Community groups on Arran get CalMac funding boost

Members of the Isle of Arran Music School perform at a community event last year.

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By Colin Smeeton

Three community groups on Arran have been named among 59 non-profit groups which have been selected to receive awards of up to £2,000 from CalMac Community Fund.

The Isle of Arran Music School, Arran Community and Voluntary Service (ACVS) and Kilmory Primary Parent Council will all receive funding to support and advance their charitable and community-orientated work.

The latest round of the fund, which was first launched in 2019, was delivered in partnership with Foundation Scotland, and welcomed applications from west coast community groups that are addressing mental health, improved well-being and social isolation, including encouraging re-engagement with community activities.

The funding will allow Arran music school to purchase new equipment.

The school provides highly skilled music tuition and they support young people to develop and build their skills, as well as offering opportunities for new pupils.

Music school chairman Quinton Black said: ‘Isle of Arran Music School would like to thank CalMac for its support to our project to ensure tuition and instruments to school aged children on Arran.

‘We have been able to buy parts for instruments and have been able to start new pupils on clarsach, chanter, pads and bagpipes.

‘We have also been able to refresh our current stock of instruments to make them performance and competition ready.

‘We look forward to performing for our island and online audience with our improved instruments.’

The Kilmory Primary Parent Council was also successful with an award which it will use to offer young people swimming lessons.

Vicki Sturgeon of the parent council said: ‘Being able to provide the school children with swimming lessons is fantastic. Water safety is vital when living on an island. Thank you to CalMac for supporting us.’

Arran Community and Voluntary Service will use the funding to continue to work with emerging and established community groups, including the the Umbrella Group which met prior to the pandemic.

The group involves people with disabilities, low level mental health issues, people who are socially isolated, and some living in poverty.

Volunteers who run the group programme organise simple craft activities for each session, ranging from making cards and painting to jewellery making.

The volunteers help groups members to connect socially. The funding will enable this group to resume and continue.

Since its launch in 2019 the CalMac Community Fund has helped 195 groups to deliver health and wellbeing, social and community, education and skills improvements as well as employment and volunteering opportunities.

Gordon McKillop, CalMac’s corporate social responsibility manager: ‘The CalMac Community Fund was created to make a difference for our communities and customers, and we are continuing to see its impact and value.

‘We are excited to see the benefits from the projects we have supported this year.’

You can find more information about the successful projects by visiting

Arran Music School will use the funding to purchase new instruments for pupils.
The Arran Community and Voluntary Service office in Lamlash.