Pop­u­la­tion grows overnight with new houses

The Oban Times - - News -

THE Ulva Ferry com­mu­nity on the Isle of Mull has wel­comed two new fam­i­lies who have moved into the first af­ford­able-rent hous­ing to be built in the area for decades.

Six years ago the com­mu­nity was un­der threat of los­ing its pri­mary school due to long-term pop­u­la­tion de­cline brought about by the lack of af­ford­able hous­ing op­tions for young peo­ple.

Now these fam­i­lies bring six chil­dren to the area, ce­ment­ing Ulva Ferry’s fu­ture sus­tain­abil­ity.

The new houses were built as a joint ven­ture be­tween the Ulva School Com­mu­nity As­so­ci­a­tion (USCA) and Mull and Iona Com­mu­nity Trust (MICT), and are next to Ulva Pri­mary School.

The houses have been al­lo­cated via a points sys­tem which gave pri­or­ity to young fam­i­lies.

The Ulva Ferry com­mu­nity has been at the heart of the project from the out­set, from choos­ing the ar­chi­tect and fi­nal­is­ing the de­sign, to agree­ing the al­lo­ca­tion policy. Com­mu­nity-led hous­ing projects are never the easy op­tion, but the com­ple­tion of these houses is tes­ta­ment to the ded­i­ca­tion of lo­cal com­mu­nity mem­bers and the project team.

Ten­ant Samantha Wright said: ‘We are thrilled to be mov­ing into this beau­ti­ful new home. Ev­ery­one has been very wel­com­ing and our daugh­ter can’t wait to set­tle into Ulva Pri­mary School. Hav­ing had to move fre­quently from one pri­vate let to an­other, it is com­fort­ing to know we can make this our long-term home.’

Hous­ing project man­ager He­len Mac­Don­ald said: ‘We are just de­lighted to see these two fam­i­lies mov­ing into the new houses, and we hope they are very happy in them for many years to come.

‘This com­mu­nity hous­ing project proves that so­cial hous­ing can be in­no­va­tive and stylish, as well as af­ford­able. The level of in­ter­est from po­ten­tial ten­ants was sig­nif­i­cant, giv­ing us the im­pe­tus to plan fur­ther af­ford­able hous­ing in the Ulva Ferry area.’

Chair­man of USCA Iain Thom- son added: ‘It is fan­tas­tic to wel­come these two fam­i­lies into the new houses and the com­mu­nity. When the school was threat­ened with clo­sure, we would never have dreamed that six years on not only would we have two longterm rental houses here, but also a pon­toon fa­cil­ity and a trans­port scheme. To­gether, these projects will en­sure a sus­tain­able fu­ture for Ulva Ferry.’

The hous­ing project was backed by the Scot­tish Land Fund, Ar­gyll and Bute Coun­cil, the Trust­house Char­i­ta­ble Foun­da­tion, the Quaker Hous­ing Trust, the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment’s Ru­ral Hous­ing Fund, Tri­o­dos Bank, USCA, a sig­nif­i­cant anony­mous be­quest and more than £22,500 in lo­cal do­na­tions through a high-pro­file crowd­fund­ing cam­paign.

The new houses have been built close to the pri­mary school.

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