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Gairloch and Loch Ewe Action Forum (GALE) outlines plans for The Shieling

By Hector MacKenzie

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GALE believes The Shieling can become a valuable community hub. Picture: GALE
GALE believes The Shieling can become a valuable community hub. Picture: GALE

A WESTER Ross community can look forward to the development of a “valuable asset” after a major property deal was concluded.

That’s the claim from GALE (Gairloch and Loch Ewe Action Forum) which has announced the successful purchase of The Shieling.

GALE represents communities in the Gairloch and Loch Ewe area. It’s purpose is to socially, environmentally and economically regenerate the area.


GALE picks up thriving communities award

Community group secures grant towards Shieling

The Scottish Land Fund (SLF) awarded GALE a grant of £337,724. The Community Ownership Fund (COF) awarded GALE a grant of £128,129.

The purchase has been two years in the planning and GALE says COF, a UK Government grant dedicated to empowering local communities, recognised the potential of the Shieling community hub project.

GALE says the support from the SLF and Foundation Scotland “demonstrates the confidence and belief that both the UK and Scottish governments have” in its leadership and track record.

GALE says it recognises that the successful funding applications not only provide a significant financial boost to the project but also endorse and support the UK and Scottish governments' commitment to community-led regeneration.

GALE says acquisition of The Shieling, in Gairloch, will drive benefits for the local economy and act as a catalyst for social, cultural, and economic development.

Cory Jones. Picture: GALE
Cory Jones. Picture: GALE

Cory Jones, chair of the GALE board, voiced gratitude to dedicated staff, volunteers and members for “unwavering support”.

He said: “It has been a journey to reach this point, and naturally, people will be curious about what comes next. In the coming weeks, we will be sharing our plans with everyone through various channels, including an open meeting at The Shieling in late April and updates on our website and social media platforms.

“I firmly believe that in the years to come, The Shieling will blossom into a valuable community asset.”

Over the next two years, GALE will explore and evaluate a wide range of community ideas put forward during the consultation period.

To oversee and implement pilot projects, it says it will hire a full-time project development officer to ensure that each initiative enhances the community hub.

Possible projects include a community pub, a local bakery, a refillery, pop-up restaurants, additional office accommodation and meeting space, kitchen facilities, and expanded growing space.

GALE says it wants the community to join “this exciting and ever evolving endeavour” by signing up for their blog, where regular updates and insights will be provided.

GALE says it “encourages everyone to share their ideas and actively participate in shaping the future of The Shieling as a vibrant and inclusive space that meets the diverse needs and aspirations of the community”.

Blog Sign Up is at https://galeactionforum.co.uk/blog-sign-up

The GALE Centre in Gairloch. Picture: GALE
The GALE Centre in Gairloch. Picture: GALE

The largest and best known of its community projects is The GALE Centre, which acts as a community hub, providing year-round employment for around 25 employees. The centre , operational since 2012, houses a community café, shop and tourist information.

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