Windfarm trust helps power local business

A boat builder and an auction mart are two applicants benefitting from funds available through the Muaitheabhal Community Wind Farm Trust.

Another round of grants has been announced by the Muaitheabhal Trust, which distributes community funds from the proposed wind farm planned to be built on the Eishken Estate on the Isle of Lewis.

This time the grants have taken a new direction, supporting a new business project and organisation with ambitions to expand as well as local community projects.

Murdo Kennedy, a Boat Builder from Marvig, South Lochs, has been awarded a £20,000 loan to establish a new business in his home village. This was seen as an ideal project for the Trust to support as Mr Kennedy plans to employ three staff, training them in traditional boat building techniques. It will also see him contribute to the wider economy of Marvig and enable him and his family remain in the area.

Mr Kennedy explainedmurdo Kennedy that the boat building on Lewis has been stagnant for a while so he is keen to see the industry return. “It will be traditional boats I will concentrate on,” he said. “No one has been building wooden boats for a while now and there is a strong interested in the smaller class of boats.”

Mr Kennedy hopes his business will be up and running by the autumn and is keen to offer joiners a chance to learn about the traditional trade.

This is the first ‘business loan’ given by the Muaitheabhal Trust and it is hoped it will encourage others to think of approaching the Trust for assistance in the future.

Meanwhile, in another departure from the norm for the Trust, the Lewis & Harris Auction Mart received a funding grant of £3,410. This was awarded to help pay for a refurbishment and extension to the facility.  This is the first grant to be awarded to a community group outwith the Muaitheabhal Trust area. 

“The Auction Mart committee are grateful for the generous financial support, backing and general support received from Muaitheabhal Trust,” said Donald Macleod of the Lewis & Harris Auction Mart.

The grant help will provide additional secure penning facilities for up to 1,000 lambs which will conform with animal welfare, movement and cleansing mart

He added: “The new facilities will provide a much improved experience for Mart volunteers and producers alike and improve handling and presentation at point of sale.”

Traditional community groups have also benefited from grants. Pairc School was awarded £1,000, giving the P4-P7 pupils the opportunity to attend the Edinburgh Film Festival where they showcased their own film production.

Meanwhile Pairc Playschemes received £2,000 to provide summer activity for young people in the area. Eight days of Playschemes are planned throughout July with the funding used to employ dedicated staff, purchase equipment and hire the school. A day out to the Scaladale Centre for the young people to enjoy to take part in outdoor activities is also planned (more information can be found on the Pairc Hall Facebook page).

Anyone who is interested in finding out more about the Muaitheabhal Trust, and how to apply for grants or loans, can contact Helen Sandison on 01851 880296, email