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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Isle of Lewis community hub wins prestigious green energy award

This news post is about 1 year old

Volunteer group Urras Stòras An Rubha claimed the award at a glitzy ceremony on December 1. 

The project to revitalise the Old School at Knock on the Isle of Lewis has received renewable energy industry recognition for its positive impact winning Best Community Project at the 2022 Scottish Green Energy Awards.

The former school was purchased by volunteer group Urras Stòras An Rubha in 2015 and the plan to give the building a new lease of life was realised in September when it reopened as Aros An Rubha.  

The volunteer committee behind the project were committed to two project goals, bringing the building up to date with extensive renovation works and incorporating renewable energy to provide the majority of its power.

Community consultation and national targets both favoured the incorporation of renewable energy and the community hub is run from a virtual off-grid “islanded” system which uses the grid only as a backup. 

Taken as a whole, the project is a demonstration of what mixed energy sources can achieve; smart management of energy, solar panels, air source heat pump and insulation have radically reduced dependence on the grid. 

The award category was for a project that showed the outstanding development of a renewable energy project which has been led by a community group or community organisation. 

Urras Stòras An Rubha Secretary, Catriona Dunn said: “We are delighted to have won this award, against strong competition.  

“We are grateful to all who have been with us on the journey, giving of their time, skills, support and funding, and sharing our vision of transforming the old school building into an energy-efficient and vibrant community hub.”

The community hub is home to a shop and café, dedicated museum & exhibition space for Comann Eachdraidh An Rubha, archive & storage facilities for community paper the Rudhach, a meeting room and hotdesking facilities.  

The building also houses the offices of charity wind farm group Point and Sandwick Trust (PST) who have been strong supporters of the project vision for renewable energy at the site.

Scottish Power Renewables sponsored the community award and Joe Mitchell presented the award to Catriona and Mike Dunn representing Urras Stòras An Rubha at the award ceremony in Edinburgh on the December 1.

Nick Sharpe, director of communications and strategy at Scottish Renewables said: "In an extremely competitive category, Aros An Rubha was a well-deserved winner of the 'Best Community Project' award at this year's Scottish Green Energy Awards. 

“Our panel of judges were really impressed with how the project uses a mix of renewable energy sources to radically reduce dependence on the grid at a time when energy prices are at an all-time high.  Congratulations to everyone at Aros An Rubha on its award win."