The former school at Knock in Point has undergone huge renovation works since the building was purchased by volunteer group Urras Stòras An Rubha in 2015.
This week, the project has been recognised as a Finalist in the Scottish Green Energy Awards as one of the Best Community Projects of 2022.
This award celebrates the outstanding development of a renewable energy project – electricity or heat – which has been led by a community group or community organisation.
Now complete, the hub is powered by renewables, in line with community preference and national targets, run from a virtual off-grid “islanded” system using the grid as backup. The project is a demonstration of what a mix of energy sources can achieve; smart management of energy, solar panels, air source heat pump, battery storage & insulation have radically reduced dependence on the grid at a time when energy prices are rocketing.
Urras Stòras An Rubha Secretary, Catriona Dunn said of the announcement, “We are very pleased to hear that the Knock community hub, Aros An Rubha, has been recognised by the Scottish Green Energy Awards as a finalist in the Best Community Project Award category.
"We are delighted that our project has been shortlisted from 150 entries in this competition. This is an excellent achievement for Urras Storas An Rubha and for all who have supported us in bringing our project to fruition”.
The community hub is home to a shop and café, offices of charity wind farm group Point and Sandwick Trust; dedicated museum and exhibition space for Comann Eachdraidh An Rubha; archive and storage facilities for Rudhach, the community newspaper; a meeting room; and hotdesking facilities.
In addition to community fundraising, funding for the project came from several sources including a grant of £101,891 and loan of £83,761 from the Scottish Government’s CARES scheme and support from PST, the Scottish Government Regeneration Fund, HIE, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, the Crown Estate Fund and the Scottish Landfill Fund.
The winners of all categories will be announced at the Scottish Green Energy Awards held in Edinburgh on Thursday 1 December.