Arts organisation An Lanntair has received £10,000 from windfarm charity Point and Sandwick Trust — which will be spent on its Education and Outreach work across the islands.

The money from Point and Sandwick comes from the profits of its community-owned windfarm at Beinn Ghrideag on the outskirts of Stornoway.

It is the first instalment of £20,000 a year committed to An Lanntair by Point and Sandwick Trust. The money is given as core funding and An Lanntair has chosen to spend it on its Education and Outreach programme.

Although the arts centre is in Stornoway, it works throughout the islands. This can include workshops in primary schools based on current exhibitions, such as the successful tour of primary schools in Lewis and Harris by multi-media artist Julie Brook during the time of her exhibition.  The children will then get to visit An Lanntair to see the relevant exhibition for themselves and take further inspiration from it.

Dance is another art-form that will benefit specifically from the Point and Sandwick money. More dance classes have been planned for 2017/18 and there will also be a dance summer school this year, as well as a theatre summer school — again, made possible by Point and Sandwick Trust.

Also benefitting will be the art and drama clubs for primary school pupils on a Saturday and the film club for teenagers on a Wednesday.
Another Education and Outreach area is the social inclusion project, where spaces within the arts centre are made available a few times a week to groups from the Grianan or Ardseileach centres. An Lanntair also provide the materials and staff to help these groups create their own artworks.

An Lanntair Chief executive Elly Fletcher said: “It’s really unusual to have a funder interested in funding our core organisation and that makes a huge difference because it means that our staff are free to come up with new creative ideas and make them happen without having to project that financially.

“One of the things that happens to us a lot is that we secure project funding, we raise the expectations of the community and we deliver an amazing project — and the funding disappears and there’s a gap while we try to source funding again and start again.  “The beauty of this type of support is that we are able to continue that engagement with the community and we don’t let anyone down. There’s no gaps.”

Point and Sandwick Trust general manager Donald John MacSween said it had committed the £20,000 “because we recognise that the arts and culture are very important — and very often in terms of supposed austerity they are the first budgets to be attacked”.

“Since its inception many years ago, An Lanntair has carried the torch for arts and culture in the Western Isles successfully and with many programmes which have achieved national and international recognition.

“They have, from time to time, pushed the boundaries and that’s part of the vital role of an arts centre — it should be challenging — and all the more reason why they should be supported.  We feel that our small contribution will help continue that good work.”