The building of a visitor centre in the Hebrides, which will tell the story of the Iolaire tragedy has entered the design planning stage with the Iolaire Working Group’s appointment of Project Manager Lynne Maciver.
Based in Stornoway, Lynne has considerable experience working with both commercial and community led projects and will lead the development and design stage ahead to bring a proposed Centre outline to the community for consultation in 2020.
The Visitor Centre will mark the maritime disaster at Stornoway’s Number One pier as part of a revitalisation of the Stornoway town centre. Following the consultation with the community in 2018, there was strong support for a world class visitor experience to commemorate the tragedy and its impact on the Islands in the following period.
The design phase is an opportunity to progress what the space could look like, the way the story is captured and told, and prepare for the raising of funds required to build the Centre. This builds on the project scoping exercise undertaken in 2018 and is outlined in an Iolaire Centre Project Overview document available on the Iolaire.org website.
The vision for the Centre is to create a space that tells not only the Iolaire Story but that of the wider context of the island’s maritime history and war involvement. This design stage is an opportunity to tell the story sensitively and with due respect, over a century after the tragedy. It is expected that the Centre would be both a lasting commemorative introspection and a world class visitor experience that supports a major, transformational, economic boost for the Islands.
Project funding has been committed by Highlands and Islands marine equipment firm Gael Force Group with matched assistance and resource support agreed by Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar to fund the detailed development of the project plan through to 2020.
In response to the appointment, Lynne Maciver said, “The tragedy of the Iolaire is one that touched many lives and families on the Islands and ensuring the story is told and protected for future generations is at the heart of what the Iolaire Centre will do. It is a continuation of the incredible work done around the 100-year centenary commemorations recognising the importance of the story to the culture and heritage of the Islands.”
The Iolaire Centre website www.iolaire.org has further information on how you can get involved and to stay up to date on progress throughout this exciting stage.