January 15, 2008
Community takes over local petrol station
The local garage and petrol station in Sleat on Skye had been in the same hands for over 35 years and was seen as a vital resource for this remote rural community. When the private owners recently decided to retire, the local development trust saw a chance to add to their growing list of community enterprises and also to safeguard this important local service.
Sleat Community Trust has taken over the ownership of the Skye Ferry Filling Station, garage and house, near Armadale, in South Skye. The purchase has been funded by the BIG Lottery Fund with additional support from the Community Land Unit. The project has taken over a year to come together, and the official handover was on Tuesday 4th December 2007.
The Skye Ferry Filling Station has been owned and run by Donnie and Colleen Mackinnon for 35 years. The business is of major importance to the Sleat economy and the Mackinnons have become key figures in the local community. “We have very much enjoyed the time we have spent running the business,” said Donnie Mackinnon at the hand-over. “We will miss the interaction with the locals and the many visitors to this part of Skye, but equally we are looking for to a quieter time in our lives. We thank everyone for their support and best wishes, and wish Sleat Community Trust all the best in this new enterprise.”
Sleat Trust first became interested when the business went on the market in mid 2006. “We felt it was vital to retain the garage and petrol services in Sleat” said Duncan MacInnes, chairman of the Trust. “We are very pleased with the support given us by the BIG Lottery and Community Land Unit. Ownership of this business will also allow us to develop new projects for Sleat, including much-needed visitor tourism information services and a public face for the Trust. We are also delighted with the support given us by Donnie and Colleen – they have gone out of their way to make this project succeed.”
Sleat Trust has appointed Kirsty-Jacqueline Lingard as Project Development Officer. Kirsty lives in Camuscross but is originally from Angus. “This is an amazing opportunity for the community of Sleat. I am looking forward immensely to becoming involved and getting to know and work with the local community.”
The garage will be leased to continue the maintenance and repair service and the Trust itself will manage petrol services and shop sales. Kirsty will be developing plans with the community to incorporate tourist information services and enable the filling station to become a place to find out more about the work of the Sleat Community Trust.
Sleat Community Trust was set up in 2003 and now has a whole raft of community projects underway, including a Biomass business and community transport study.