Islands’ Social Capital

The Islands revival is being driven by the amazing social capital that islands deliver, which is encouraging people to return, settle and stay. The above average levels of social capital present in the islands has been evidenced by a recent report by the Scottish Government.

Social capital is the social connections that contribute to people’s quality of life, health, safety, economy and well-being in the neighborhoods where they live. These social connections are a source of support through people’s lives, for instance, in education, workplaces, retirement and leisure.

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CoDeL to present at ISISA 2020

Representatives from CoDeL have been asked to present at the International Small Island Studies Association 2020 conference in Newfoundland in June.

Newfoundland, an island at the eastern end of the Canadian Maritimes, shares similar concerns regarding outmigration and climate change resilience.

Inis Meáin working towards their new community centre and offices

Ciara Ní Fhátharta is the Bainisteoir/Manager of Comhlacht Forbartha Inis Meáin, the local development organisation set up for Inis Meáin in the Aran Islands, Ireland, in 2016 to help promote the island, ensure services, preserve the language, attract funding and help ensure a better life for all living on the island. Here she provides an update on the island’s development. Continue reading “Inis Meáin working towards their new community centre and offices”

Irish flexible working initiative expands to Scotland

The community project Grow Remote started as a WhatsApp group connecting workers in remote areas of Ireland with employment opportunities, and has now secured €500,000 in funding from the Regional Enterprise Development Fund, managed by Enterprise Ireland. 

With intentions to use the funds (and matched funding received from Social Entrepreneurs Ireland and Western Development Commission) on hiring staff for the 60+ local chapters and 10,000 members, the not-for-profit is now also expanding to Scotland, with a chapter currently being set up in Edinburgh.
With the expansion of superfast broadband to rural and remote areas, working opportunities which were previously unavailable to residents of these areas are now more accessible – particularly with the help of project such as Grow Remote. 

From Grimsay to Galway

The CoDeL update on the Smart Islands project for December, 2019, featuring the week in the Isle of Grimsay in October, the training week in Galway, Ireland, and a few other activities we’ve been up to.

Working with the Director of Schools with the Galway and Roscommon Education and Training Board, during the Smart Islands training week in Ireland.

Following on from the successful week in Grimsay, 4 facilitators from CoDeL and the Scottish Islands Federation Chair came together with representatives from Toraigh (Tory Island), Árainn Mhór (Arranmore), Clare Island, Inishturk, Inishbofin, Inis Mór, Inis Meáin, Inis Oírr, Bere Island, Cape Clare Island and Sherkin Island to work towards enterprising solutions for their own communities by utilising coaching skills learned during the week.

The intensive course combined asset identification with economic skills to established a shared discussion about island-based enterprise. The week was extremely positive, and the Irish representatives left with a genuine sense of enthusiasm for the project, which will see them coach young people within their own communities.

The full report can be downloaded and read here:

CoDeL presents to the Cross-Party Group on Rural Policy at the Scottish Parliament

CoDeL was invited to present on the Uist experience to the Cross-Party Group at the end of October 2019.  This was an opportunity to present evidence rooted in island experience at the micro-level as a counterpoint to national projections, based on historic trends, which are particularly dire for the Western Isles. 

This reinforced the insights from the Islands Revival Declaration: ‘We affirm there is credible evidence of ‘green shoots’ of population turnaround in the Scottish Islands, which as yet does not show up in official statistics’ .

The full report can be downloaded and read here:

Additional information regarding the day, including the other participants, can be seen on the SRUC website.

Members of the SG Islands Team trying baking from The Scandinavian Bakery in the Isle of Grimsay, October 2019.

Community infrastructure in Inis Mór

No island hibernates in the winter. Seán Ó Flaithearta, Inis Mór, Ireland, talks about the work being carried out by the voluntary community committee in updating the islands infrastructure, such as the community centre and island roads. 

Coiste Forbartha Fhearann an Choirce is  busy trying to improve our community centre, a stone’s throw from the great Celtic fort Dún Aonghasa. After years of ball-playing, at our Centre, the slates  fly off with gales forcing us to take a look at replacing the old slates. With broken and ill-fitting windows our priority this year is to replace the single pane aluminium  windows installed in ’78.

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Contributing to a solution: Housing in Uist

At the request of Cllr Iain MacNeil, a seminar on housing in Uist and Barra was held on the 14th of November 2019 in Lìonacleit, Benbecula, to re-energise the public sector-led approach and promote cooperation through a new policy framework for the area.

The Uist Collective: Uibhistich Òga, a group formed following CoDeL’s Young Leaders programme in 2019, was asked to set the scene for the day’s discussion. The group, which is exploring means by which they can positively influence several local issues including housing, is keen to resolve the shortage of suitable houses as this is one of the key stumbling blocks inhibiting many people from returning to the island. Continue reading “Contributing to a solution: Housing in Uist”