Glasgow & West Scotland

Community-owned Gigha 'almost £3m in the red'

Gigha Image copyright PA
Image caption Residents bought the Isle of Gigha in 2002 for just under £4m

The community-owned island of Gigha, three miles off the Kintyre Peninsula, is reported to be in financial trouble.

It is understood the Isle of Gigha Heritage Trust, which took over the Hebridean island for about £4m in 2002, is almost £3m in the red.

The Trust recently completed a review of its operations with the help of Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

Islanders are due to take part in a vote of confidence in the chairwoman of the Trust on Thursday.

In a statement, the Trust said: "The Trust has invested in the housing and other developments on the island some of which has been borrowed, some granted from supporting organisations and some raised from the island's own businesses and efforts.

'Management of debt'

"In addition to improving our housing stock, £1m was paid back to lenders within a year of the original purchase of the island; over £800,000 has been raised through Trust's renewables companies; and the value of the island has increased to over £7m.

"We have recently carried out a strategic review, with the support of Highlands and Islands Enterprise, which has focused on the use of our assets, financial performance and debts of the Trust. The management of debt is part of our plans for the future."

Gigha is accessed by a 20-minute ferry journey from the Kintyre peninsula.

The community raised £4m to buy the island when it was put up for sale by businessman Derek Holt in 2001.

The residents set up the Trust to bid for the land, securing £3.5m of lottery funding in the process, as well as backing from the Scottish Land Fund, HIE and public donations.

Since the takeover, residents have been developing the local economy. They have income-generating wind turbines and a housing refurbishment programme which provides high quality accommodation for local people.

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