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Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

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Funding secured to restore island mill as historical visitor attraction


The Garrabost Mill in the Outer Hebrides has been approved for a grant of nearly £100,000. 

A community-owned 19th century mill which is a unique example of social history on the Isle of Lewis has successfully been awarded funding for its restoration.   

Built in 1893, the Garrabost Mill was in commercial operation, milling barley and oatmeal for local crofting communities until 1956 and was in the ownership of the Morrison family for more than a century.   

A volunteer committee owns and will manage the significant plans for its restoration and reinvention as a historical visitor attraction.

Garrabost Mill Trust Chairperson, Brian Chaplin said: “The Mill is an important part of our local heritage. When we conducted our community survey many residents recounted tales of carrying home-grown barley there for processing into meal and are looking forward to seeing the Mill working again.  

“Our first priority is to safeguard the fabric of the building and technical studies have shown that it is basically in good order with some needs for re-roofing and woodworm treatment.  Secondly, we are very keen to engage with the community and encourage people of all ages to join the committee and help us deliver what could be a defining heritage project for Garrabost and the surrounding area. 

We are, as a committee, incredibly grateful to all our supporters and look to the future of the Mill with optimism.”

Funding for the restoration comes from a recently approved grant of £95,000 from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), matching £95,000 already pledged by local wind farm charity Point and Sandwick Trust (PST).  

Natalie Campbell, Head of Enterprise Support in HIE’s Innse Gall area team, said: “This is a fantastic example of a community-led tourism project with an important crofting and cultural history. 

“Restoration of the mill and outbuildings will transform it into a visitor attraction, which will help create jobs and safeguard a building with historic interest for future generations. We are really pleased to support this project, which will be run by a community where Gaelic is part of the everyday spoken word and we’re looking forward to seeing the project take shape.”

The objectives of the Garrabost Mill Trust are to restore working order of the building as a demonstration mill, creating a social and cultural hub to reflect the crofting heritage of the area and provide a local visitor attraction.  

Only five miles from Stornoway, the Mill will offer an exciting insight into this unique building and its role within local crofting history to visitors and residents alike. 

PST Community Consultant and former CEO of Voluntary Action Lochaber and Third Sector Hebrides, Alasdair Nicholson, wrote the Mill restoration feasibility study and has been integral in sourcing funding on behalf of the Garrabost Mill Trust. 

He said: “This is an exciting opportunity to create a new chapter in the history of the mill and be a focal point for the stories around the heritage of the area, including those unique to this part of the crofting community.  

"Initially the HIE and PST funding will cover costs including roof repairs to the mill and replacement roofs on the outbuildings, cleaning of outbuilding walls, restoration of the water wheel, access and improvements to the amenity.”



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