March 26 2021 marks the start of a new future for the North Uist Development Company (NUDC), as the organisation finally receives the keys of the former Lochmaddy Primary School on behalf of the community.
Lochmaddy Primary School was closed in 2016 along with Carinish and Paible, as pupils moved to a new single school site at Sgoil Uibhist a’ Tuath; following a council report in 2013. The School building on the edge of Lochmaddy village, was constructed in the 1970s, but the original building dates back to the late 19th Century, so it holds plenty of memories for generations of the North Uist community. Scottish Land Fund Stage 2 funding enabled the asset transfer.
Pam MacPherson, Director, North Uist Development Company, said: "It is so exciting, finally, to reach this stage and to have the keys in our hands. I can’t believe it is actually happening”.
“Over the last year NUDC have managed to get funding for the asset transfer, for an external COVID-19 resilient toilet block and for the Environment Centre exhibition”
We are working closely with the architect and the project managers to get the Community Hub and Environment Centre up and running as soon as possible”
The development plans for Phase 1 and 2 of the project include the Community Hub and, an Environment Centre which will be a new innovative facility showcasing the unique natural environment of the Uists: nurturing sustainable practices. The Community Hub enterprise will bring land and the building back into community use, while focussing on widespread community needs and benefits. It intends to provide a welcoming gathering place for the community and visitors, and an ‘incubator’ for learning and enterprise. Accommodation for visitors, students and temporary workers will be added in later phases of the project.
The top priority for NUDC is to reopen the former school building so the North Uist community can start using it once again. Rentable space will be made available, and there are already interested parties. The development will be undertaken in phases and will involve the community every step of the way. Further funding is currently being sought for Phases 1 and 2: including for renewable energy for heating and electricity to support the environmental ethos of the development and Scotland’s green recovery.
A further update on the Lochmaddy School project will be provided at the forthcoming NUDC Annual General Meeting, to be held online on 17 April. All members welcome!
NUDC is a community company and charity, established in 2010 to develop a sustainable and viable community by promoting the social, educational, cultural, economic and environmental wellbeing of North Uist. The company has been developed by its Members and is managed by a Board of voluntary directors.
NUDC’s work is guided by the North Uist Community Development Plan 2018-2023. In view of recent successes including the now operational UistWind project and now ownership of the former Lochmaddy School, this plan needs to be updated, to ensure it meets the needs of the North Uist community. As it enters this exciting new phase, to shape its future vision, NUDC would be delighted to welcome fresh faces on to its Board of Directors to contribute to that vision.
Andrew Ross, Director, North Uist Development Company said: “We are especially keen to hear from younger people in the community who would like to make a difference: after all, they will be the future of North Uist! “
Are you passionate about North Uist? Do you get excited about what we can all achieve when we work together? Would you like to help shape the future of North Uist for the benefit of the community? If so, we look forward to hearing from you.”
NUDC will also be starting some community engagement associated with the Environment Centre exhibition shortly, and the NUDC team are working tirelessly to move this forward as soon as possible.
NUDC gratefully acknowledges the support of Highlands and Islands Enterprise through their HIE Community-Led Tourism Infrastructure Fund and Delivery Resource Officer fund; the Scottish Land Fund and the Islands Green Recovery Programme.
More details can be found at www.isleofnorthuist.com.
NUDC aims to communicate project milestones and successes as widely as possible, and this news feed highlights key articles.