Another busy summer season has passed at the Calanais Visitor Centre and amidst all the visitors, the Redevelopment Project has been progressing quietly in the background.
Following our community information session (details can be found in our last blog update), we were busy working with the Design Team to finalise details of the design and cost summary to ensure that we were ready to proceed with funding applications.
The end of 2015 and first part of 2016 was spent focusing on our funding application to the Heritage Lottery Fund, as they will hopefully be one of the major funders for the project. The HLF team was very helpful and provided us with useful advice and guidance to best prepare our application. When applying for funding to the HLF, applications are broken down into a two stage process. The stage 1 application was submitted at the beginning of March, with a decision announced in June. Unfortunately, our application was unsuccessful. Despite not proceeding to Stage 2, we were provided with feedback and encouraged to develop our application further to resubmit for stage 1. We recently met with Caroline Clark, Casework Manager for HLF, who was visiting Lewis for a few days and discussed our application with her in detail. The meeting was very helpful and the advice we received will be used to develop our application further.
As well as focusing on the funding application with HLF, early 2016 was spent concentrating on an application to the Community Capital Grant Fund with Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (CnES). We received word in April that our application was successful, securing £100,000 for the project.
We then, with CnES Economic Development staff, turned our attention to developing a stage 1 funding application for the Scottish Government Regeneration Capital Grant Fund. The application is still in the process of being reviewed and successful applications will be announced shortly. If our application is successful, we will then develop a stage 2 application ready for submission in October.
Another key stakeholder for the project will be the Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE). We have been working closely with the HIE team in Stornoway over the last few months to develop our project business case which will be fed into our funding application. We hope to have the business case finalised soon so that we can submit our application within the next few weeks.
In terms of European funding, CnES Economic Development staff worked with us to develop a stage 1 funding application for the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). Our stage 1 application was submitted last week and they will be announcing successful applications to proceed to stage 2 within the next week or so.
Carloway Show Feedback Session
As well as focusing on funding applications, another aim for our project is to ensure that the project proposals are built around feedback provided by the members of the local community and visitors. As well as our community information session, we compiled a short survey to generate feedback about what people would like to see included in the redeveloped Visitor Centre.
Sally Reynolds (Carloway Estate Trust) and Anna MacKay (Urras nan Tursachan) discussing plans at the Carloway Show. Images courtesy of Dòmhnall Macleòid
We recently took the opportunity to gather feedback by setting up a station at the Carloway Show, with thanks to the Carloway Estate Trust who kindly let us share their office to do it. Plans of the proposed design were on display and Anna was there to hand out surveys and answer any questions about the proposals. The feedback generated was greatly appreciated and very useful in terms of developing the project. The survey is now available online (by clicking the link below) for anyone who would like to contribute their ideas for the future Visitor Centre. We would love to hear them!
As for the next few months ahead, we will be concentrating most of our time on securing funding and continuing to develop proposals. If you would like to contribute any ideas on which activities, facilities or services you would like to see included in the development, please feel free to contact us by email (firstname.lastname@example.org), or by completing the short survey below.