Scottish Community Alliance discussed Uist’s Social Places award in their fortnightly newsletter (Local People Leading), headed ‘Catch up with Uist’. In reading the recently published brochure they concluded
“A perennial frustration for those on the fringes of mainstream policy making, is that certain unshakable assumptions seem to underpin all this activity which no one seems prepared to challenge. An example being the unspoken belief that rural and island communities need to ‘catch up’ in some way with their urban counterparts in order to meet the challenges that they face. Research released earlier this year by the Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme (with substantial Scottish island input) argues the complete opposite and this publication suggests Uist might be a good place to begin this rural policy reappraisal.“
The Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme research was headed by CoDeL and more information can be found here.
The complete Uist, Social Enterprise Places brochure can be read here.
“A new digital brochure celebrates the benefits and work of award-winning social and community enterprises on Uist.
“Uist, with a 40+ year history of social and community enterprises, was one award-winner the judging panel felt had much to shout about. The stats are certainly impressive … but it’s not just the numbers that impress …. It is inspiring reading of resilient, resourceful and dynamic communities and a great example of just how much people can achieve together. The document highlights their amazing history, and key priorities for the future.”
Earlier this year Uist in the Outer Hebrides received one of two Social Enterprise Place Awards, the first ever awarded within Scotland.
Today we launch a brochure highlighting the history of community and social enterprises in Uist, the many diverse contributions they make now, and their ambitious goals for the future on the climate emergency, young people, health and inclusion, and Gaelic language and culture.
It is a remarkable showcase of just how strong and resilient our island communities are: we have been building community wealth for over 40 years, have sustained our island communities through Covid, which has in turn only served to heighten our ambitions for the future.
Mags McSporran, head of Social Enterprise Development at Highlands and Islands Enterprise, has commented, “it is such a great picture of social enterprise in Uist, its longevity, innovation and out and out tenacity”. In a blog post, Mags says that the Scottish Government is prioritising the involvement of local communities and businesses in economic and community wealth building, and that there is so much to learn from the breadth of experience our communities have in stimulating sustainable development. Uist is an outstanding example of such “innovation … with community prosperity at its core”.
In our European work we have called for redefining peripherality: looking anew at remote island and rural communities to build on their remarkable strengths and assets that have always been there, but that became so much more visible during Covid. In his opening remarks at the NPA’s annual event, the Chair David Minton suggested that, following the experience of Covid, peripheral communities who have been so far left behind may well now end up in front.
Communities on Uist demonstrate what flourishing peripheral communities can be – their strength and resilience, their cohesion and collaboration, their innovation and adaptability
We are excited to announce the launch of Uist Beò, a new digital platform celebrating the unique culture and the thriving life of our islands, from Berneray to Eriskay!
Uist Beò was created to connect Uist residents of all ages and to shine a light on the individuals, businesses and organisations that come together to make our islands the distinct and dynamic places they are to live, work and visit.
Every one of our 5000 residents has a unique story to tell of their island life, whether that is one that continues generations of island living, a move to Uist from elsewhere or the call of home after time spent away. Check out our website to see the first eight of what will become a wide-ranging catalogue of written and photographic tales of vibrant Uibhist life, of what it means to live and work in Uist.
For visitors Uist is more than a destination to be ticked off a list, it is an active, inspiring, living community with a wealth of experiences to offer the conscientious visitor. We invite guests to our islands to take a slow, sustainable journey through Uist, meeting the individuals and organisations that forge our rich culture, carefully managed natural environment and strong community spirit.
Each of the eight islands that make up Uist has its own well-defined identity which we seek to celebrate alongside Uist’s unique and singular character within the Outer Hebrides.
Our interactive map is in the very early stages with a handful of businesses and services listed across the islands. As Uist Beo grows so will our database of Uist’s assets and in time we aim to create a comprehensive listing of businesses, services and social enterprises that serve Uist’s residents, visitors and diaspora alike.
Uist Beò is in its early stages will grow and evolve with time, responding to the needs of our island communities. Follow us on instagram or facebook to keep up to date with our progress and please drop us an email if you have a suggestion for someone with a story to tell!
Uist Beo is a pilot initiative under CoDeL’s Smart Islands project, funded by Outer Hebrides LEADER. THE SMART ISLANDS PROJECT IS PART-FINANCED BY THE SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT AND THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITY OUTER HEBRIDES LEADER 2014-2020 PROGRAMME
The North Uist Development Company is entering a new phase and is actively seeking younger residents to join its board of directors. There is a position on the board particularly for someone aged 18-25 to bring their views on the future of the island’s development to NUDC.
