After years of filling in forms, digging up holes, looking down drains and generally chipping away, we finally took ownership of Achiltibuie Schoolhouse 0n Friday 16th October.
The house has been vacant for a few years now and has suffered from lack of maintenance but it is basically sound. And placed as it is – next to the school and the community hall it will make a big difference to that little corner if the schoolhouse is restored to former glory.
The next step is to to lease the house to Highland Small Communities Housing Trust (HSCHT) who will take over the refurbishment and convert the house into two smart, modern and comfortable flats: a two-bedroom upstairs, and a one-bedroom downstairs. HSCHT, who has all the relevant experience and expertise, will manage the tenancies and the property and we hope to see two new households in Coigach within the year.
Funding has been secured from the Nationwide Shelter Empty Homes Initiative which will go some way towards the refurbishment but not all, so we are pursuing other avenues, and Scottish Land Fund are helping with the legal costs. Although the purchase price was only £1, there are of course many other expenses!
On a sad note, we are sorry to report the death of Maureen Fraser. Maureen was a popular figure in Coigach not least due to her many years helping at the school where she is fondly remembered by ex pupils, parents, colleagues and her many friends. Maureen and her husband Alastair lived in the schoolhouse for over 20 years (before Alastair retired as Head Teacher in 2012) where they held many a happy evening of music and merriment. We are also thankful to have benefitted from Maureen’s invaluable wit and wisdom as a director: she will be sadly missed in the community.