Iomairt Chille Chomain are delighted to be able to announce an Open Day for the new Port Mor Centre in Port Charlotte Islay on Saturday 31st March. Everyone is invited to come along and view this exciting new building which is the culmination of around six years work by the community organisation. Iomairt Chille Chomain (ICC) was originally formed to try and bring the village football field into community ownership but the project soon expanded with a much broader remit after extensive consultation with local people.
The football field is centrally located on a plot of coastal land that extends to around 42 acres and a feasibility study determined that this could be split into three broad categories. Two crofts were created, both of which are now actively running livestock, cattle, sheep and a small but expanding herd of alpacas which are proving quite an attraction. Another area, part of the Rhinns SSSI, was set aside to be managed as an environmentally sensitive area, while the central section was used to create a recreational park area including the football pitch, a children’s play area, an all access path to the beach, picnic areas and a camp site. It was on the central area that ICC built the remarkable building that is to be opened on March 31st.
Designed from day one to be “carbon neutral”, the £850,000 facility can be broadly considered to be two independent units with one “end” being used for supporting the campsite and recreational facilities, while the other end has several flexible spaces including the spectacular semi-circular room with the great views out across the football pitch. There is also an internet/ meeting room with video conferencing facilities and a comprehensive commercial kitchen that will provide catering services.
Not all the facilities will be operational on March 31st, but many of them will be and the Board feel that it is important to have the building open as soon as possible. The project has been funded by a broad spectrum of organisations including: European Regional Development Fund; Scottish Land Fund; Argyll and Bute Council; Argyll and Islands Enterprise; Big Lottery Fund; Communities Scotland; Energy Saving Trust and HIE Energy Unit. £150,000 was raised by the community company itself, including a donation of £70,000 from the community of Port Charlotte when it sold the old village hall.
A second phase of the project costing a further £67,000 is also nearing completion. This has included the car park, painting, the kitchen, furniture and fittings, landscaping and external lighting. Funding for this second phase came from: the Crofting Development Scheme; the Robertson Trust; the TSB; the Scottish Hydro Electric Community Trust; the WHELK Programme plus funds raised by ICC.
Story and picture published with kind permission from The Ileach