Arran Distillery Boosts Community Land Initiative With Windfall Donation

19th Februrary 2015

We were delighted to receive a windfall cheque from Isle of Arran Distillers in our fundraising efforts for the project.  The award-winning whisky producer pledged £2,000 to our crowdfunding campaign in a bid to give something back to the island that produces their famous Arran Malt.

Following successful funding from the Scottish Land Fund to buy 80 acres of disused farmland in December 2014, we’re now using crowdfunding platform Indiegogo to raise £6,000 to transform the site. We plan to create a range of community projects including nature walks, camping pods and mountain bike trails as well as community gardens. The land will also be used for delivering a variety of education courses including qualifications in land-based skills such as horticulture and as a space for outdoor learning for Arran schoolchildren and visiting groups.

The donation from Isle of Isle of Arran Distillers puts us well on track to meet our target and start putting our plans into action. Arran Community Land Initiative Treasurer, Juliette Walsh said:

‘This generous donation from Isle of Arran Distillers means that we are getting nearer to our crowdfunding target of £6,000 so the first year of the project is looking more secure. The money will go towards creating a community garden, access points and basic visitor facilities. If the total is achieved we can complete these elements and progress to launching landbased skills qualifications in the autumn.’

Isle of Arran Distillers, one of the few remaining independent whisky distilleries in Scotland, is one of the island’s most popular tourist destinations. They hope that their involvement will inspire other businesses on the island to follow suit. James MacTagggart, Production Director said:

‘As a former Director and Chairman of the Islay Development Company whose aims were very similar to this Arran initiative I am delighted that Isle of Arran Distillers have decided to support this project. From my experience it is difficult to raise the initial funding for these projects, but it is certainly more difficult to maintain the funding stream on an ongoing basis and I hope this £2,000 kick starts the second phase and encourages other businesses to give their support.’

Isle of Arran Distillers is amongst a number of local businesses supporting the campaign. Altachorvie Hotel in Whiting Bay held a charity music night in November, successfully raising £350 for the campaign. A number of other businesses have also offered a diverse range of goods and services for free or at cost for the group to use as ‘perks’ for contributors to the campaign. These include the donation of a couple’s two-night stay at The Douglas Hotel in Brodick, places on activity courses donated by Arran Outdoor Education Centre, stunning art photo prints by local photographer Andrew Surridge, Forest School family day sessions run by local Forest School Leaders, a bushcraft day out with local expert Mark Bunyan, printed ACLI tee shirts by Arran Graphics and tree pledges, whereby local tree enthusiast and expert Henry Murdo has offered to plant the critically endangered Arran whitebeam trees on the land in return for contributions to the campaign. The Arran Community Land Initiative team are also donating their own time and skills to run nature walks and guided mountain bike runs.

Chairperson Nikki Harris is thrilled and thankful to have the support of local businesses. ‘It feels like everyone is really pulling together to make this happen’.

The crowdfunding campaign is part of a pilot initiative by Highlands and Islands Enterprise who have contracted Scottish company Hot Tap Media Ltd to offer consultation and support to between three and four community groups in the region.

We have until 23rd March to raise the funds, and urge members of the public to get involved and offer their support by contributing to the campaign.

In the photo are, from left to right: Ben Tattersfield, Gordon Bloy, James MacTaggart (Production Director), Juliette Walsh (ACLI Trustee), Brodie Pearcey (ACLI Trustee), Graham Ormand, Nikki Harris (ACLI Trustee)