South Uist Estate community landowner Stòras Uibhist held its sixth AGM at South End Hall, Daliburgh, on July 28th and announced the appointment of six new co-opted Directors.
Following years of intensive preparatory work, the company is now building Scotland’s largest community owned windfarm and reported expenditure of over £4m to date on the £11.5m project. With the turbines due to be delivered in August, 2012 will truly be a landmark year for the community.
Significant progress was also reported on the Lochboisdale Regeneration project with the detailed design work nearing completion and the tendering process for award of the construction contract underway. The £9.5m project secured all the necessary funding earlier in the year and the 18 month build programme is anticipated to begin on-site in early 2013.
These developments compliment the wide ranging work done by the company to make best use of Grogarry Lodge and the sporting and fishing rights of the estate to boost the local economy and to support crofting through the goose management scheme, land drainage maintenance and pest control as well as the release of house sites for local families to build new homes. To date over 40 house sites have been released by Stòras Uibhist, predominantly for local families to build new homes.
The company has been transformed from a private business at the time of the buyout to a growing social enterprise investing for the future of the community. The value of the company has increased greatly in the past five years due to improved management and operation of the business and the auditors, in reporting a continued increase in turnover, noted that the assets owned by the community are now valued at £16.9m, an increase of £12.4m from the £4.5m purchase price in 2006.
With the work undertaken by the company expanding and growing increasingly complex, the elected Directors have recruited a total of six new co-opted Directors to the subsidiary companies South Uist Renewable Energy Ltd. and Lochboisdale Development Ltd. The new Directors have already been closely involved with the two projects through Working Groups, and their co-option as Directors almost doubles the number of local people volunteering as Directors to deliver the aspirations of community ownership.
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