The Mercat Centre is run by the Kilmuir and Logie Easter Action & Development Group (K.A.L.E.). The KALE Group is a Company limited by guarantee. Registered as a Private Limited company CO.No: 169101 The KALE Group is also a Recognised Charity in Scotland No: SCO24561
Please, read on for a little background to the KALE Group, the community centre building and the Kilmuir and Logie Easter area.
A Brief History of the KALE Group:
KALE was founded by local people in 1995 in response to a lack of local facilities and services in the Kilmuir and Logie Easter area. The group wished to address a range of issues affecting the community and deliver services, support and information to people in the area. The Groups Board of Directors is responsible for overall management and is made up from a wide cross-section of the community. Due to it's expansion the group employed two part-time Development Officers and also had a large base of local volunteers.
In 1997 the group set up the Community House as a base to deliver their services. The House rented from the Highland Council soon became a valuable resource and social hub to local people benefiting from its activities and a popular place to drop in for a cuppa and a chat!
Due to its own success the Community house was soon 'bursting at the seams' and was unable to grow and many planned projects were undeliverable due to a simple lack of space. With that in mind KALE's two development officers, Mairi Crow and Hazel Bailey, spent four years (and many sleepless nights) securing the funding for a new purpose built community centre. Many organisations supported and funded the vision for our new community centre. The Big Lottery, Community Energy Scotland, SRDP, Fairer Scotland and Beinn Tharsuinn Windfarm Fund deserve special thanks for all their help and all their money (gratefully received)!
The new community centre building now means that KALE can continue to expand and deliver many new projects and services, improving the quality of life for local people and raising the profile of the area.
About the Building:
Architect Joyce White of White & McGinn designed the community building.
The design style compliments the appearance and character of the existing school to which the community building is attached. The building has been constructed using sustainable materials and technologies wherever possible and these include bore holes, a heat pump and solar panels to provide the energy for the heating and the hot water system.
The Centre is named the Mercat Centre after the Mercat Cross which still stands in the old part of Milton Village. Mercat Cross is the old Scottish term for a market cross; they were erected in Scottish cities and towns where trade and commerce were a part of everyday economic life. It was originally a place where merchants would gather to talk and trade, and later became the focal point of many town events such as announcements, proclamations or even executions!
Please be assured that we are not planning on holding any executions at the Mercat Centre so it is perfectly safe to come and visit us!
Hazel and Mairi cut the first sod for the new community centre
Milton old village, the Mercat cross stands on grassed area to the right of the picture.
About Kilmuir and Logie Easter:
Kilmuir and Logie Easter covers the geographical area of the former parishes of Kilmuir Easter and Logie Easter, the area covered by the present day Kilmuir and Logie Easter Parish Church. It comprises the villages and rural areas of Milton, Kildary, Barbaraville, Balintraid, Delny, Scotsburn, Lamington, Logie Hill, Newfield, and Arabella. Due to the industrial development of the area in the 1970s, with the construction of the Invergordon Aluminium Smelter and the Nigg Oil Construction Yard, the population of the area grew significantly, with the village of Milton in particular being considerably expanded.
Where 5 schools served the area a century ago, there is now one school, Milton Primary School, with secondary education being provided by the nearby Invergordon and Tain Academies.
Milton village, as the largest population centre, besides having the primary school, has a bowling club, local shop and Milton Inn, one of two pubs in the area, (the other being the Shandwick Inn near Kildary) and now the new Community Centre building.
In the early 1900s there were two churches for each of the Church of Scotland, the United Free Church of Scotland, and the Free Church of Scotland. Now there is only the one Church of Scotland congregation, which uses two buildings month about, and is a significant force in community life.
The Log Cabin in Milton Woods
Shandwick Inn, Kilmuir Church, Barbraville, Woodlands skate ramp.