ISLANDERS on Scalpay in the Outer Hebrides have moved a step forward in shaping their own future with a cash boost from the Scottish Land Fund.
Two years ago, Fred Taylor, the owner of Scalpay, off Harris, offered the island as a free gift to its 300 residents.
Following a vote, the islanders decided to join with the North Harris Trust to reunite Scalpay with North Harris Estate, integrating them together under community ownership.
Now, a grant from the Scottish Land Fund of £60,330 to North Harris Trust has meant that the residents of Scalpay can now take their plans forward for the 702-hectare Scalpay Estate, which includes most of the island of and seven outlying uninhabited islands.
The grant will support conveyancing costs as well as a two-year Development Officer post.
Sheila Rodderick, Scalpay resident and North Harris Trust director, said: “It is with great pleasure and anticipation that I look forward to the island being joined to the North Harris Trust.
“Many opportunities and challenges lie ahead for us all but the knowledge that, as part of NHT, the aspirations and hopes of the Scalpay community can be realised, is a great motivation.
“Working alongside the other NHT Directors and the capable and experienced staff of the Trust I am confident that the future integration of Scalpay into the framework of NHT will be accomplished smoothly.
“I am very happy to have been given the chance to take part in this momentous step forward and look forward - with the assistance of the NHT - to seeing the potential of resources and people being realised and the turning of a new page in the history of Scalpay.”
Launched last year, the £9 million Scottish Land Fund is funded by the Scottish Government and delivered by the Big Lottery Fund in partnership with Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).