One of our community owned business premises was formerly known as the iGallery. It housed the local visitor information point, showcased & retailed local craft work, art and produce. This was run by volunteers and proved to be a success, appreciated by visitors and locals alike. It opened 6 months a year and in the winter months the venue was used to host meetings, seminars, adult learning events, a Christmas Craft Fair and classes in a wide range of rural and vocational subjects. Some of our local craft exhibitors went on to grow their starter businesses or even open their own shops.
LCDC is committed to creating jobs, training opportunities and community led development in the area and at the Smithy Hub. There has been a demand for greater on site service provision (from both locals and visitors), So it was decided to expand the iGallery from it’s roots as a craft space, training venue and visitor information point, into a Cafe/ Deli as well. It will be called Café Ceàrdach, Ceàrdach is the Gaelic for ‘Smithy’, named after the original building on site, the 200yr old Blacksmiths Building. Café Ceàrdach will be open all year around and provide local jobs and learning opportunities, on site catering for a range of requirements, a dedicated local produce retail outlet, whilst continuing to provide an important information service to visitors and an outlet for local producers, crafters, artists and micro businesses to sell their work and access a wider customer base. The cafe aspect of the project will attract more visitors to the Smithy hub, keep people in the area for longer and provide catering for students and visitors to the other businesses on site. It is owned and run by LCDC, with managers and assistants employed for the day to day running of the project.
The ethos of the cafe is very much in keeping with that of LCDC, about community, sustainability, local heritage, culture, rural skills, minimal waste, responsible consumerism, community resilience, inclusivity, education, low carbon footprint, supporting local businesses and tourism, promoting, educating about and protecting our environment.
The cafe will also have a bike store, a water bottle refill point, and electric car recharge points. It will be heated in the winter by a cosy wood-burning stove, which will burn logs from out local community woodland.
Upon completion of the Café, the Smithy hub will become a perfect way to spend the day with shopping, crafts workshops, events, catering, a short scenic walk, picnic tables, and unique Tree House venue for hire. The Former Blacksmiths building on site now houses a working studio pottery and teaching facility. Lochcarron Candles operate out of an adjacent crafts unit, hand pouring quality fragranced candles. Next to the Cafe is Kiki’s craft corner, open all year for retailing everything the textile artist, knitters, spinners and quilters could need, this also runs a comprehensive programme of training courses.
LCDC also has ongoing projects in Kirkton community woodland, including working with Lochcarron School pupils, building a sensory trail, and an affordable housing project.
Work on Café Ceàrdach is progressing we hope to be open in the coming weeks.
You can follow the building progress HERE.
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this project is funded by;