Point and Sandwick communities on Lewis have been awarded £1 million to build the UK’s largest community windfarm.
The Big Lottery Fund Scotland grant will allow the first fo three turbines to be built on crofters’ grazings to the west of Stornoway.
Though the Point and Sandwick district is miles away beyond the the other side of the town, crofters have traditional grazings and peat cutting rights at the back of Stornoway to compensate for the shortage of pasture in their own area.
The community wind scheme will neighbour a giant 36-turbine windfarm being progressed by Lewis Windpower – a partnership between Amec and French-owned EDF Energy.
Profit from the income of £36 million over the next 25 years will be reinvested in community development initiatives.
It includes financial support for the Bethesda cancer hospice, a scheme to reduce fuel poverty for islanders and funding to offer greater help and support to young islanders with additional needs.
Big Lottery Fund Scotland Director, Jackie Killeen, said: “The Big Lottery Fund is delighted to support the Point and Sandwick Development Trust as they develop this wind farm.
“Our Growing Community Assets funding is for exactly this kind of project where communities look at what they have and how they can take ownership of those assets to transform the lives of those who live in their local communities.
“This project is about power but not just electricity. With the development of this wind farm the Point and Sandwick Development Trust is now powerfully enabled to shape their own future and offer much needed services to those living remotely on the Isle of Lewis thanks to the revenue this wind farm will bring in the long term.”
Donald MacSween, chair of Point and Sandwick Development Trust, said: “Today’s funding means a quiet revolution can now take place in our community and it is wonderful news. We have a 25 year plan which will lead to a huge change for everyone who lives here. It will give us the tools to turn ourselves around.
“We will no longer have to rely on subsidies and government handouts. We will now be able to help reverse the ageing population and declining demographic which currently has a negative impact on everyone here.
“Through this project we will be able to provide jobs, training and amenities so we can give our young people more reasons to stay, live, work and prosper in the community where they were born.
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