Lewis as a destination and provided tourism packs with local information to all accommodation providers.

“With our rich culture and history, breath-taking coastline and award-winning playark, the area has so much to offer for everyone. HIE’s support enables us to be better prepared from an infrastructure perspective and compliments the work we’ve already taken by way of promotion and destination management. We want to ensure the experience is positive for both those visiting, but also for the community who live here.”

West Harris Trust received £127,718 to upgrade campsite facilities at Seilebost.

Harris Golf Club will use their money to enhance social distancing measures and facilities at the Scarista golf course and made available to general visitors as well as golfers.

On the west side of Lewis, Urras Coimhearsnachd Bhradhagair agus Arnoil will use the support to help make the Grinneabhat Centre COVID-safe and build an outdoor cooking and eating facility for local people and visitors. Great Bernera Community Development Trust is being supported to create 24-hour access to toilets for visitors and local people at Bosta Beach.

In Uig, Gallan Head Community Trust will provide outside seating and picnic benches using the fund and Uig Development Trust was awarded £6,600 to renovate a remote, off-grid shieling in Mangersta to provide a base for walkers between Uig and Harris.

North Uist Development Company (NUDC) will invest in new facilities in Lochmaddy and Uist Wool Ltd will build an external porch area and install new interpretation panels.

Ameena Camps, project manager at NUDC, added: “HIE’s investment has enabled us to construct a new public COVID-19 resilient accessible toilet block, improving infrastructure in North Uist. This compliments our new Environment Centre at the former Lochmaddy primary school, which is currently in development and will provide a place based immersive cross-generational experience to educate and conserve the islands’ unique natural environment for future generations, whilst nurturing the green recovery.

“Many thanks to HIE for their support and to other funders involved in the wider project. The support has helped us to drive this forward on behalf of the local community with the ultimate aim of providing wide environmental and social benefits for all.”

Kathleen Stewart/Rachel Mackenzie from HIE, said: “Community groups have been vital in ensuring emergency funds have reached those most impacted by the effects of COVID-19. More recently we’ve seen demand grow for help as organisations prepare to restart normal activities. Our short term CLTI investments have helped them prepare for a safer re-opening to help welcome tourists back to our islands and bring economic benefits to our communities.”

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