The dream of a new Community Hub for South Harris & beyond has moved a step closer to reality, thanks to a grant of £13,580 from the Scottish Land Fund. 

The Leverhulme Community Hub Steering Group have worked for more than four years with the aim of securing the purchase of the “Old Block” building at Leverhulme Memorial School. 

The Group’s vision, derived from a widespread demand for services locally, is to create a multi-purpose community facility, which will provide a range of services.  Plans include a café, charity shop, laundrette, gym and Post Office.  

It had been hoped to open Phase 1 of the Hub this summer, with the building on lease, but the Covid19 Pandemic means that will not be possible.  The Steering Group are, however, looking forward to a bright future and the news of the SLF money means they will now aim to secure the purchase of the building by the end of the year.   

Prior to the Covid 19 situation, the Stage 1 application was made to the Scottish Land Fund for funding to assist with the costs of the documentation that is needed to support a Stage 2 application (which will cover the purchase of the building).   

The Stage 1 grant of £13,580 was approved on 16 April 2020.  This means that works to complete the business plan and the physical plans for the building can now go ahead, albeit under the terms of our “new normal”.

Over the coming weeks the Hub Committee and their advisers will be working to draw everything together for a deadline of 12 June 2020 when they plan to submit a Stage 2 Scottish Land fund application. 

The outcome of this will be known on 27 August 2020. Government restrictions mean the Steering Group cannot currently arrange meetings to consult and inform people of plans but other ways of doing this are being looked at,  to ensure that as many people as possible have the chance to be informed developments.

The Steering Group will be using a range of different ways of keeping people informed and giving them a chance to have their say.   Followers of the project are urged to keep an eye on the Group’s Facebook page, the local magazine, De tha Dol? and other local press.  A website is in the process of being set up and details of that will be made known shortly.  

The Committee says it is delighted to be working with Sandra Macaskill of CaskieCo, who has a great deal of experience with communities buying land and buildings, to prepare the business plan.  The aim is to have as much local input as possible to inform and approve this when the time comes.