Celebrations are underway after Grimsay’s new community centre – Ceann na h-Airigh – was officially this morning (Saturday 25th June 2016).
Jack MacDonald (pictured centre), Hector Stewart (left) and Annag MacKinnon (right) jointly cut the ribbon at the formal opening this morning. All three individuals are from Grimsay families with historic connections to the former church building.
Refurbishment work at Ceann na h-Airigh – which was purchased by Grimsay Community Association (GCA) two years ago – began earlier this year.
GCA chair, Theona Morrison, said today was “a day of celebration for Grimsay” and thanked everyone who had worked to make the purchase of the building and its subsequent development possible.
After opening the building, community members poured in for a new look at their new community hub and to enjoy a cup of tea and some home baking.
This evening Ceann na h-Airigh will host a traditional ceilidh starting at 8pm.
Now complete, this first phase of work has seen a new entrance built for Ceann na h-Airigh, with a second extension creating space for a community kitchen.
Inside the main building, a meeting room, new toilet facilities and a secure space for the local history archive have been added. The remainder of the space inside has been opened up as a space to host markets, teas and functions for the local community. Several aspects of the centre’s interior design reflect its history as a church.
A second planned phase of work will see the development of a cafe, community growing space and events and activities delivered through a new Local Food and Environment Programme.
Grimsay Post Office is also in the process of moving to Ceann na h-Airigh.
Refurbishment of the building has been made possible through grants from Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s Community Capital Grant Fund, the Heritage Lottery Fund ‘Our Heritage’ programme, Stòras Uibhist’s Sealladh na Beinne Mòire Community Fund, and the generosity of private donors as well as GCA’s own fundraising activities.
Weekly local produce markets and teas will recommence from Wednesday 29th June, running from 3 – 6pm. Markets will run to the same format as last year, selling only local produce, arts and crafts, with tea, coffee and home baking.
Summer teas will commence on 7 th July and run every Thursday, Friday and Saturday between 12 – 4pm at Ceann na h-Airigh.
More on this story in the next edition of Am Pàipear.