Campaign stepped up to restore Old Mill Hall

Mike Shucksmith is presented with the donation by store manager Seamus MacNeil

Campaigners in Lochalsh are continuing with their efforts to redevelop the 200-year-old old mill hall, with fundraising gathering pace and over 40 raffle prizes donated by businesses and individuals across the area.

The hall committee also thanked the supermarket chain Spar for donating £500 to the cause.

The fundraising includes a Lottery bonus ball game, very soon a range of Balmacara branded gifts and souvenirs will become available – T Shirts, mugs, water bottles. The raffle and bonus ball game can be played at Reraig Spar and raffle tickets are also available at Beth’s Café, the Croft Café and Armadale Stores.

On Friday of last week Mike Shucksmith,chair of the hall committee, met with Seamus  MacNeil, manager of Reraig Spar to receive a kind donation of £500. Spar have been very supportive of the efforts that the hall committee has been undertaking and allowing the fundraising efforts to take place from the store has been a real boost to the group.

Mr Shucksmith said: “The support from local businesses for the raffle has been simply amazing and unexpected, it seems that the Old Mill Hall holds a lot of memories for so many people and to gather so many prizes is fantastic. Donations like Spar has given make a massive difference to the level of funds that we can make – it’s a really great gesture of support for the community, we are very grateful.”

The committee needs to raise between £40,000 and £50,000 themselves as well as making grant funding applications to various bodies. 

This week, the hall committee also received a letter from local MP Ian Blackford, who is putting his full support behind the group.

He said: “I understand that the hall has significant meaning, both historically and culturally. It would be wonderful to see it rescued from its current state of disrepair and fully restored to its former glory.”

The group has now completed the initial stages of a viability study, outline design and business planning with support from the Architectural Heritage Fund that enabled MAAC Studio and the Impact Hub to be commissioned. The committee will submit a further funding application to the AHF to work towards a full planning application and building warrant.

Mr Blackford added: “It is clear that the new committee has worked tirelessly with a variety of agencies to progress the project thus far. It is commendable that you have achieved so much in such a short time despite restrictions imposed on such projects by the pandemic – not the least the ability to fundraise.”

The group continues with their efforts and are encouraging businesses to consider donations as well as members of the community to support the fundraising initiatives.