Western Isles Lottery Celebrate Raising Over £250,000 For Our Communities
The local Lottery Team are celebrating their 4th Birthday this weekend by reaching the huge milestone of having distributed over quarter of a million pounds to communities across the Western Isles.
Founded in August 2017, the Lottery has gone from strength to strength. In addition to funding numerous and varied projects, more than £125,000 has also been won in Cash Prizes and Holiday breaks by locals from every corner of the Islands. To celebrate the milestone and to thank Supporters for their loyalty, £5,000 of prizes will be won during the month of August with this Saturday’s 1st Prize being £1,500!
Above: WILL Lottery Team and 'Mr Glen' now proudly drives 'Miss Porter' adjacent to the renovated Porters Lodge.
Despite the circumstances over the last year, support for the Lottery has continued to grow with well over 3100 tickets now being entered into each Saturday night Draw. This, in turn, means every local community benefits from more and more funding to carry out worthwhile projects.
Janet Paterson of the Lottery Team said “it has been a remarkable journey from what was a seed of an idea. The ongoing success of the Lottery can be put down to the funds returning directly to the area of the Supporter using a postcode system. So, for example, if a ticket is purchased from a Harris address, then the proceeds of that ticket are returned to Harris Voluntary Services who manage their own local funds. Each area receives its’ own profits at the start of each month. It is quite something to see the funds accumulating from each £1 ticket. Clearly, without the public’s support, this would not have been possible and we sincerely thank them for their continued enthusiasm”.
Lockdown hampered the flow of many projects taking place. However, there have still been a number of highlights during the fourth year of funding and there are many new projects across all areas either in progress, or in the pipeline, with the build-up of funds.
Following a drab year, all areas were able to benefit from either new or enhanced Festive Christmas Displays and many competitions took place across the Islands to encourage locals to light up their homes. These proved so popular they will take place again this year. Schools became involved again and produced some excellent art boards which were placed in locations across the Isles.
The highlight of the displays in Stornoway Town Centre was the illumination of Stornoway Town Hall, a project that took a lot of planning and 18 months to materialise. A number of calendar events have been recognised since then, including Parkinson’s Day which put Stornoway on the interactive google map of landmarks being lit up.
Leverburgh also made national headlines with their first display which included a creel tree and North Uist were recognised for their magical innovative Tree Trail which also went interactive on google maps.
Two significant statues/visitor attractions were funded this year. The first was commissioned following the restoration of Miss Porter in Bayhead Street, Stornoway. An antique trap/carriage was sourced to replace the previous dilapidated one and a stunning driver sculpture was carved to complete the display. A competition was held to name the driver and, by popular demand, the Lottery Team can now announce that Mr Glen now proudly drives Miss Porter adjacent to the renovated Porters Lodge.
The installation of the second sculpture, a jumping, thirteen foot dolphin made from steel, is now completed aside Lochmaddy Ferry Terminal in North Uist. The statue is now a landmark and can be viewed by passengers arriving at the port.
In October 2020, our own Chairman Tony Robson, embarked on a mission to research the historic SS Norge disaster of 1904 and exhibit his findings. The Lottery partly funded the exhibition which premiered in An Lanntair in May 2021. So impressive is the exhibition, it is now travelling around the Islands and far beyond. Lottery funding also enabled the restoration of the dilapidated headstone erected in Sandwick Cemetery.
In addition, several groups across the Islands have benefited from cash funding.
The Clay Pigeon Shooting Club in Barra was able to purchase new equipment, to encourage membership of younger members of the community, with a £3,000 award.
The Annie Jane Memorial received a grant of £750 to improve the area surrounding the iconic memorial and work is progressing well. More funding is expected imminently.
Barvas Playpark also received £3,000 funding to help restore their new playpark and a further £3,000, from the Ness/Westside fund pot, was awarded to the Lewis & Harris Youth Pipe Band for equipment. They have been entertaining everyone in Perceval Square over the summer months. During lockdown, Barvas Community Centre also received £786 to support their efforts within the community.
For the fourth successive year, Stornoway Town Centre is beautifully presented with colourful blooms and current planning will ensure this is expanded on in 2022.
The Team in Uist have also been busy developing “Uist in Bloom” and have this year introduced a successful “Best Village in Bloom” competition to encourage participation from locals. Many other projects are ongoing in Uist including a £4,000 grant to Balivanich Playpark and an “adopt a telecom kiosk scheme” to convert five boxes into a Defibrillator site, a mini library, a food larder and two information sites.
Tony Robson of the Lottery Team said “It is just amazing how many upgrades across the entire Western Isles have been made possible by local folk joining in to raise funds for their own areas."
The Lottery Team and their local partners have worked hard to ensure every penny raised has been put to good use and the results are now being seen. We have a number of new ideas in the pipeline which we hope to have completed in time for the switching on of the festive lights, scheduled this year for 26th November 2021. We thank each and every one of our Supporters for making this possible for the community we live in. As our moto states – “Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way”.
Funds raised this year
3376 tickets of our 4000 ticket goal