Is­land’s projects turn­ing tide on pop­u­la­tion de­cline

The Oban Times - - News -

TWO MA­JOR projects are com­ing to fruition on the isle of Ulva af­ter a lengthy cam­paign.

Af­ter four years, Ulva School Com­mu­nity As­so­ci­a­tion (USCA), sup­ported by Mull and Iona Com­mu­nity Trust (MICT) lo­cal devel­op­ment of­fi­cers, has made progress with its projects to re­verse pop­u­la­tion de­cline and in­crease the sus­tain­abil­ity of Ulva Pri­mary School.

With fund­ing from High­lands and Is­lands En­ter­prise, the lo­cal devel­op­ment of­fi­cers have helped to build on the en­thu­si­asm and de­ter­mi­na­tion of the lo­cal vol­un­teers who cam­paigned vig­or­ously and suc­cess­fully against the planned clo­sure of the school in 2010.

Work has started on the Ulva Ferry pon­toon, which will pro­vide op­por­tu­ni­ties for eco­nomic devel­op­ment in the area on a sea­sonal ba­sis and also im­prove facilities for lo­cal boat op­er­a­tors in­clud­ing tour and fish­ing boats.

The seven-berth pon­toon is now un­der con­struc­tion and will be in op­er­a­tion dur­ing the sum­mer. Part of the scheme is to pro­vide a fuel berth which, it is hoped, will re­duce fuel costs for lo­cal sailors.

The £451,000 grant fund­ing from Coastal Com­mu­ni­ties Fund also al­lows for MICT to em­ploy Mark Mill­ward as full- time pon­toon man­ager this sea­son as lo­cal em­ploy­ment is one of the ob­jec­tives of the project.

For more in­for­ma­tion about the pon­toon, con­tact ei­ther Cally Flem­ing cflem­ing@mict. co.uk or Mark Mill­ward mark­mill­ward@mict.co.uk.

The Ulva Ferry com­mu­nity bus, spe­cially con­verted to in­clude a wheel­chair lift, pro­vides a valu­able ser­vice to lo­cals, par­tic­u­larly those who would oth­er­wise be iso­lated.

Thanks to the Bus In­vest­ment Fund, the ve­hi­cle also pro­vides six part-time jobs for res­i­dents in an area with few such op­por­tu­ni­ties.

For more in­for­ma­tion visit the web­site www.ufcb.org. uk or con­tact Mike Ho­gan 07775531301 info@ufcb.org.uk or He­len Mac­Don­ald.

To­gether, th­ese projects will con­trib­ute to the long-term sus­tain­abil­ity of the Ulva Ferry area, pro­vid­ing in­come, em­ploy­ment and se­cure hous­ing for res­i­dents.

Iain Thom­son, con­vener of USCA, said: ‘ The lat­est news about the grant from the Ru­ral Hous­ing Fund is a fan­tas­tic boost to the project. So much time and work has been put in and many chal­lenges over­come.

‘It is the re­sult of a com­mu­nity pulling to­gether in the face of the school clo­sure and keep­ing hope alive for the fu­ture of the area. I look for­ward to see con­struc­tion be­gin soon.’

Ulva Pri­mary chil­dren Matilda Munro and Issy Green­field cut the first sod, above, while, be­low right, Ulva Ferry devel­op­ment steer­ing group Iain Mor­ri­son, Jeanette Cut­lack, Mark Mill­ward and Jeanie MacColl at the cer­e­mony and su­per­vis­ing Torosay Sand­pit Ltd pour­ing con­crete for the foun­da­tion.

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