A public meeting in Uig, Lewis, this week formally established an organisation to pursue the remit of creating the St Kilda Centre/Ionad Hiort as a major visitor attraction for the Western Isles.
The initiative follows the selection of a cliff-top site at Mangurstadh, Uig, as the preferred location for the centre after a keenly-contested competition involving several island communities which bid for the centre. The choice of location has been endorsed by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Visit Scotland, Proiseact nan Ealan and the National Trust for Scotland, all of which were represented on a working party which oversaw the selection process.
This week’s well-attended meeting gave enthusiastic backing to the project which still requires to find funding sources. The organisation has adopted the name St Kilda Centre Development Group/Buidheann Leasachaidh Ionad Hiort. Membership is open to all residents of Uig over 16 and associate membership to those who wish to support the group’s aims, wherever they live.
A management committee of twelve was appointed, with Iain Buchanan, Mangurstadh, as chairman. He said: “We had a well-attended meeting with a good representation from the whole parish. The next step is to engage with all the lead partners to set up a management committee of a St Kilda Trust or Foundation which will be tasked with delivering a world class visitor centre.
“We want to work in conjunction with both Harris and Uist groups to the mutual benefit of all concerned. Not only do we want to be inclusive of these groups but also work with national and international bodies which have similar existing attractions or ongoing World Heritage Site projects”.
Locally, supporters can join the group at Uig Shop where a form awaits your signature; others are invited to contact the secretary.