STAFFIN'S new Taighean a' Chaiseil development last night won its fourth award since opening earlier this year, at a prestigious ceremony in Glasgow.

The Scottish Government-backed SURF Awards announced that the £1.6million development in Stenscholl was the winner in the housing and regeneration category.

It comes as Staffin Community Trust and NHS Highland have agreed a contract for the new purpose built health centre.

Staffin Community Trust director Calum MacDonald collected the award on behalf of the community along with the Communities Housing Trust chief executive Ronnie MacRae. Lochalsh and Skye Housing Association was the third partner in the long-awaited development.

In October, the SURF judges David Stewart, Kirsty Henderson, Kate Christie and Eugene Mullan visited the Taighean a' Chaiseil development where they met Calum, SCT director Sine Gillespie, development officer Hugh Ross and Isobel MacDonald and Mairi MacDonald, of Staffin Community Council. The judges wanted to find out about the project's benefits to Staffin and Skye and the hurdles which had to be overcome.

The judges‘ feedback stated: “…the project responded well to identified local needs, and resulted in a well-balanced, mixed use, sustainable development which benefit the wider community. The new development blends seamlessly into its surroundings and demonstrates the positive impact that a strong partnership approach can bring, by going beyond a housing solution to deliver economic and health benefits

"The determination, patience and co-operation among partners was very strong and the the judges could clearly see that the process has given confidence to Staffin Community Trust to build on this successful delivery and consider future developments.”

Six three-bedroom houses, a new health centre tenanted by NHS Highland and two business premises rented by Organic Sea Harvest were constructed by James MacQueen Building Contractors, with Skye-based Rural Design the architect.

Taighean a’ Chaiseil has won three other awards. They include: the excellence in regeneration and sustainability category at the Scotland Housing Awards; the community contribution category at the Scottish Home Awards 2022 and the Highlands and Islands Architectural Awards, where it was judged Best Project Overall.

SCT views the awards as welcome recognition for Taighean a’ Chaiseil being a home for people, a place where residents can access health care and where people can work locally.

SCT has to manage the development prudently with our partners on behalf of our community. There is a limited surplus of annual income, we are now firmly in a recession and in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis. SCT is confident with careful financial planning that we can meet what lies ahead in 2023.

New Health Centre

Meanwhile, SCT has now agreed the lease with NHSH and it is hoped that the very first GP clinic can start at the new health base on Thursday, December 15. It is the intention of the Portree Medical Practice, which delivers the clinic on behalf of NHSH, to have a Health Care Assistant available most Thursday mornings. The GP clinic will continue to be one morning a week.