Oakwood – Tourism and Crafts

About

Our community-owned shop!

In 2017, Visit Scotland announced the closure of this building which used to be their Visitor Information Centre.

The local community council, tourist association, community and community members agreed that the building should be taken into community ownership and subsequently, with grant support from the Sunart Community Benefit Fund and Scottish Land Fund, it was purchased by the Sunart Community Company, our local registered Charity.

The main aims of Oakwood are

  • to provide visitor information services through partnership with the local tourist association SMMAATA
  • to provide an opportunity for our talented local producers to showcase and sell their work
  • to be a sustainable and enjoyable project for the community
  • to raise funds for the Sunart Community Company Charity to aid its community projects and it’s mission to Help Keep Sunart a Great Place to Live, Work and Visit

A tireless band of enthusiastic volunteers have been busy renovating and decorating the building. What a fabulous transformation!

Behind the till, you will meet one of our fantastic local volunteers (they may even be one of our craft producers!). They will help you with tourist information, and background for the produce in the shop, as well as give you a nice insight into our busy local community

£41,000 Awarded from the Scottish Land Fund!

Scottish Land Fund have awarded us £41,000 to help us with the purchase and initial running of the former Visitor Information Centre in Strontian.

Sunart is the only group in Lochaber to receive a Land Fund award this round. John Tyldsley, Chairman explained “The Land Fund award allows us to begin negotiations on a ‘cash offer’ with Visit Scotland so haven’t got the property yet, but we’ll keep our fingers crossed over the next month or so..”

If the building can be purchased, volunteers from Sunart, Morvern, Moidart, Ardgour, Ardnamurchan Tourist Association (SMMAATA), will keep part of the building well stocked with leaflets and ‘What’s On’ information and complementary maps.  There may well be space for a heritage display too.

We plan to cover running costs by renting affordable retail display space to local businesses in the building, with retailers taking turns to staff the desk.

Izzy Baker, the companys’ Project Officer who will be part funded by the grant explains “Eight local businesses registered an interest in the Spring, expressing a desire to work collaboratively to create a retail space for local crafters, artists and to promote local activity providers, and there’s probably space for more. Now that we have this funding and we’ve applied to buy the building, we will be re-advertising and calling a meeting of interested parties. The whole idea is to promote local businesses and help strengthen the local economy. If any other craft producers or visitor attractions would like space but didn’t register in March, they please get in touch via izzy@sunartcommunitycompany.co.uk.”