Regular visitors to Treshnish will know the history behind our support for the Ulva Ferry buy a brick campaign.
Our daughter attended Ulva Primary School at Ulva Ferry from 2005 to 2012. It was half an hour’s journey, on a good day, to the school over the hill, and worth every minute! A real gem of a ‘small school’. A one teacher school with only 8 pupils, in a catchment area that runs from Burg (just over the hill from Treshnish) to Kellan farm road end, towards Killiechronan and Salen – including the islands of Ulva and Gometra. It was a great academic start for her, and a fantastic community experience for us all.
The Ulva Ferry community of around 100 residents have a part-time post office in a farmhouse kitchen – but no other shop, no church, no pub, no public transport and no other social gathering place than the school. In winter the roads are often ungritted making getting around difficult or treacherous. The area has a high number of second homes and holiday cottages. Property prices are high. There is very little affordable rented housing. This makes it very difficult for young local families to settle and raise their children here. The effect of these, and other, factors was a fragile school roll.
In 2000 Argyll and Bute Council tried to close the school but failed. In 2010 they tried again. With the support of the local community and the wider Mull community we successfully fought the closure proposals for a second time. Part of that fight was the founding of the Ulva School Community Association which brought our fight and the issues facing a community like this to a more public eye.
Since then, a huge amount has been achieved – the area is now part of the HIE (Highlands and Islands Enterprise) Growth At the Edge project, which has funded a Local Development Officer (currently a job-share) to work on behalf of the local community to make the area more self-sustaining. The LDOs initially undertook an in depth community consultation, and have since produced the Community Development Plan which identifies, amongst other things, housing and transport as key issues.
The GATE project is overseen by MICT (the Mull and Iona Community Trust) and there is now an exciting housing project underway to build 2 affordable low-energy family homes.
Part of the brief for the houses is that some of the project cost must be met locally, which is where the Buy a Brick campaign comes in! The community must raise at least £5,000 locally. They are half way to this goal already. There is an overall funding shortage at the moment so they hope to raise more than the £5,000 to meet the costs of the project.
Helen, the Ulva Ferry Housing Project Officer, is confident they will close the gap on the current funding shortfall, and last week the project was given a very generous helping hand when an anonymous donor donated a very generous £15,000 to the project, and pledged a further £10,000 to match fund further donations. What this means, with Gift Aid, that my donation of £10 would become £22.50 – quite an incentive!
If you would like to support this island project you can do so in the following ways:
By text: Text the code UFHP50 and the amount you would like to donate to 70070 (e.g. UFHP50£10)
In person at the following locations:
The Boathouse, Isle of Ulva.
Polly’s Tent at Ulva Ferry Schoolhouse.
Kilbrennan B&B, Ulva Ferry.
Lip na Cloiche Garden, Ballygown, near Ulva Ferry.
Ulva Ferry Post Office at Lagganulva Farm.
Ulva Ferry Local Development Office, Torloisk Crossroads.
MICT, An Roth Community Enterprise Centre, Craignure.
Alternatively, if you would like to send a donation by cheque, please make cheques payable to Mull & Iona Community
Trust and post to:
Ulva Ferry Housing Project
Mull and Iona Community Trust
An Roth Community Enterprise Centre
Isle of Mull
Your Message of Support
You can email your message to firstname.lastname@example.org
Ulva Ferry LDO have their own Facebook page, so please like their page to keep in touch with how the project is getting on.
Thank you for reading! It is hoped that building work will start in the spring, and the houses will be allocated once the houses are finished, possibly this time next year. I will keep the blog updated with any further developments!