Gateway to Gigha

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IGHT are delighted to have been awarded the £228,100.00 from the National Lottery Heritage Lottery Fund: https://www.scotsman.com/news/environment/scotlands-marine-wildlife-set-benefit-funding-boost-more-ps13m-2502783

and £593,000 from the Low Carbon Travel and Transport Challenge Fund: https://highways-news.com/transport-scotland-awards-9-46m-for-low-carbon-and-active-travel-projects/ 

Since community ownership in 2002, Gigha's population has increased, new homes have been built, the school role has increased, and new businesses are relocating to the island. However, the community has always been concerned to conserve and protect Gigha’s beautiful natural and cultural heritage which is what makes it so special to its residents and many thousands of visitors each year. Surveys and Community Open Days have revealed a lack of knowledge of Gigha’s heritage and a desire to find out more about it. Access to many of the sites is poor or non-existent. There is also a dependency on vehicular access along a narrow single-track road with no pavements, which the Trust and community want to discourage. This proposal is one of a number of projects designed to reduce car borne traffic to the island, positively benefiting residents but also improving Gigha’s carbon footprint. By providing better footpath and cycle path access to key sites, better information and interpretation online, before visiting (mainland) and on island – we hope to let everyone understand more about what is important about Gigha and help the community to protect it.

Gigha has a number of important built and archaeological heritage sites ranging from a medieval church to an inscribed Ogham stone to several Dun sites. With the exception of very dated interpretation at the Church, there has been no investment in any of these sites for a number of years. Gigha has a range of natural heritage sites but these are not well known and access to many of them are poor or impossible, especially to those less mobile, including families and pushchairs. There have also been no investments in Gigha’s path network for a number of years. This means that any paths that do exist have become overgrown and unusable. The lack of a coherent network in good condition has been identified by many visitors and members of the community as an issue over a number of years and again more recently in the spring 2019 survey carried out by IGHT. When asked what stops people from visiting key sites on Gigha, the highest response was "The paths and routes to them aren't clear."

Aim of the project:

  • Visitors find out more about Gigha’s heritage and how to protect it
  • The community find out more about their heritage and how to protect it
  • Reduced number in motor-borne visitors measured through CalMacs annual carrying figures
  • Everyone feels safer on the island roads
  • More people feel empowered to volunteer and get involved
  • An increase in length of the tourism season, increasing footfall off season and extending the length of stay
  • The community better understand how to protect the assets on their land
  • More young people are involved in community projects
  • Young people are better skilled and better able to find local employment
  • Awareness of Gaelic on Gigha is enhanced
  • Increase in opportunities to spend, see or stay – contributing to the broader economic and social sustainability of Gigha and Kintyre
  • Improved perceptions by local people of the place they live
Agreed outputs:
  • Improved access on the island through the improvement / creation of 8km of paths for walkers and cyclists
  • Purchase of 10 ebikes & 4 adaptive ebikes to be available for hire from the Activity Centre to support more active travel on the island and encourage a reduction in car-borne visitors
  • Improve interpretation on the island, installing a series of interpretation boards, way-markers, gates and signage
  • Recruit a Project Manager (0.6 FTE)
  • Recruit an Island Ranger (1 FTE)
  • Provide training opportunities for a minimum of five young people
  • Develop a heritage conservation plan and deliver a conservation project to provide training to locals and volunteers on heritage maintenance and conservation
  • Deliver a minimum of 20 public events and work with local schools to deliver approximately five curriculum based projects
  • Develop a marketing strategy to include updating the IGHT website to include downloadable activities and walk information
  • Review opportunities to reduce negative environmental impacts
  • Commission an evaluation consultant to conduct thorough project evaluation in line with funders guidance
 

 

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