Dream comes true as £1.8m Sleat centre opens
We’ll be seeing each other more. It’ll make this an even better place to live Mark Wringe CDI chairman
A TINY south Skye community realised its dream on Saturday with the opening of a new £1.8 million centre.
And An Crùbh, Sleat’s new community hub, got the thumbs up from residents and visitors who kept the staff busy all day.
The project was developed by Camuscross and Duisdale Initiative (CDI) with the aim of giving local residents and visitors a place to meet, shop and socialise.
Saturday’s event saw the opening of the café, shop and meeting space. A post office will open for business later in the month.
Business manager Sharon Campbell said: ‘ We are delighted with the huge level of support we received during the opening of An Crùbh. The day was very successful and the feedback we got from happy customers was extremely positive.
‘ We have an amazing facility on our doorstep which will benefit future generations and attract visitors from near and far. It has created good permanent job opportunities and we have a great team in place to give everyone who visits An Crùbh the warmest of welcomes.’
The journey began five years ago. With support from Highland Council, the Robertson Trust and its architects WT Architecture, CDI became one of the first community projects in Scotland to be promised more than £1 million by the Big Lottery Fund.
CDI chairman Mark Wringe said: ‘The building is a model for how small communities can develop and bring vibrancy to an area.
‘Before April 1, buying a litre of milk meant using two litres of diesel to get to a shop and back. Now the community and its visitors have a well-stocked general store, selling local produce and supporting suppliers in the area.
‘The café has a cosy inglenook where small groups can gather for activities.
‘A highly talented chef, who has just returned from working in Japan, offers appealing, affordable food, including great vegetarian options.’
At the heart of the building is a hall with stunning views over the Sound of Sleat, which has been welcomed by the community. Bookings have already been taken for exercise and yoga, charitable events, dances, weddings and stand-up comedy.
Mark added: ‘ More than 30 groups around south Skye and Lochalsh expressed their wish to use the hall for everything from musical events to circus training. Yes, the roof is high enough to accommodate circus training.’
One of the main aims of the group is to bring new jobs to the area. Shop and café profits will be used to sustain the hall and generate funds for other community projects.
Mark also sees the new hub as a way to renew and strengthen community bonds.
‘ We’ll be seeing each other more,’ he said, ‘ doing things together more and feeling more confident about what a small rural place can achieve. It’ll make this an even better place to live.’
Chef Lawrence Millott; shop manager Mhairi Cousins; Camuscross and Duisdale Initiative chairman Mark Wringe; Rory Flyn, CDI director; Alan Gibson, An Crùbh Ltd chairman; Sheila Dick, An Crùbh Ltd director; Innes Grant, CDI treasurer; DJ MacLennan, An Crùbh Ltd director; and business development manager Sharon Campbell.