‘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.
Training, feasibility works, valuations, mapping, business plans, company set-up, community consultation, legal undertakings and many other requirements have also had to be developed, funded and undertaken.
These have, in themselves, been rewarding and stimulating, but none of this could have been achieved by the community alone.
Todays outcome, and a firm foundation for moving forward, has only been made possible by both generous funding and, perhaps more importantly, the guidance, support and advice from the following bodies –
The Scottish Land Fund;
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar;
Highlands & Islands Enterprise;
the Muaitheabhal Community Windfarm Trust;
Kinloch Community Council; and
Community Land Scotland;
All these agencies have played significant roles in this process at different and critical times, and so we would like to thank them for all their backing.
We would like to thank Calum Macleod of Harper Macleod LLP, Dr Calum Macleod and his team of consultants; John Macleod of Westside Surveys; Ruairidh Maclennan of the Valuation Office Agency, Keose & Glebe Community Association, and the other community estates on the island that assisted and encouraged.
We would also like to thank Murdo Morrison, the former landlord, for agreeing to sell the estate to the community, and for keeping us motivated to see the opportunity through to its conclusion.
Both he and his family have been fine and worthy ambassadors and custodians for many decades and so we wish Murdo and Christine all the best in their new lives outwith the village.
Finally, we the Steering Group, would like to thank the whole community for its support, belief and enthusiasm over the last year.
While the Keose Glebe area has had a long and interesting history, this is a new and exciting chapter for us, and as we develop new projects and strategies, again with the help of those agencies that got us here, we look forward with a renewed sense of optimism that real and significant change (for the better) is within our grasp and capabilities.
The Keose Glebe Steering Group
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