Islanders are jumping for joy at the news that Iona Village Hall Community Trust have received a National Lottery award from the BIG Lottery Fund of £903,888 towards their new village hall project.
The project focuses on replacing the 90-year-old Village Hall with a fit-for-purpose, multi-use building to meet the wider needs of the island community, as the island bucks the trend with a growing population. It will cost just under £2.2m and hope for completion by Summer 2020.
The trustees, with the support of WT Architecture and Community Enterprise, have worked with islanders, visitors, community groups and local businesses, to develop a business plan and careful designs for the new community building. Community buyout of neighbouring land from the National Trust for Scotland should be completed in the coming weeks and is critical to the project.
As the community looks towards launching its fundraising campaign for the remaining funds, Chair Anja Jardine explained the importance of the project: “We cannot overstate the importance of having a fit-for-purpose village hall on the island. Iona Village Hall is the place where our children grow up; have birthday parties, perform their school plays, celebrate their sporting achievements, dance, and get married. It forms the backdrop to the collective memory of our community and many of our visitors. It is our debating chamber, our cinema, our stadium, our playground, and our gathering place. We need to be more than just a village hall – we have a vision of a hall which not only belongs TO the community of Iona, but is somewhere where people can feel THEY belong, whether they are islanders, seasonal workers or visitors.”
Big Lottery Fund Scotland Chair, Maureen McGinn, said: “I am delighted that Iona Village Hall Community Trust has been successful in securing a Big Lottery Fund grant. The funding will make a big difference where it is needed most and I wish the Trust every success as it goes on to develop and expand its project for the benefit of their local community.”
The island needs to raise the remaining £1.2m by December 2018.