On April 17th at 6pm there will be an online Member’s Gathering where members new and old can be updated on all of NUDC’s current projects and plans for the future and appointments to the new board of directors will be made.
Following the meeting there will be a talk by Connie Dawson of NatureScot titled “Ensuring a safe and resilient future: adapting to climate change in the Uists”.
The Gathering will start at 6pm, followed by Connie’s talk at 7pm. Follow the Zoom link here.
The school was closed in 2016 as all of North Uist’s primary school children were relocated to a new single school site at Sgoil Uibhist a’ Tuath. The Lochmaddy school building, which dates back to the 19th century and holds a significant place in the community’s memories, has lain empty since while NUDC have worked towards securing funding to convert it into a new community space.
The development plans for Phase 1 and 2 of the project include both a Community Hub and an Environment Centre, which will provide a new innovative facility showcasing the unique natural environment of Uist.
The Community Hub will provide a place for residents and visitors, featuring an ‘incubator’ for learning and enterprise and rentable spaces being made available to interested parties. Accommodation for visitors, students and temporary workers will be added in later phases of the project.
The development will be undertaken in phases and will involve the community every step of the way. Further funding is currently being sought for Phases 1 and 2: including for renewable energy for heating and electricity to support the environmental ethos of the development and Scotland’s green recovery.
CoDeL are excited to be working on a feasibility study to provide a new online platform that will serve the Uist community, from Eriskay to Berneray, locally and beyond.
As part of the study we are consulting widely within the community to find out what residents and visitors alike would like to see from a new website – be that business listings, links to local services or stories about the residents of the islands.
Please take part in our brief online survey to share your views on the potential for this exciting new platform and take a chance to have your say.
Uist was congratulated yesterday by Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government Aileen Campbell on its recognition as a Social Enterprise Place.
Alongside Lewis and Govan, Uist received the award at an event that was hosted by Social Enterprise Scotland on January 21st and attended by over 60 people from across the country. A presentation on the importance of social enterprise to the island was made on behalf of Uist by Thomas Fisher and can be seen here.
Motion ref. S5M-23873 Uist and Lewis Recognised as Social Enterprise Places Submitted by: Alasdair Allan, Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Scottish National Party. Date lodged: Friday, January 15, 2021 Supported by: Annabelle Ewing, Kenneth Gibson, Emma Harper, Bill Kidd, Stuart McMillan, Gil Paterson, Stewart Stevenson
That the Parliament congratulates Uist and Lewis on being recognised as the first communities within the Social Enterprise Places Scotland scheme; notes that Social Enterprise Places are local areas where social enterprise activity is thriving; understands that the programme was launched in November 2019 and aims to promote, raise awareness and build markets for social enterprises; further understands that Scottish islands have the highest densities of social enterprises per capita in Scotland and generate 10% of all jobs for people under 40 in island areas; notes that social enterprises, which reinvest their profits to create positive change, provide vital services and infrastructure contributing to public life, particularly throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and wishes social enterprise continued success during, and beyond, these challenging times.
Leis gach deagh dhùrachd
Alasdair Allan MSP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar firstname.lastname@example.org 01851 700357 20 Kenneth Street, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, HS1 2DR To sign up for my newsletter, please click here
CoDeL is leading a new European funded project to assess the economic impacts of Covid-19 on peripheral communities from eastern Finland to Prince Edward Island in Canada, and to recommend policy and action that can enable these communities to be sustainable and thrive in the future.
The partnership led by CoDeL is funded under the Covid Response Call of the European Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme and includes 6 universities or research institutes, 3 other public institutions (including NHS Highlands) and 3 business networks in the Highlands and Islands, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, all four Scandinavian countries, the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Greenland and Canada.
“With Brexit looming”, says CoDeL Director Thomas Fisher, “the Nordic and Arctic region and Scotland are determined to build ties to enable partnership working in the future. We are delighted that Uist in the Outer Hebrides can play a leading role in this work stretching across the whole Northern Periphery. All the partners are determined that the project draw up recommendations for economic renewal and redesign in peripheral areas that together we can implement in future. The project recommendations will influence the design of the next Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme funding round, and it is so important that Scotland has a strong voice in this.”