Funding Success for Childcare and Community Well Being Projects
Although our office has been closed for the last year, the staff at Mull and Iona Community Trust have been working hard in the background developing projects to address the lack of formal childcare on the islands and also to improve well-being. We have just been rewarded with three funding successes!
In consultation for all the Community Development Plans we have produced, residents of all ages and backgrounds told us in surveys and face to face group meetings how much they appreciate the islands’ natural environment and that it contributes significantly to quality of life.
The need for improving access to outdoor services, more opportunities for social integration, and improving childcare options on the island emerged as key priorities from our consultation work. These needs have been amplified under the Covid 19 lockdown, limiting indoor social interaction and the few childcare services that are available.
MICT has had ambitions to set up new childcare services for a number of years, and we now have the opportunity to run a 12 month Rural Out of School Care Pilot to provide regular and reliable childcare for school aged children with a focus on the outdoors and mobile service options with a view to providing a sustainable service beyond the trial period. The project aims to provide breakfast, after school and holiday clubs in addition to looking into home based care services to address the different demands in a rural community. The pilot will create an Out of School Care Co-ordinators post and two Practitioners/Play Leaders posts and is being funded by the Scottish Government, as part of its wider aims to improve out of school care.
Children’s Minister Maree Todd said, “We know that the last year has been challenging for many children and families, in part due to limited access to childcare. I am pleased we can provide funding to test different approaches to providing childcare – like this project in partnership with the Mull and Iona Community Trust. School age childcare services play a vital role in providing children with opportunities to play and socialise, while also helping parents and carers to access work and training opportunities. This pilot with the Mull and Iona Community Trust will work in partnership with third sector organisations, childcare settings and childminders to explore creative solutions that will address the barriers to childcare that exist in rural and island communities.”
With many indoor playgroups and toddler groups not currently running, MICT has also been able to secure funding from Outdoor and Woodlands Learning Scotland for 10 weekly Outdoor Playschemes for children aged 0-3 and their parents/carers, led by our Mull and Iona Ranger Service. The playschemes will help to alleviate isolation for our youngest island children and their parents, and in particular help toddlers socialise in preparation for pre-school.
Alongside these, a new 2 year Community Well Being Project funded by The National Community Lottery Fund will provide outdoor activities benefitting the whole community. The aim of the project is to improve well-being for islanders and help people recover from the social impact of the Covid-19 lockdown, by providing new opportunities to work together, feel less isolated, improve mental health and nurture new skills and increase confidence.
A new Community Well Being Officer role will be created to oversee the project and develop the activities which will include skills training and team building for high school children, outdoor, therapeutic, nature based social activities for vulnerable groups within our community. This award also allows us to provide environmentally sensitive welfare facilities at our Ardura Community Forest to accommodate these activities.
Moray Finch, General Manager at MICT said, “These awards really will make a difference to our communities as we move slowly out of lockdown, and will I hope build a platform for us to support provision of more and more options for families seeking supervised activities for children and eventually maybe even expanding to a more formal childcare provision.”
Mull and Iona Community Trust (MICT), working with Ulva School Community Association (USCA), are delighted to have appointed The Wee House Company to build four affordable houses at Ulva Ferry, on the Isle of Mull. This news is a culmination of three years’ dedicated work to secure land and funding for this project, which will meet an ongoing acute housing need locally.
Thanks to a grant of £777,855 from the Scottish Government’s Rural & Islands Housing Fund, £48,000 from Argyll & Bute Council’s Strategic Housing Fund, a mortgage from Ecology Building Society and many individual donations, a full funding package has now been secured. MICT is also grateful to the Scottish Land Fund, The Prince’s Countryside Fund, Nationwide Community Fund and Highlands & Islands Enterprise for funding the Project Officer’s post.
This ambitious project will see construction of 4 houses at Ulva Ferry, on the west coast of the Isle of Mull, on two plots of land – one purchased via the Scottish Land Fund, and one donated by a local landowner. The houses will be offered with secure tenancies to those in housing need. Rents will be affordable, in line with social housing on Mull, and will be economical to heat. A locally agreed allocation policy will be used to prioritise applications. While MICT is a registered private landlord, they are working with West Highland Housing Association, who offer assistance with allocations, management support, and advice to tenants.
