Uist Wool Ltd, a community benefit society in Grimsay on the Isle of North Uist, is the latest recipient of a loan made available from our Asda Community Capital Fund. A £50,000 investment to develop a new spinning mill has been made through the unique partnership between ourselves and Asda, following the supermarket chain’s continued commitment to donate funds from the 5p carrier bag charge to innovative social enterprises and community projects across Scotland.
The new mill has been fully operational since April 2017 and has been extremely popular. The SIS loan was used to complete and further develop the mill and to cover revenue costs until a steady income stream is established. Uist Wool Ltd has already received the backing of the local community, who together have raised more than £1m in public funds to purchase the site and start/finish construction on the mill.
By working in partnership with SIS and Asda, receiving the full support of Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Coastal Communities, Uist Wool Ltd have developed into fully fledged social enterprise that will bring benefits to all in the community. Founded by Dana Macphee, the new mill which is located at Scotvein in Grimsay, is a welcome boost to the rich textile heritage of the Western Isles and economy. Not only does it support generational traditions and revitalise a declining industry, it also supplies premium, unique and unusual wool made from local sheep fleece to weavers, craftspeople, and visitors – providing a boost to the local economy in the process.
Asda’s Community Capital Fund provides investment capital of between £10,000 and £50,000 for social enterprises who otherwise would find it difficult to access funding. No interest is charged during the first year of investment and from the second year, all interest raised on the Community Capital loans is reinvested to support more good causes, delivering sustainable social impact in communities across Scotland.
Dana Macphee, from Uist Wool Ltd, said: “This loan from SIS (Asda) will make a huge difference to the local community. We have already filled seven positions in our new mill and we will be opening to tourists from next year. We run mostly heritage spinning machinery and we think people will really enjoy seeing the production process. Without this boost in funding, we wouldn’t be able to expand and have the ability to showcase our fantastic local wool to the public.”