Parliamentary Motion on Uist and Lewis as Social Enterprise Places

Alasdair Allan, MSP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar (the Outer Hebrides) has sent …
 
“Congratulations to the social enterprise community in Uist and Lewis for the work you’ve done to become the first areas within this new scheme.
 
I have marked this with a motion lodged in the Scottish Parliament highlighting the vital contribution which social enterprises make to Na h-Eileanan an Iar: https://beta.parliament.scot/chamber-and-committees/votes-and-motions/votes-and-motions-search/S5M-23873

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
alasdair.allan.msp@parliament.scot
01851 700357
20 Kenneth Street, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, HS1 2DR
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Social Enterprises Place event – January 21st

 

 

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. 

You can sign up for the event here.

Uist, Lewis and Govan recognised in new Social Enterprise Places Scotland scheme

#SocEntPlaces

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 CEIS notes “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”

Book your free places at the online launch event.

ENDS

  • 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: naomi.johnson@socialenterprise.scot

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.

Contributing to a solution: Housing in Uist

At the request of Cllr Iain MacNeil, a seminar on housing in Uist and Barra was held on the 14th of November 2019 in Lìonacleit, Benbecula, to re-energise the public sector-led approach and promote cooperation through a new policy framework for the area.

The Uist Collective: Uibhistich Òga, a group formed following CoDeL’s Young Leaders programme in 2019, was asked to set the scene for the day’s discussion. The group, which is exploring means by which they can positively influence several local issues including housing, is keen to resolve the shortage of suitable houses as this is one of the key stumbling blocks inhibiting many people from returning to the island. Continue reading “Contributing to a solution: Housing in Uist”