The Irish Government is holding a public consultation on a new national policy for the country’s off-shore islands. An Tánaiste and the Minister for the Irish Language, the Gaeltacht and the Islands launched the consultation at an event in Sherkin Island.
Among the principle aims of the policy will be to ensure an equality of opportunity and service. The full document can be read here.
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.
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.
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.
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’ .
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.
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”
Fifty Scottish and Irish islanders gathered last week in Grimsay, North Uist to focus in particular on the contributions of younger islanders in renewing island life and contributing to sustainable island communities.
For a whole morning (of Wednesday 2nd October), 10 enterprising young islanders, most in their 20s and 30s, told of the often remarkable personal journeys that brought them to Uist, whether returning to their island home from the mainland or as far afield as Kenya, or being inspired to make Uist their new home. And they introduced all the participants to their business in Uist as founders of start-up enterprises or social enterprises like the North Uist Distillery, the Scandinavian Bakery, Uist Forest Retreat and an outdoor nursery, developing community sports, reviving a community charity that almost went under, as a climate change artist, or as a young leader seeking to tackle the shortage of appropriate housing that is preventing more people returning or settling. Continue reading “Grimsay Island Gathering shines a light on island renewal”