SSE Renewables backs new Cill Chuimein Medical Centre


SSE Renewables is extremely proud to have played a key funding role in the building of the new £1 million Cill Chuimein Medical Centre in Fort Augustus.

Through funds associated with SSE Renewables’ projects in the area, including Bhlaraidh wind farm and Glendoe hydro electric power station, SSE Renewables was able to provide £600,000, more than half of the funds, needed to build this state-of-the-art medical facility.

The development and construction of the new centre, opened today 10 April 2019 by Mairi Gougeon,Minister for Rural Affairs and the Natural Environment, has been driven by Fort Augustus and Glenmoriston Community Company and is a perfect example of how communities can use SSE Renewables funding to help deliver sustainable, long-term benefits for their local community.

Over the lifetime of its community benefit funds, SSE Renewables will invest around £80 million in the Highlands.

Jim Smith, Managing Director of SSE Renewables said: “The Fort Augustus and Glenmoriston Community Company has driven so many fantastic projects in this local community for well over a decade.

“The team behind it are volunteers who dedicate their time and efforts into identifying innovative projects that will help drive long term success for the area and I would like to thank everyone in the Community Company for all their hard work to deliver this amazing and sustainable project.”

The new centre secures a much-needed local G.P service to this rural area, avoiding residents having to travel to Fort William or Drumnadrochit for GP services, saving locals up to a 64-mile round trip for standard medical care.

Harry Whiteside, Chair of Fort Augustus and Glenmoriston Community Company said: “As with any rural community, a medical centre is absolutely essential to the health and wellbeing of the local people, and when our centre burned down we knew we had to do something.

“It’s been just over two years in the making, and now we have a medical centre double the size of the last one, meaning more people can be seen in a day and allowing the centre to expand beyond just G.P services into other services like podiatry and optometry. We also have a lift in place, so the centre is now accessible to all, and we are trialling the new Near Me video consulting service as well.

“None of this would have been possible without the help of all our funders, in particular SSE Renewables, who allowed us to draw down additional funding from the Bhlaraidh Wind Farm Fund, so we could bridge the final funding gap for this project and get it developed and delivered quickly.”

Now that the centre is up and running it is expected that it will secure up to 10 long term jobs for the local community. Lisa Henderson is continuing working at the practice after finishing her apprenticeship with the surgery in the summer of 2018 that was run by the Community Company and funded through community benefit monies. 

Lisa said: “I am extremely happy that I will be continuing with the surgery team after finishing my apprenticeship with them last June and that I can do so in the new medical centre. The Community Company and SSE Renewables funding have brought positive changes to the community and I hope they continue to do so by supporting local projects like this and encouraging apprenticeship roles that can be developed around them.”

At the opening of the medical centre, Jim Smith said: “Cill Chuimein Medical Centre is the perfect example of how our funds can help create sustainable communities.

“The Community Company has developed a building that not only provides essential services to the area but allows the community to derive an income by leasing the building to the NHS, allowing them to reinvest in other projects and services that benefit the area and its residents.

“We look forward to working with the Community Company as they continue their work to deliver sustainable projects in the area.”