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.
The pandemic has changed the outlook for the future, and many entrepreneurs and local enterprises are seeking to become less dependent on the seasonality and distribution of tourism.
An example of the push to achieve this is north Iceland, where even before the impacts of Covid19 local councils set the goal that a new merged municipality would be known and sought after as a great place to live and run sustainable businesses.
To push for this, an ambitious project was launched, Innovate North, which aims to put the new municipality at the forefront of the fight against climate change, strengthening the region’s long-term competitiveness and position as a vibrant place to live and work.
The groundbreaking island enterprise Isle20 turns one today and with its first birthday celebrates a host of inspiring successes.
From providing a platform for offer 500 businesses suffering the effects of Covid19 and reduced visitors to the Scottish islands to hiring their first employee, the Tiree based shopping site has offered a remarkable insight into the power of island innovation. We look forward to seeing what the next year of Isle20 and parent enterprise IsleDevelop have up their sleeves.
Shetland.org’s recently published list of 21 Great Reasons To Move To Shetland highlights an inspiring array of things that make Shetland’s islands an attractive place to move or return to, especially for young and economically active individuals and families.
The list spans the cultural, social, economic and environmental reasons that living in Shetland in particular is such an appealing prospect, but many of the reasons are applicable across Scotland’s Highland and Islands’ rural communities….
‘The island is home to thriving fishing, aquaculture, renewable energy and marine engineering industries, as well as a strong public sector, with jobs regularly available in areas like local government and health. Fast WiFi, quality infrastructure and the availability of funding also makes this a better place than many to start a new business’
‘It’s more connected than you think. Regular flights from Sumburgh mean that you can be in Edinburgh or Glasgow for a business meeting within a few hours of leaving home’
‘Commutes feature show-stopping scenery, and more wildlife than cars. Many Shetlanders report that their drive to work is actually a pleasure’
‘With more space, an ancient crofting culture and new investment in renewable energy, it’s also possible to lead a more sustainable existence on the islands.’
CoDeL has been busy working on a feasibility study for a new online platform – Uist Beò. Community consultations have been going well with over 200 responses to our survey on what individuals would like to see from the platform. A business survey is also underway and has had close to 40 responses from a variety of businesses and social enterprises across the islands.
Our digital designer has come up with a striking and unique brand concept and social media for the platform is soon to be launched. In the meantime our community engagement officer has put together a brief video introducing the project.
This free, virtual session is an opportunity for rural and island young people aged 16-25 to collectively reimagine the future of their communities. Facilitated by the Social Enterprise Academy, the fully interactive session will also provide an opportunity for young people to question decision makers such as Maree Todd, Minister for Children and Young People and Bruce Adamson, The Children and Young People’s Commissioner. The outputs of the session will contribute to other sessions of the Scottish Rural Parliament and help to influence rural policy.
To attend, register for the Scottish Rural Parliament and select the Youth Session when asked.
The Scottish Rural Parliament is a grassroots democratic assembly, bringing together people who live and work in rural and island Scotland with decision makers and influencers to explore current thinking and identify actions that will shape the future of rural communities.
Scottish Rural Parliament 2021 will be held over five days between March 6th and 18th. In sessions that will be open to everyone who would like to register, panels will look at a wide variety of issues that deeply affect rural Scottish lives – from local democracy and land use to digital communications and climate change. Through conversation and the sharing of stories these sessions will explore what needs to be done so that rural communities are thriving and their natural environment is safeguarded.
A member of the European-wide network of Rural Parliaments, the Scottish Rural Parliament takes place every two years. Responding to the pandemic reality, the 2021 Virtual SRP (2021vSRP) will take place online on a platform which is easy to access if you have a mobile phone, tablet or laptop and an internet connection. This year the Scottish Rural Action is partnering with the Scottish Islands Federation and Scottish Rural Network and the outcomes of the parliament will form the basis of an updated Manifesto for Rural and Island Scotland.
The programme can be seen in full here and we will be looking at the individual sessions in greater detail over the coming weeks.
Rural Housing Scotland’s 2021 Rural Housing Summit is well underway online, sharing stories from rural communities working to tackle housing need in their area through a mix of panel discussions, interactive workshops, webinars and one-to-one sessions with various experts in the field.
Upcoming sessions include funding routes for community-led housing, the quiet rise of rural homelessness and building cultural and economic capacity.
Thursday’s key note speaker Dr Annie McKee of The James Hutton Institute and Rural Housing Scotland Convenor, provides the opportunity to look at the impact of land reform in Scotland and the challenges communities still face.
On Friday, delegates will hear from Scottish Rural Housing’s Derek Logie about the key role rural housing enablers play in efforts to tackle housing need and about plans SRH are developing to combine traditional models and modern technology to repopulate rural areas. Further sessions on Friday will look at rural re-population, rethinking rural and building cultural and economic capacity and speakers on the Rethinking Rural panel discussion will include North Uist architect – Alex Durie. One-to-one appointments with a Rural Housing Enabler will also be available on Friday afternoon.
The complete programme for the week can be found here and bookings are still open for sessions from Thursday afternoon onward.