Energy Costs Support for the Islands

Winter heating bills are rising to unaffordable levels and we are keen to remind permanent residents of Mull, Iona, Ulva, Gometra and Erraid that financial help is available from the Fuel Hardship Fund.

The Fuel Hardship Fund is a home grown scheme run by The Waterfall Fund, an independent charity setup to receive the profits from Garmony Hydro and distribute them as grants to the communities of Mull and Iona. Garmony Hydro and the Waterfall Fund were setup by Mull and Iona Community Trust. Residents able to demonstrate they are in fuel poverty will receive one-off payments of £250 per household no matter how their house is heated. Applications to this fund are completely confidential.

In addition to the Fuel Hardship Fund, further support is available:

We would also like to highlight this guide Do You have Money Worries developed by the Bute Advice Centre. The helpful guide covers topics such as maximising your income, budgeting tips, dealing with debt, energy advice and support services.

For more information on The Fuel Hardship Fund please contact

Work Starts on Glengorm Affordable Housing Project

Glengorm Farming Partnership has secured significant funding to convert disused farm buildings near Tobermory into five affordable housing units.


Recognising the acute need for affordable housing on Mull, Glengorm is committed to increasing the supply of permanent homes locally, including releasing land for new builds and converting some of their properties from short-term to long-term lets.  Renovating a disused barn in the farm square will add a further five new homes, which will be offered for affordable rent to those in housing need on completion.

 The project has been made possible thanks to grant funding from the Scottish Government’s Rural & Islands Housing Fund, and Argyll & Bute Council’s Strategic Housing Fund.  Mull and Iona Community Trust (MICT) supported Glengorm in securing the grant funding, carrying out community consultation work to evidence the housing need, and advising on the required allocation policy.

 While the Rural & Islands Housing Fund is open to landowners across all sectors, the majority of recipients to date have been community groups.  Glengorm is the first private landowner in Argyll to have been awarded such a grant, and it is hoped others will follow suit and contribute to increasing the number of affordable homes in our most rural communities.

 Tom Nelson, owner of Glengorm, commented, “We are very excited, at Glengorm, that our latest housing project is now well underway. Repurposing redundant farm buildings is a great way to add to the rental housing stock in our community without greatly impacting the beauty of the island. The addition of these 5 homes will increase or long term rental properties to 13 on Glengorm, with well over 50 residents, the highest number in over 120 years.  We would like to thank Helen MacDonald of MICT for help in securing the necessary funding.  Also continued thanks to Gus Robertson for building it and AGL Architects for their design.”

 MICT Housing Development Manager Helen MacDonald added, “we have been delighted to support Glengorm with this affordable housing project, and it is great to see work now underway after delays relating to Covid.”

The project is being led by AGL Architects with construction by Gus Robertson Building Contractors.  More details about how to apply to rent the new houses will be made available towards the end of the year.

 MICT offers housing advice and consultancy services across Mull and Iona, and would be happy to speak to any local landowners considering how they can support the delivery of affordable housing locally, please contact Helen MacDonald, Housing Development Manager: or 01680 812 912.  More information about the Rural & Islands Housing Fund can be found here:

New Public Access Defibrillator

We are pleased to announce that Island Bakery Organics is now hosting a Public Access Defibrillator, adding to the network across Mull and Iona – THIRTY THREE in total! Big thanks to Joe Reade and to Cathy Mellor who will take care of the defibrillator carrying out the monthly checks.

Moray with Cathy and Joe at the new Public Access Defibrillator

Here is the up to date map of the 33 public access defibrillators across Mull, Iona, Erraid and Ulva.
Please share it widely.

If you would like to make a donation towards the running cost of a defibrillator, request a printed copy or would like to find out more about what is involved in hosting one, please contact

Rural Housing Burdens: A Partial Solution to Our Housing Crisis?

Mull is experiencing a housing crisis. Mull and Iona Community Trust (MICT) receives regular pleas from individuals, families and businesses desperately seeking homes on the island across all tenures. The lack of housing is causing significant problems to our communities and threatens to accelerate depopulation of our working age residents.

The demand for homes to facilitate holiday boltholes and lifestyle changes post-pandemic has driven up house prices, far beyond the reach of average households living on the island. An increasing number of self-catering lets to meet the heightened domestic holiday market, while providing valuable income for many, has negatively impacted on the long-term lets options for key workers and business employees.

Various plans for new affordable housing developments will help address this issue, but they take time to come to fruition. Meanwhile, many feel they will never get a foot on the property ladder, and face the prospect of continued renting uncertainty or having to leave the island.

There is, however, an option which ensures that houses being sold must be the primary residence of the owner – FOREVER. A Rural Housing Burden is a mechanism under Scots Law which places a Title Condition on the deeds of a property which will apply in perpetuity. Under the Land Reform Act, a Rural Housing Burden can only be applied by a designated Rural Housing Body: MICT was approved by Scottish Ministers as a Rural Housing Body in 2014.

When a burden is first applied on behalf of the owner, the vendor may wish to offer a discount, usually 20-40% below the market valuation to help make it more affordable.

The new property owner would have full legal title and ownership of their home, but they would be bound by legally enforceable conditions of the Burden which ensures that it must be their main residence and not let as a holiday home.

Once the Burden is in place, MICT has a pre-emptive right to buy it back if the owner ever wishes to sell. If MICT does buy the property back it would be at the discount percentage (if applicable) of the current market valuation and it would then be sold on at the same discount percentage. This ensures that the original discount made will endure in perpetuity. The conditions and MICT’s right of pre-emption remain with the Title forever.
For someone selling a property, the Rural Housing Burden, while possibly reducing the sale price, would give peace of mind that the house would remain as someone’s home in perpetuity, and their generosity would not be taken advantage of. For the new owner, it would be a means of buying more affordably and still being able to benefit from the proportional rise in market prices if they sold on in the future.

If you are considering selling and would like to find out more, contact Helen MacDonald at MICT for a confidential chat: email or call 01680 812 912.