The Hynish Centre Story
As many readers will know, the Hebridean Trust, a Scottish Charity, has offered to gift the village of Hynish to the Tiree Community and discussions are at an advanced stage with the Tiree Community Development Trust. From the mid 1980’s The Hebridean Trust acquired the village and over the past thirty years raised almost three million pounds to renovate it. We thought readers would like to know a little more about the work of this Charity that also owns The Treshnish Isles.
In the late 1980’s the Trust renovated the old ruined store rooms down by the pier and in 1990 HRH The Princess Royal opened the buildings that were by now a 20-bed centre with dining-room, sitting-room and games room known as Alan Stevenson House or the Hynish Centre. The main objective of the Centre has always been to subsidise visits from disadvantaged and disabled young people, especially from Scotland, but also from the rest of the UK. Wherever possible these young people would be given either heavily subsidised or free holidays.
Monica Smith was appointed the first Warden, a post she held until ill health lead to her retirement in 2014. During her enormously successful time as Warden the clientele grew to cover a wide range of visitors. By 2012 a major refurbishment of the building had taken place creating accommodation with accessible showers and bathrooms more suitable for the 21st Century. To do this the Trust raised £500,000, which also enabled them to produce the ‘Treshnish Isles Exhibition’ in nearby buildings.
The Trust’s policy has always been to use local building firms to carry out all their work at Hynish and this project was no exception. When Monica retired, Fiona Malcolm took over the role of Warden and has continued Monica’s good work. From their wide range of visitors the Trust has built a strong relationship with The North Argyll Carers in Oban. For the third year a group of young carers will visit Hynish at no charge this summer. Carers involved in end of life care in Oban will also be at Hynish for free visits.
Here are some comments made by three groups:
North Argyll Carers – “Everyone talked about how much more confident they felt about themselves and their abilities.” “This has been the best holiday I have ever had.”
Oxfordshire Children and Family Care services – severely disabled children, this year is their fourth visit to Tiree. ‘The laughter and the smiles far outweighed the tears. “Thank you for bringing me on this holiday I have never done anything like this before” said H. Z shouts of “I’m happy, I’m happy” must have been heard 10 times a day! Cheeky big beaming smiles from J every time he seized the opportunity to lie in the sea, sometimes fully clothed.’
The Junction Foundation –‘This trip is the highlight of the year, due to complex family situations, poverty and disadvantage, these young people do not get to go on holiday.’
Finally a big thank you from the Hebridean Trust to all the individuals and organisations who help these young people have the holidays of their lifetime.