Uist Beò – promoting vibrant Uibhist life

 

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

 

Isle20 Celebrates Its First Year

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.

21 Reasons To Move To Shetland

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.’

 

Visit Shetland.org for the full list of 21 Great Reasons to Move to Shetland

 

All images courtesy and copyright of www.shetland.org

 

Young views reflected in CoDeL’s submission to the Scottish Covid-19 consultation

The uploaded document reflects discussion among community representatives on Uist and Barra, a majority of them young leaders and other younger islanders, facilitated by CoDeL.

The document does NOT represent the views of the participants in these discussions. The community discussions suggest that there is unlikely to be a consensus on how to proceed. Different members of the community have different experiences under lockdown, and above all face different risks within their family and community networks.

“Most people I speak to individually want lockdown to be eased, but this is not reflected in the public debate.”

“I have people within my family who are very at risk. The last thing I want is for lockdown to be eased now.”

CoDel response to Covid 19 Framework

The facilitated discussions nevertheless suggest that it is possible to have constructive discussions on the challenges at a community level, to enable people to express their opinions and for others to hear them, and for people to adapt their views accordingly. This is particularly important when some people’s views are amplified within media and social media, while many members of island communities do not air their views publicly even if, or perhaps especially if, they diverge from what is being articulated by others publicly.

The document looks at travel restrictions and testing, … challenges the focus on health vs economy, … includes tourism, crofting and other parts of local island economies, … considers the potential for localised approaches to lockdown, … and makes a range of suggestions.

A second post will explore in particular some of the potential harms being caused by lockdown on the islands, and in most other communities, too.

Island resilience in practice

Recently we held the first Uist Open Space session on zoom. What a positive experience. Yes, we all face challenges under lockdown. And yet we also shared so many positive actions already happening within the community to support each other, and many ideas for future actions and development.

Current positive actions:

  • A new housing group for Uist and Barra, currently with 3 councillors and 3 younger people, half men, half women, to access funding for and steer a new post to address the housing shortage that is preventing more younger people from staying, returning or settling on Uist.
  • The launch of the Psychological Wellbeing Hub with 30 psychological first-aiders across the Western Isles
  • Support for people to get connected, to boost data packages, etc through Cothrom
  • The work of the Cuimhne project supporting those with dementia, their families and carers, whose workers are now recognised as essential workers and so able to visit people with dementia
  • The work of Resilient Uist
  • On-line classes (e.g. gentle exercise, Irish and Highland dancing)
  • The work of the Tagsa horticulture project in providing seedlings
  • Kallin Harbour doing well out of selling fish locally
  • Langass Lodge offering eggs in telephone kiosk at Clachan to raise money for Tagsa
  • A planned virtual ceilidh of Uist musicians

Some future plans:

  • Support to identify employment opportunities for young people (funding support for young people into work is currently more flexible) (contact kirsty.maccormick@cothrom.net)
  • An open space group to share and explore mental health issues, which will meet once a fortnight over zoom (contact Rona at sineag1@yahoo.co.uk and/or thomas.fisher@mailbox.org )
  • A hope wall in the supermarkets and on facebook for people to put up their hopes, pictures, poems, etc. (contact tracy@tagsauibhist.co.uk)
  • A group/project or other vehicle to develop ideas and actions to make Uist communities and local economy more sustainable beyond the Covid-19 crisis (contact theonasandbank@gmail.com and/or thomas.fisher@mailbox.org)

We are sure that similar initiatives are happening on Scottish islands and internationally also, and across islands. We can all still buy products from Scottish Islands at Isle20.