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Last Updated: Monday, 4 July, 2005, 15:57 GMT 16:57 UK
Private island given grants boost
Boats on Gigha
The island was bought by its residents in 2002
Residents who bought their island in a ground-breaking deal are to benefit from grants to upgrade their petrol station and improve the stone quarry.

In 2002 the people of Gigha raised 4m to buy the island, rather than see it sold to a private landlord.

Argyll and the Islands Enterprise awarded 170,630 to buy new pumps at Gigha's petrol station.

New equipment and salary costs will be paid for out of a 20,000 grant to Gigha Quarry.

Since the community buyout, the population of the island has increased by nearly 25% to 121 and the number of pupils at the school has risen to 13.

In addition, those living on the island off the west coast of Scotland, have launched six new firms and four dairy farms have new tenants.

The grant helped massively towards the fulfilment of our earnest desire to build our home on Gigha, something that was not possible until the time of the community buyout
Freddie Gillies
Gigha resident

Communities Minister Malcolm Chisholm visited the island to see how a range of housing, economic and environmental schemes were helping residents.

He said: "I was keen to see for myself the progress different schemes here are making to improve the quality of life for Gigha residents."

Mr Chisholm said the funding announcements would help to support the "sustainability" of the trust which was set up as part of the buyout.

The minister visited residents Val and Freddie Gillies whose house overlooking Ardminish Bay was funded with assistance from Communities Scotland through a rural home ownership grant.

Mr Gillies said: "I am now 55 and Valerie is 47.

God's isle

"Given that the age barrier committed us to a short-term mortgage, the grant helped massively towards the fulfilment of our earnest desire to build our home on Gigha, something that was not possible until the time of the community buyout."

Gigha Quarry is operated by Gigha Trading Ltd and is a subsidiary of the Isle of Gigha Heritage Trust.

It provides stone for local construction developments including the new wind farm, new housing and improvements to roads and the island's infrastructure.

Gigha is the southernmost island of the Inner Hebrides, accessed by a 20-minute ferry journey from the Mull of Kintyre.

It is often called God's Isle, a rough translation of the name "Gudey" given to it by the Vikings.

The community raised the money to buy the island when it was put up for sale by businessman Derek Holt in 2001.




SEE ALSO:
Gigha islanders pay back 1m
15 Mar 04 |  Scotland
Island officially changes hands
15 Mar 02 |  Scotland
Islanders win battle for Gigha
30 Oct 01 |  Scotland
God's mild Scottish island
30 Oct 01 |  Scotland


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