Delivering affordable long-term rental homes will have a real positive impact for the local community at Ulva Ferry, including an increase in the primary school roll, and the number of working age adults to work locally which will boost the fragile local economy. USCA Convenor Josh Liddle commented, “it is fantastic to see The Wee House Company formally appointed to manage this project after so much work behind the scenes. We look forward to welcoming more people to our community here at Ulva Ferry next year”.
MICT Convenor, Sandy Brunton, added, “affordable housing is consistently a priority issue across Mull and Iona and this project is a really good example of community powered regeneration. We are so fortunate to have Helen MacDonald, our very experienced Housing Project Officer, steering us through all the challenges of building homes for rent in a very rural area”.
The Wee House Company is at the forefront of modular construction in Scotland. Homes are 90% complete before leaving their Ayrshire factory and are delivered to site ready-fitted with kitchens, bathrooms, plumbing and electrics, meaning they can be completed and occupied far quicker than traditional builds. Factory conditions help reduce waste and improve quality control, whilst eliminating the effects of inclement weather.
Managing Director Jennifer Higgins said “The need for affordable homes has never been greater and with our newly launched brand ‘Connect Modular’ we look forward to contributing high quality, sustainable homes to help tackle this issue. With our wealth of experience building in remote and island communities we are very much looking forward to working with MICT and USCA to deliver these much-needed homes for residents of Mull.”
For more details about the Ulva Ferry housing project, or if you want to discuss affordable housing issues anywhere on Mull and Iona, please contact Helen MacDonald on 01680 812 918 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you to everyone for their patience and understanding while our charity shops have been closed. We are looking at ways to reopen our shops in as soon as it’s safe to do so. We are also investigating selling online by ebay and more locally via facebook (we will post updates as we have them). We know lots of you have items ready to donate and for that we are truly grateful. We will need your donations, and your custom, more than ever.
As many of you have indicated that that have been busy clearing out during lockdown, we anticipate being very busy initially, and so we will need to accept donations in a very controlled manner. We are looking at how to safely accept donations at drop off points – we will let you know more details nearer the time. We will also be quarantining donations for 72 hours before they are sorted, meaning lack of storage space is likely to be an issue.
One big thing you can do before donating is sort it yourself by following these checklists: Donating clothing
- Is the item damaged in any way
- Is the fabric bobbly
- Would I buy this item?
If you don’t think it’s good enough to sell, please can you place in a separate bag marked rags. We can still send these for recycling as long as they are clean.
- Are all the pieces there?
- Is it broken in any way?
- Are the boxes badly damaged?
Donating small Electrical goods
- Is the item in good repair
- Is it fully functioning? We test electrical goods but do not do repairs.
- Is the upholstery ripped or stained
- Is it clean.
- Is the wood or glass scratched or damaged?
- Is the correct fire label still attached?
If so , we ask that you dispose of them yourself as our strict re-use standards only allow us to sell quality checked items.
This will help us save time and cut down on waste, meaning more time and money can go towards supporting our recycling project and the community.
We hope to post more updates very soon about when you can shop, donate and volunteer – as well as, crucially, how we will be keeping you all safe. Thank you again for your patience.
For more information please contact Hazel Cowe at email@example.com
Like most areas of life as we know it, the Ulva Ferry car park improvement project came to a grinding halt in late March, so close to completion, after a sterling job from TSL and subcontractors in challenging winter weather. Work continues to finalise signage ready for when construction work can begin again in phase 2 of the Scottish Government coronavirus route map.
The community planting day was postponed, and the saplings kindly donated by Rachel Watt and Lucy MacKenzie are being cared for by Moray in readiness to plant out in the Autumn.
Design work has continued on the shore facilities building thanks to a grant from The Waterfall Fund and RTIF (Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund), and whilst effort has been diverted to bring in much need MICT core funding, due to lack of income during the pandemic, it is hoped that work will begin again soon on the shore facilities development project to secure planning and funding.
The Ulva Ferry pontoon has been quiet during the beautiful spring weather but has been providing berthing for fishing boats, and now local recreational boats. We hope we can welcome back visiting boats later in the summer.
Cally Fleming, Shore Facilities Development Officer