Keose Glebe Estate Membership

The purchase of the estate here was not an end in itself.

The aim was for us the community to have more opportunity, involvement and control in the development of the village.

These are not just empty words – we will have to provide evidence to our funders, and perhaps just as importantly, those following the fortunes of the Community Land Buyout movement, that this is happening.

As part of the  Scottish Land Fund award requirements for example, we will have to show that ownership of the estate will:

‘increase the opportunity for greater community involvement and engagement in the management and development of the Estate’

Helpfully, they have given us a tool to quantify this.

Continue reading “Keose Glebe Estate Membership”

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Further Project Development

We have begun work on further research on three projects that were identified in the Feasibility study last year.

An investigation into the requirements, costs and issues relating to a Multi-purpose Community building in this area is currently being undertaken by Robert Fraser, an architectural firm based in North Uist (http://www.fraserarchitecture.co.uk/).

The firm have visited the Keose/Keose Glebe villages and made some initial surveys in terms of assessing existing infrastructure, village topography, planning requirements, parking etc.

We hope that once these preliminary findings are available, we can, with consultation and input from the communities, agree on an appropriate building and site to take forward to the next stage of funding and detailed consideration.

£10,000 has also been awarded to Keose Glebe by CARES – the Scottish Government ‘Community And Renewable Energy Scheme’.

This is to allow us, with assistance from Local Energy Scotland and Community Energy Scotland, to assess the potential of developing appropriate renewable energy project in this area.

We have awarded this work to a Company called Ecodyn (http://www.ecodyn.com/), and we hope to have our first initial meeting with them this week (19th April).

Further feasibility work on walks/a walks network, and a sheep stock club are currently being tendered – hopefully we will have further news on these matters shortly.

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Village Tidyup

In relation to the above, we would very much like to order a warm sunny day!

While that is sadly outwith our control, we would still like the village to look its
best, especially if we have guests and dignitaries attending.

Going forward, as we head into summer, it is more likely we will have curious visitors coming to see somewhere that has been more in the press and news than is usual of late.

That leaves us with just over five weeks to do what we can before the end of May, so we have arranged an initial tidy up exercise for this Saturday, the 23rd of April.

This will give us an opportunity to assess what needs to be done; to get to grips with the roadsides; strim and cut grass where appropriate; and to tackle anything else that is within our abilities and gift to complete. Again, any ideas are welcome.

While we intend to start operations at 10am, we would be grateful for any assistance or input from villagers during the day, so we would hope to see as many people there as possible.

All weather permitting of course, and as a special reward, there will be tea and cake served afterwards.

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Official Buyout Ceremony

Following on from the successful buyout of the estate last month, we are planning an official event on Saturday the 28th of May to properly mark and celebrate the historic achievement.

We are currently working on a number of ideas as to how this could be best done, and any thoughts and ideas you may have on the matter would be most welcome.

Currently we are looking at two distinct parts to the day. Firstly in the afternoon, our idea was for an short, formal process with the actual handover ceremony taking place (perhaps at the Meeting House and around the ‘entrance’ to the Glebe); and later, a more relaxed, and enjoyable social gathering for the village and friends (up on the Glebe itself).

All the residents of the village are very much the VIP’s on this occasion, and are most cordially invited to attend this hopefully memorable day.

We will come back to you with further information and an itinerary as things develop over the next few weeks

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New Estate Office

As part of the buyout process, we have been fortunate enough to secure funding for an estate office, which will be used as a base for estate work; for any staff or consultants we are able to employ; for general meetings; and more as we plan for the future.

The portacabin is around 32 feet x 10 feet in dimensions, and contains office and working space as well as kitchen and toilet facilities.

It is currently being fitted out to our specification, and should hopefully arrive in the village in the next few weeks.

We are also currently purchasing the tables, chairs etc needed to ensure that we have all the necessary facilities and equipment in place to assist the community develop and build.

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The Keose Glebe Community Buyout has been completed!

The whole community should be immensely proud of the part it played in making this buyout happen. It is an amazing achievement, and one that has helped shine a very positive light on the village and its inhabitants…an achievement that has caused funders, the press and the general public at large, to sit up and take notice.

That can only be a good thing, and one that will hopefully stand us in good stead going forward.

The process completed was really just a means to an end however – to get control of the land we live on, and to shape the future of the place in the way *we* the people who live here, want it to.

That may be a bigger, more long-term challenge – and from the moment we became community landowners, we immediately acquired not just hopes and dreams, but responsibilities and duties too – ones we cannot now evade or shy away from.

