Dream comes true as £1.8m Sleat cen­tre opens

The Oban Times - - News -

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.’

Pho­to­graph: Sara Bain.

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.

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