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March 12, 2008

Boost to Assynt Foundation’s sustainability

In 2005, the Foundation acquired 44,000 acres of stunning Sutherland landscape in a buy-out under the Land Reform Act. Part of the deal included a very fine, but run down, hunting lodge. The Lottery has just granted them ¾ million pounds to refurbish it and turn it into a successful business


New long-term employment opportunities will be created in Sutherland with the announcement of Lottery funding to develop new tourist facilities in Assynt. With a grant of £784,997, the Assynt Foundation, the community based owners of the Glencanisp Lodge, will safeguard the building for at least the next 50 years.

With water already coming in through skylights and damp in the dining room rafters, the Glencanisp lodge, built in 1835, is likely to fall into disrepair without this vital refurbishment. The lodge will be upgraded for a range of purposes including self-catering lets, residential training courses, corporate functions and local events. The project is expected to benefit 1,000 local people and to attract around 25,000 visitors who will stay in the community owned hunting lodge. In the short term 12 jobs will be safeguarded with a potential to create many more for local people.

Assynt Foundation Chair, Claire Belshaw, said, “We are delighted to have been awarded this grant from the Big Lottery Fund. It will enable us to make Glencanisp Lodge a home for the 21st century for everyone to enjoy, visitors and local people alike.

“The upgraded lodge will generate in an important income for the Foundation while at the same time securing the building for use and enjoyment for generations by everyone. It will allow us to involve more people in the work of the Foundation and the income will enable long-term employment for local people.
“There can be few better uses of Lottery money than to restore and protect an iconic building, whilst at the same time helping to provide the means for community regeneration, and creating a facility to be enjoyed by a great many. I am particularly delighted because this is a great reward for all the hard work put in by our staff and voluntary directors over the last 14 months, we are enormously grateful to the Big Lottery Fund for their generosity and their faith in us