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
MICT is committed to supporting those in housing need across our islands, and this includes our plans for further affordable housing at Ulva Ferry. We are excited to be planning 4 houses, which will be offered for long-term rent to those in housing need. As previously, the houses will be very energy efficient to ensure low heating bills for tenants.
Plans are still at an early stage, as we carry out site investigation works on two plots of land at Ulva Ferry in community ownership, but we hope to start building next year. Community-led housing development projects are never easy and there are added costs of building so rurally, such as installing private water supplies.
We have launched a fundraising appeal to help move the project forward. While we will be applying for grant and loan funding to cover the majority of project costs, we would be grateful for any donations, which will be directly spent on build costs.
Donations to the housing project can be made online or by sending cheques payable to ‘Mull and Iona Community Trust’ to An Roth, Craignure, Isle of Mull, PA65 6AY.
For more details about the housing project, or if you are interested in renting one of the planned houses, please contact Helen MacDonald on 01680 812 900 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This really is going to be one heck of a project. The progress we have made in the last few months has been really encouraging. For a start, we now have permission from Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) to start work, plus they are very supportive of what we are doing and are willing to help wherever they can.
With great thanks to an island resident who just happens to have been a walled garden designer in the past, we now have a design layout for the garden, this has come with a full planting list as well. This design has been discussed at length within the steering group and we have agreed that something very close to this will be the basis for the renovated garden. With his expert knowledge, we now know that we need to follow the original layout of the garden, so we will be looking to rediscover the original paths and border boundaries.
Progress has also been made on the wall. A survey has now been carried out, and the report is good news. It’s not perfect by a long way, but it is safe. Unfortunately, the repair bill for the section that has fallen will not be small, but there are ways to mitigate this.
We are now very close to the clearing the ground stage of the project. However, before we can make a start there are a number of trees in and around the garden that need to be removed. Once these are clear, then we will be looking for helpers to come in and clear the ground and find out what there is in the garden that is worth keeping.
If you would like to get involved, either with the steering group, or with the digging and clearing, please let me know, we’d love to see you.
– Richard Thorne, Project Officer