This year’s prize money from LHV’s competition for local communities goes to Hiiumaa and Pärnumaa


This year, the prize fund of EUR 25,000 of the LHV Home Repair Loan Competition ‘Who does it?’ will be divided between two outstanding local initiatives. The building of the unique Viscosa Culture Factory in Hiiumaa will get a new entrance for the theatre hall, and a more than 100-year-old barn will be given new life in Ristiküla, Pärnumaa.

For the third time, LHV challenged local communities across Estonia to participate in ‘Who does it?’ to breathe life into a neglected building or facility under the leadership of active community members. The competition received more than 30 original ideas, of which LHV is supporting two initiatives this year: The renovation of a former fish factory in Hiiumaa into a cultural factory and the renovation of a heritage barn in Ristiküla, Pärnumaa, into a village centre.

According to Mari-Liis Stalde, CEO at LHV Finance, they once again received a very interesting and diverse range of projects, which made the selection process difficult. ‘It is extremely gratifying to see so many active and enterprising communities in Estonia. For this selection, we decided to involve the local community as much as possible in the project. Both projects are historically distinctive buildings with great potential for renovation and new opportunities for local people,’ Stalde said.

In the village of Kõrgessaare in Hiiumaa, the former Viscosa fish and silk factory complex has a special charm in its unique monolithic concrete buildings, which have stood empty for 16 years. According to Marco Pärtel, Head of the NGO Viscosa Cultural Factory, LHV’s Home Repair Loan support means first and foremost support for their chosen direction and plans.

‘Our vision is to create an open environment in a former artificial silk factory through the wishes and needs of local people. The Cultural Factory will be an environment open to ideas, the development of which will be seen through the eyes of local people. The focus will be on three key themes: education, culture, and nature tourism,’ Pärtel said.

‘With support from LHV, we will refurbish the entrance area of the theatre hall, making the new theatre usable all year round. The theatre will be one of the supporting spaces for cultural events at the Viscosa Cultural Factory and we want it to become a place where people can come and stay in Hiiumaa,’ Pärtel added.

The NGO Ristiküla Village Association brings together three nearby villages: Ristiküla, Kalda, and Kõveri. With the help of support from LHV, they want to move the log barn, built in 1903, to a new property and give the building a fresh look in order to preserve Estonia’s heritage culture and create an opportunity for locals to promote year-round cultural life.

‘LHV’s support means a big step forward for our community in promoting social and leisure activities. At the beginning of the last century, the devoted women and men of Ristiküla had already shown their cooperative spirit when by 1935, with the help of the community, money was raised and the Ristiküla school and community centre was rebuilt. This is another large project and it would be impossible for us to carry it out with our resources alone. Thanks to LHV’s support, we have the opportunity to show what one small community can do and inspire others. Together, we can make a contribution to something that can be seen immediately and that will hopefully sustain and enliven community life for generations to come,’ Ruta Kuusk, one of the leaders of the Ristiküla Village Association, said.

‘Who does it?’ competition attracted many remarkable projects that enrich the lives of local communities. We hope that with the leadership of active people and the support of good allies, other projects will also be carried out.

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