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.

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. 

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.

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”

Conundrums on Population Trends: Happiness, young people, children, jobs

The common perception is that island populations are in decline and that lack of jobs is the key driver behind such decline. On the other hand, surveys reveal that the Highlands and Islands are the best place in Scotland to live and more young people want to stay or settle there, while many island jobs remain unfilled. So what do we make of these apparent contradictions? Continue reading “Conundrums on Population Trends: Happiness, young people, children, jobs”

How island communities are seeking to boost their populations, and succeeding

Lewis & Uist, Mull & Iona, Eigg & Bute, Westray, and Caribbean islands also, show how much island communities are doing to turn around population … through housing, culture, identity, land ownership, social enterprise, young people, jobs, enterprise, island diasporas, integrating refugees ….  The posts on the Islands Revival blog keep coming, with more to appear shortly from Harris, Lewis, Kerrera, Colonsay, Barra.  Go here to find out more, and also follow us on Twitter @islandsrevival Continue reading “How island communities are seeking to boost their populations, and succeeding”