While we will need to balance the good and bad, while we will have to be both patient and quick to respond on occasion, there are all sorts of opportunities out there, which we will look at, share, discuss, evaluate and tackle…bit by bit, and little by little, as we learn and grow together.

Just as importantly, there are also all sorts of small practical ideas, and step-changes that do not need funding or external input, but that we ourselves, with a positive approach and willingness to work together, can implement, to create lasting benefit and value for all.

Exciting and inspiring times!

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Buyout Reaction

Jackie Killeen, Director of Big Lottery Fund Scotland, said:

“Congratulations to the community of Keose Glebe on completing their land buyout of their local estate.

Owning and developing community assets recognises the strength of people who are at the heart of all communities – those who live and work in a place. Here at the Big Lottery Fund we have been supporting groups in urban and rural Scotland through the Scottish Land Fund and our Lottery funded community assets programme since 2006.

We know and understand the difference that community ownership is having across the country and we look forward to supporting more communities like Keose Glebe to make the right decision for them – delivering social, environmental and economic benefits for generations to come.”

Cllr Alasdair Macleod, Chair of the Sustainable Development Committee, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, said:

“The Keose Glebe buyout is warmly welcomed by CNES. This is a large step for a small community but this is a group with ambition and vision. The Comhairle has fully supported the aspirations of the people of Keose Glebe and will be fully supportive of the exciting challenges ahead.”

David Cameron, Director of Community Land Scotland, said:

“Excellent news from Keose that the community have completed their purchase in a comparatively short time. This reflects the leadership and cohesion in the Keose community. There is no doubt that they will go from strength to strength as the years go by and the future is safe in their hands”.

Steve Bracken, Business Support Manager, Marine Harvest Scotland, said:

“Marine Harvest has always been committed to supporting local communities in the remote locations in which we are based. We were approached by local people working on the community buyout and were delighted to be in a position to support them. We wish them every success for the future.”

Sandra Holmes, of the Community Assets Team in Highlands and Island Enterprise, said:

“The community of Keose Glebe has shown great drive and determination in working together to develop a sustainable plan for the future of the Estate. It has been an inspiring experience working with them, over a relatively short timescale, to see their plans come together and agree a purchase of the Estate.

Community land ownership has now firmly taken hold in the Western Isles and we look forward to working with the Keose Glebe Steering Group to help them deliver their aspirations for the community.”

A Kinloch Community Council spokesperson said:

“The villagers of Keose Glebe deserve huge praise for what they have achieved following months of hard work.

It is very fitting that the much loved and respected Morrison family are now able to hand the mantle of ownership over to those who have been their friends and neighbours for many years.

Those involved deserve huge praise for their efforts and the best wishes of the wider community as they take their first steps along what will  hopefully prove to be a fruitful journey.”

Iain M Maciver, Chairman of the Muaitheabhal Community Wind Farm Trust, said:

“I am pleased that the Trust was able to play a small part in supporting the people of Keose Glebe reach what will hopefully prove to be an important milestone for their village.

What they have achieved epitomizes a growing sense of self belief and determination which increasingly appears to whet an almost insatiable appetite for community ownership and empowerment throughout our Island.

It is clear that many now see community ownership as the  foundation stone on which a sustainable community can be built. The Trust will hopefully be in a position to help those involved achieve their goal”

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Keose Glebe Community Buyout – Fantastic News!

‘The land is our birth-right, even as the air, the light of the sun, and water belong to us as our birth-right.

Man cannot live without a part of the land. We cannot go up with the birds and take up our abode beyond the clouds. We cannot go down to the bottom of the sea and live with the whales.’

The words above were spoken by the Rev. Donald Maccallum (and formerly of this place) at the height of the crofting reform agitation in a past century, but the desire to own and possess land is perhaps ingrained into the psyche of Lewis people through long history.

Perhaps that encouraged a former generation here, with drive and determination, to successfully see the former church land become a crofting township in the 1930’s.

It is therefore with great pleasure that we, the current community of Keose Glebe, announce that we have taken the next (big) step forward, and completed the community land buyout of the local estate on the 22nd of March.

While the land purchase itself has been central, the buyout process has also required the community to consider and develop its skills, plans and ambitions for the future, and how these can strengthen and grow social bonds and economic opportunity, for the long term benefit of all.

Continue reading “Keose Glebe Community Buyout – Fantastic News!”

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