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Community / Papa Stour kirk restoration project celebrates £250,000 grant award

The Papa Stour kirk, pre-renovation. Photo: Papa Stour History and Community Group

THE PAPA Stour community has received a massive boost in the form of a £250,000 grant towards the restoration and development of the island’s old kirk.

The money from the Scottish Government’s islands programme will help safeguard the building’s fabric and is part of a long-term project to ultimately provide the small island with a new community hub and visitor centre.

The grant award was announced by the government’s islands secretary Mairi Gougeon during a visit to Orkney on Thursday.

Papa Stour resident Andy Holt said the kirk restoration project was “community led” and involved all parties interested in the island’s heritage.

“The Papa Kirk as a listed building will still be used as a kirk alongside functioning as a community hub and visitor centre,” he said.

“The money is for phase one of the development which includes making the building wind and watertight and securing the structure.

“Phase two will include improved disabled access, toilets, a small kitchen area and interpretive centre.”

He expressed his gratitude to all funders and council officials who had helped the project, especially community worker Roselyn Fraser.

Meanwhile the Aald Skul project in South Nesting is receiving £88,095 from the same fund to invest in a new portable cabin, additional access and parking to allow the social enterprise to expand the range and volume of repaired and donated items it offers for sale.

In a statement the Scottish Government said: “This project is a strong replicable example of working towards net zero ambitions in a remote community and is a clear model of the circular economy in action.

“The Scrapstore strives to meet net zero ambitions through reducing travel and energy associated with disposing of goods which are still in good/repairable condition or with travelling to buy new items.

“This can help to reduce overall household expenses, and influence perception that the community can be an affordable place to live in comparison to other areas and centres.”

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