Growing a Community Asset

It’s scooped this year’s Carbon Trust Scotland Low Carbon Building Awards for new-build property; it butchers local deer, and has its own artist-in-residence.  It is the Big Shed.

Located at Tombreck between Killin and Lawers near Loch Tay, this eco building was awarded £475,010 by Big Lottery Fund Scotland’s Growing Community Assets programme and serves as a community facility. It’s heated totally from biomass and solar energy and the construction incorporated a Local Skills Training Programme, with local contractors, trades people and volunteers learning about eco-building techniques. The Big Shed is a multi-purpose space widely used by local people and organisations.

Wendy Graham, Secretary of Loch Tayside Community Interest Company, said: “Our range of events and activities is huge. It was the venue for a National Hang Gliding competition in May and recent music concerts have included the Edinburgh String Quartet and Sinsheen. Our weekly yoga and tai chi classes are hugely popular as are the art exhibitions, and we have our very own artist-in-residence, Anne Gilchrist, who’s with us until the end of this year. The Big Shed is a multi-functional space which is as much at home with knitting and crocheting classes as it is with a permaculture course. It was recently booked out for an End of Munro party and during the last weekend of June it was taken over for a Ruby Anniversary.”   

The Big Shed Kitchen
The Big Shed Kitchen

Wendy continued: “The Big Shed kitchen is making its mark in the community. The Tombreck Farm Shop opened last November and sells honey, meat, bread, preserves, fruit and vegetables which are all processed in our kitchen. Local deer, reared on the slopes of Ben Lawers, and sold by the National Trust for Scotland, are butchered here and the venison is sold at the farm shop which keeps food miles very low. A farmers market now operates in Aberfeldy and this offers opportunities for promoting the kitchen to stall holders And, with the community whole food cafe recently opened in Killin and its soup, bread and various savoury dishes all cooked from scratch in the Big Shed, our vision of a Loch Tay Food Chain is beginning to take shape with the Big Shed at its heart.”

Growing Community Assets supports a wide range of projects that make communities stronger and more sustainable by helping them acquire, manage and develop assets. Click here for more information on this funding programme.

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