What is the aim of the project?
To preserve an active and thriving community, retain a local primary school and increase the availability of affordable housing.
Where is it taking place?
Located in Staffin in the north‐east of the Isle of Skye
What has been achieved?
A declining and ageing population, falling school roll, high levels of health and economic deprivation and lack of affordable housing stock were significant barriers to the rural community’s future sustainability. Staffin Community Trust (SCT) embarked on a partnership with the Communities Housing Trust (CHT) and Lochalsh and Skye Housing Association (LSHA) to design and deliver a £1.6m regeneration project to address the housing, health and business needs of Staffin.
In 2022, six new family homes were built and are now occupied. A new health centre, is leased to NHS Highland, and two new business units were also constructed. The project is delivering wide‐ranging social, economic and health benefits to a community, in the top 20% of most deprived areas in the Highlands.
The new homes are occupied by families, bringing new life to the area and increasing enrolment in the local primary school, safeguarding it against closure and preserving a vital community facility. In addition, some of the homes have been rented by locals who were previously housed in unsuitable conditions, and their moves have in turn freed up other local housing stock at the affordable end of the market for locals looking for smaller properties.
With the new health clinic, residents can access care in a more accessible setting, and also have the ability to access a wider range of services than were previously available. This will help address the rural health deprivation suffered locally, particularly for the elderly and those with additional mobility and support needs.
Securing an aquaculture marine company on a long‐term lease for the business units will support vital new employment in the village and also provide long‐term economic benefits. Income from the leases of the homes and other premises will provide reliable resources to be used to achieve future community aims.
Who is running it?
A key aspect of the project was the collaborative partnership between SCT, CHT and LSHA, which ensured a mixed‐use development could be delivered.
Why did the judging panel like it?
The judging team felt that the project had overcome significant hurdles to secure and develop the site, which was common grazing land that had suffered from peat bog ground conditions. The judges felt the project responded well to identified local needs, and resulted in a well balanced, mixed‐use, sustainable development which benefits the wider community. The new development blends seamlessly into its surroundings and demonstrates the positive impact that a strong partnership approach can bring, by going beyond a housing solution to deliver economic and health benefits. The determination, patience and co‐operation among partners was very strong and the judges could clearly see that the process has given confidence to Staffin Community Trust to build on this successful delivery and consider future developments.