Positive news, resilience and island life beyond the crisis

… were some of the key themes in responses to CoDeL’s survey, targeted in particular at younger islanders on Uist and Barra.  Here are some examples:

Resilience and social innovation would be particularly relevent to the current situation.

I’m sure your groups have covered resilience before, looking for more positive notes now is the time for the global population to wake up to the importance of our native and natural habitats, being environmentally aware, sustainable and not pushing mother nature to the limits that triggered this crisis. Uist is already doing well here, … what more can be done?

I think focussing on good news island stories around local economy and work, what you are already good at would be the best positive message at this time.

Strategies for staying strong, financial support for social enterprise resilience, positive messages.

It would be valuable to talk about how the current crisis could be used for positive social change after the crisis is over so we don’t just go back to how things were.

peer to peer learning is very valuable. What we want for our communities once this is all over. How to make it through.

I think looking at the wider economic potential in a positive light would be worthwhile.

How to organise mutual aid in situations like the current crisis. Finding ways in which we can collaborate beyond the crisis would also be helpful – whether pooling our resources and skills to organise creative get-togethers for the community to combat the lingering emotional impact of isolation, or to find new ways of working.

The survey sought views on what CoDeL as an organisation rooted in an island community could deliver over the internet during lockdown, to continue the work of the Smart Islands project.

Following the lead of the Social Enterprise Academy, CoDeL is primarily offering open sessions over Zoom. There was some interest in sessions and webinars on specific learning topics, and in one-to-one or small group coaching. There was far more interest in ‘open space’ sessions allowing peers to meet and share. In our next post we will report on the outcomes of the first of these sessions which are being held fortnightly.

Even before the Covid crisis, there was particular interest and energy for networking around issues of mental health, and this has become all the more important during lockdown: “I think it’s taking strain on each of us in varied and multiple ways.” So on the alternate weeks we will be organising ‘open space’ sessions focusing on mental health.

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.

Continue reading “Islands’ Social Capital”

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.

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.

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”