ISLE OF BARRA
Coimhearsachd Bharraigh agus Bhatarsaigh
© Siar Media 2012
Who and what are we? Coimhearsnachd Bharraidh agus Bhatarsaidh (Barra and Vatersay Community) Ltd is a community owned company whose aim is to support community development on Barra and Vatersay. The Company is managed by a volunteer board of directors drawn from the membership. Membership of the Company is open residents of Barra and Vatersay whose names appear on the voting register.   The Company employ two fulltime and one part time staff and is based in the Voluntary Action office in Castlebay.   The company was established following Barra and Vatersay’s designation within the Iomairt aig an Oir/ Initiative at the Edge Programme in early 2005. In the following period of time the islands have used this designation effectively, attracting investment to the islands and highlighting those issues of importance to communities resident here. In Autumn 2007 Barra and Vatersay hosted a very successful Iomairt aig an Oir annual conference.   At present the Company is supported by HIE, CnES, the Crofters Commission and Scottish Government, however it also raises some revenue through the provision of environmental and renewable energy based research projects. In the longer term there is an aim to develop business strands which will enable the Company to function free of direct subsidy.  To this end in addition to promoting community development projects, the Company is pursuing other projects which will develop an income stream.   Current Projects include: Northbay Port Users Association Inner Harbour Project – this project will see the renovation and further development of facilities at the Quay Beag in Northbay. The total project cost is expected to exceed £140,000. Funding towards this has been secured from Big Lottery Growing Community Asset sand CnES, Community Marine Access funding (CoMAS). It is hoped the final pieces of the funding package will fall into place shortly.   Vatersay Community Association – the main project here at present is the development of a community wind turbine, which will heat the hall and provide power for showers, cooking and washing facilities. The project is at an advanced stage and should complete before the summer.   Gàradh a’ Bhagh a’ Tuath – this project will see the transition from the OFTTI poly-tunnel garden project on to a new footing, which will almost certainly see the project managed from Barra. The project is also likely to see the garden becoming a social enterprise.   Barra and Vatersay Produce Group – this project aims to support the development of local food through promoting croft based production of livestock and vegetables for local consumption.   Northbay Community Initiative – this project has seen dramatic developments over the last 4 years, and is now in a consolidation stage. The Company continues to assist the committee with the running of aspects of the project.   Castlebay Pier Project – this project aims to develop facilities for boat users and particularly fishermen, at the south end of Barra. At present there are no purpose made fisheries facilities at the south end of Barra. This project aims to promote the case for the development of facilities.     Community Wind Turbine Project – this project aims to develop a 900kW turbine at Gob Scurribhal in the North of the island. It is estimated the project will cost in the region of £1.2M to complete and will generate approximately £100,000 income for the community each year of its 20-25 year lifespan, once it is up and running. A great deal of work has gone into the project to date. A planning application is expected to be submitted in March/April 2009. It is envisaged that income from this project will be used to provide a stabile financial footing form Coimhearsnachd Bharraidh agus Bhatarsaidh and will provide additional funds for investment in community projects.   Community Recycling – working with CnES, it is hoped that a greater degree of recycling of the community’s waste can be undertaken on Barra. This project will initially see the development of a community recycling centre, separating waste normally deposited in community skips. It will also involve some separation of metals and plastics. In the longer term it is hoped a composting centre can be set up to recycle the islands’ organic waste.   Coimhearsnachd Bharraidh agus Bhatarsaidh Ltd can be contacted by email at info@barra-vatersay.org.uk or Telephone 01871 810266.
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