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July 3, 2013

A big award to deliver a big plan

The top end of BIG’s Growing Community Assets programme is £1m. Awards of that size are few and far between but the very remote community of Point and Sandwick on the Isle of Lewis has come about as close as you’ll get.  £999,812 will go a long way to meeting the costs of installing what will be the largest community owned wind farm in the UK.   The income generated will underpin a 25 year plan that the locals believe is their only hope of long term survival.


A big award to deliver a big plan

A remote island development trust will create the UK’s largest community owned wind farm thanks to a grant of almost £1 million from the Big Lottery Fund, Scotland.

The Beinn Ghrideag wind farm owned & managed by the Point & Sandwick Development Trust (PSDT) on the Isle of Lewis, will generate over £36 million in the next 25 years thanks to an output of 9MW from their three commercial sized turbines – making it the largest community wind farm in the UK.

Today’s award of £999,718 through the Growing Community Assets scheme from the Big Lottery Fund Scotland, will part fund the initial capital costs and fees associated with the installation of three 3MW Enderon Wind Turbines to generate renewable electricity which will be sold to the National Grid generating revenue which will be reinvested into local community projects. Current plans for reinvestment were developed after a community wide consultation and include support for the only hospice on Lewis, 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 & 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.”

The wind farm will be situated four miles west of Stornaway on the Isle of Lewis. The turbines will stand on an area of common land traditionally used for energy production in an area where crofters once cut peat for fuel.

Chairman Point & Sandwick Development Trust, Donald McSween, said: “Today’s funding means a quiet revolution can now take place in our community and 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. This grant means that our project can go ahead and I’d like to thank the Big Lottery Fund for their support to this point and their endorsement and belief in what we are doing here.”