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 email@example.com 01851 700357 20 Kenneth Street, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, HS1 2DR To sign up for my newsletter, please click here
An online event recognising Uist and Lewis as Social Enterprise Places is to be hosted by Social Enterprise Scotland on January 21st at 11am. The event will be attended by Aileen Campbell, Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government, and representatives from Uist, Lewis and Govan (named ‘one to watch’) will talk about the important differences that social enterprise has made in their communities.
Social Enterprise Scotland will also be putting out a call for other communities to join the exciting new programme.
Scotland has long had a reputation for social enterprise activity and on the 21st January Social Enterprise Scotland are thrilled to recognise the impact of social enterprise as part of our Social Enterprise Places scheme. Uist and Lewis will be formally announced on Thursday 21 at an online event, attended by Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary, Aileen Campbell MSP. In addition, Govan will be highlighted as ‘one to watch’ in 2021.
Social Enterprise Places are local areas where social enterprise activity is thriving, from neighbourhoods, to villages, towns, islands and both urban and rural communities. Social Enterprise Scotland has been encouraging local areas to recognise themselves as Social Enterprise Places committed to developing and investing in their local areas. The programme aims to promote, raise awareness, and build markets for social enterprises. While 2021 remains a challenging time for many areas the pandemic has also highlighted the role that social enterprise plays in supporting their community and Social Enterprise Scotland want to make sure their work is highlighted.
Thomas Fisher, Director at CoDeL, representing Uist adds “In Scotland islands have the highest density of social enterprise per head of population. In Uist there are over 50 social and community enterprises, from large to very small, that are existential to the resilience, and thriving, of our island communities made up of 5000 people, including during Covid. We are delighted that Social Enterprise Scotland is recognising the role social and community enterprises have been playing on Uist for four decades in delivering to community needs, building community wealth, and developing our islands as attractive places to live and work. They also generate 10% of all jobs for people under 40 on the islands, enabling young people to return, stay or settle and contribute so much to our island communities.
Alasdair Nicolson, speaking for Lewis notes that “As an advocate of social enterprise and on behalf of Point and Sandwick Trust (PST), I welcome the recognition of Lewis as a Social Enterprise Place. This reflects the past and current development, leadership and entrepreneurship shown not only by Point and Sandwick Trust, but also of the other social enterprise actors, in Uig, Bragor, Carloway, Pairc, Galston and Tolsta, to name a few. As we look beyond the horizon we aim to create stronger communities, through further community led opportunities, and by creating employment and improving infrastructure at local levels. There are now many good examples which other communities can see and Point and Sandwick Trust, for our part, are happy to share as we share from others”.
The recognition of these communities has also been welcomed by Highlands and Islands Enterprise.
Margaret McSporran, Head of Social Enterprise Development at Highlands and Islands Enterprise, said:
“Social enterprises are a vital part of our community and economy in the Highlands and Islands and bring far reaching economic and community benefits across the region. They help create employment and skills opportunities, improve public services and support some of our hardest to reach individuals. We congratulate Uist and Lewis on becoming ‘Social Enterprise Places’ and welcome the recognition of these hotspots of social enterprise activity.”
Chris Martin, CEO at Social Enterprise Scotland said: “Congratulations to the new Social Enterprise Places, all brilliant areas full of thriving social enterprise activity. Our local community groups and social enterprises have really stepped up to lead during the pandemic lockdown period and this scheme is a great way to share this learning and best practice. We know that across Scotland there are many other places waiting to be recognised as exemplars and we look forward to highlighting them as we build on the Places programme. We were also pleased to welcome Govan as ‘one to watch’ noting, that while shining a light on our island communities, the scheme has also seen the impact of social enterprise in our largest city by population too”.
Ian Mitchell, CEO at CEISnotes “We are delighted that the huge potential of Govan has been recognised as a prospective Social Enterprise Place. Social enterprises already play a key role in the economic, social and cultural life of Govan securing jobs and delivering vital services across the community. The importance of Place will be even greater as we recover from the effects of the pandemic. We look forward to even deeper collaboration between enterprises and with the Council to truly make Govan a Social Enterprise Place”
The Social Enterprise Places Programme for Scotland was launched by Social Enterprise Scotland in November 2019 but delayed by the Covid-19 lockdown period. It builds on the programme originally developed by Social Enterprise UK, that recognised Callander as Scotland’s first ever Social Enterprise Place.
The programme is sponsored by The Scottish Government and the Royal Bank of Scotland.
Benefits of the programme will vary from place to place but we know from the experiences of SEUK that collaboration, shared learning and collective voices have all strengthened social enterprise places over time. We plan to build on this working with other partners who have an interest in Placemaking, community development and regeneration.
Social Enterprise Scotland is a membership organisation that represents social enterprise organisations across Scotland. There are over 6,000 social enterprises in Scotland, all organisations committed to supporting social/environmental outcomes. Scotland and many social enterprise organisations have played a pivotal role in supporting people and communities during the pandemic, something they were well placed to deliver and have a continued commitment for.
To learn more about Social Enterprise Places please contact Naomi Johnson: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.”
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.
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
Support to identify employment opportunities for young people (funding support for young people into work is currently more flexible) (contact email@example.com)
An open space group to share and explore mental health issues, which will meet once a fortnight over zoom (contact Rona at firstname.lastname@example.org and/or email@example.com )
A hope wall in the supermarkets and on facebook for people to put up their hopes, pictures, poems, etc. (contact firstname.lastname@example.org)
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 email@example.com and/or firstname.lastname@example.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.