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Tomatin's community complex gets its second wind

By Tom Ramage

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Things are now really taking shape at The Strathdearn complex in Tomatin after the grand opening was delayed due to Covid-19.

The state-of-the-art community hall was created by Strathdearn Community Developments (SCD) at a cost of £2.5 million in October.

A toast to Tomatin's new community hub
A toast to Tomatin's new community hub

The venue had already hosted various meetings, a ceilidh, cinema nights, craft fairs and a wedding showcase prior to lockdown.

The repurposed “old” hall, brought up to a similar standard, now sites the community shop and bakery and offers a new opportunity with a franchise café.

JP at The Strathdearn, of the well-known Jammy Piece in Inverness, took up the offer.

Originally the convenience store and new café had been planned to open in April but lockdown meant they have only just started welcoming customers.

The takeaway service has proved very popular with the locals, and the plan now is to open the 48-seater café with outdoor patio “very soon”.

The volunteer board and their staff hope to hold an official opening to celebrate the completion of the first new community build in the Strathdearn area for 20 years.

Here comes the bride...
Here comes the bride...

Stan Falconer, SCD chairman, said: “We are delighted to see the completion of The Strathdearn which would not have been possible without the support of a range of funders including the Scottish Government.

“By employing high-quality sustainable design, we are proud to have enabled this exemplary community legacy to be used and enjoyed ‘for the next 100 years’.

“The new community shop and café provides
employment and a local service for the 660 Strathdearn residents and will service anticipated future growth arising from the allocation
of 200 new homes for Tomatin.

“This project has resulted in a better community facility and also a destination for tourists.”

The multi-functional hub is designed to be inclusive and built to a high environmental specification.

Wind farm money, a grant from the Scottish Government Regeneration Capital Grant Fund and loan capital from Social Investment Scotland was used to construct an innovative financial package to fund the £2.5 million building works.

Local company, Compass Building and Construction Services has delivered the build.

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