A TINY Scottish island with ten people is looking for a population boost – and is set for even more castaways.
Ulva was bought out by the community for £4.4m, five years years ago.
Now the community-owned Hebridean island is taking expressions of interest from families wanting to be the next occupants of its newly renovated manse.
People have until May 21 to register their interest but priority will be given to anyone living and working nearby and in need of housing.
The rent is £520 a month plus a service charge of £42 a month, while council tax is in Band E.
North West Mull Community Woodland Company (NWMCWC) purchased Ulva estate in 2018.
There were only five people living on the island at the time, but the full-time population has since doubled.
Six homes – including the manse – have been renovated.
Development manager Wendy Reid said people don't have to work on Ulva to live there as it is commutable from Mull.
She said: "It might not be for everyone, but there's plenty of plus points, like lots of space and freedom which makes it a particularly wonderful place for children to be.
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"The manse is a family-sized house, so we're hoping it might bring more young playmates for our youngest residents."
Interior designer Banjo Beale recently featured another of the island's properties on the BBC Two series Designing the Hebrides when he gave Cragaig Bothy a makeover.
Ms Reid said previously: "The provision of affordable housing on Ulva is really at the centre of the plans for the redevelopment of the whole island."
Funding for bringing homes back to life on Ulva has come from the Scottish Government’s Rural and Island Housing Fund, Argyll and Bute Council, Ecology Building Society as well as from NWMCWC's own funds.
The community-owned Ulva estate spans 4,942 acres (2,000 ha) and includes Ulva, as well as some land on the nearby Isle of Mull.
Ulva attracts around 7000 tourists a year.
More than 350 people in 2019 expressed an interest in living on Ulva – but had been warned not to expect a decision soon.
The prospective residents – if all were eventually selected to become islanders – would represent around a 6000 per cent rise in the then population.
Nestled off the coast of Mull in the inner Hebrides, the island was home to at least 800 people in its prime.
On June 21, 2018, the island was the subject of a successful – and controversial – community buy-out.
Islanders, represented by NWMCWC, were able to secure up to £4.4 million in funds from the Scottish Land Fund, and other grants from the Macquarie Group and a crowdfunding campaign to allow it to buy the island.
Jamie Howard, whose family has owned the 4500-acre island for more than 70 years, was unhappy over the sale.
The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 gives communities the right to register and then go on to buy land and assets under certain conditions.
Mr Howard previously said that the community group would "struggle to find suitable funding both for the purchase and development of the island, running into many millions of pounds."
But the then local MSP Mike Russell backed the sale and said: "Community purchase gives a new opportunity for Ulva.
"There is a huge amount of goodwill on Mull, in Argyll, across Scotland and even more widely towards the proposed community buyout.
"Moreover it would give an exciting new start for an island that has great potential which will include plans for re-population which this area desperately needs."
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Mr Howard's grandmother bought the island for £10,000 in the 1940s.
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