Plans to build a new £1.6million micro-abattoir on Skye have moved a step closer with the launch of a major fundraising drive.
Crofters, farmers and members of the public will soon be able to buy community shares in Skye and Lochalsh Micro Abattoir Limited, following the registration of the group as a community benefit society.
The volunteer-led society is hoping to raise £200,000, out of the £1.6million required for the project, through the share offering.
To date the society has raised £54,174 through local fundraising activities, grants and donations in kind.
It has also gained detailed planning approval, and submitted an application for a building warrant, to erect the new abattoir in Portree.
Society interim chairman Donald Murdie said gaining £200,000 in community shares would demonstrate the local support for the project and act as leverage when seeking support from a variety of grant funders. “We have reached a hugely significant stage in the delivery of our project,” said Mr Murdie.
“The successful registration with the Financial Conduct Authority is crucial as we seek to reinstate a service that will empower our local crofting and farming communities to re-energise and rebalance traditional production and local meat supply.”
The society will launch its community share issue with help from Community Share Scotland, and anyone interested in registering interest can do so online at http://skyelochalshabattoir.com/pledge-support/
Community shares are only available to co-operative societies and charitable community benefit societies.
They enable members of the community to invest directly in a project, while earning interest on their investment and being given the chance to withdraw the money after a certain period of time.
A number of local politicians have thrown their weight behind the project. Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch MSP Kate Forbes said: “For a number of reasons, I fully support the establishment of a micro-abattoir on Skye. It is good for local business, it is cheaper for local crofters and it is better for animals.”
Highlands and Islands MSP Rhoda Grant said: “Everyone wants to support local farmers and crofters and having an abattoir on the island means that supply chains are shortened, keeping profits on the island and growing the economy.”