Scottish Islands Federation 2018 AGM & Island Gathering
18-20 September 2018, Tiree
Empowering Small Island Communities – Learn from each other and have your say
In partnership with Tiree Development Trust
| 18: Arrival and Catch Up
Travel to Tiree and check in at Alan Stevenson House.
19.30 – 20.30 Welcome and evening meal
20.30 – 22.00 Updates: what’s been happening on your island
( if suitable and practical, please bring a food speciality from your island for others to taste!)
|WED 19: Island Communities have a say and Community Learning Exchange Part 1
09.00 – 09.15 Introduction to the day and the SMART Islands Initiative by Camille Dressler SIF Chair.
09.15- 10.00 Welcome and presentation from Tiree Community Development Trust.
10.00 – 11.00 key note speech – Michael Russell MSP (TBC), followed by
Implementing the Scottish (Islands) Bill / The Crown Estate & Maximising our Marine Assets
What will the Island Bill and the changes to the Crown Estate mean for your island? How can our island communities meaningfully engage and influence?
11.00 – 11.15 Tea/Coffee
11.15 – 12.45 Brexit: have your say with Martin MacManus from Scottish Rural Action small group workshops led by Martin
12.45 – 13.30 Lunch
13.30 – 14.45 Island Health & Social Care Earlier this year a number of Orkney groups got together to commission research into different models and possible solutions for providing social care on small islands. Rosie Alexander, who conducted the research, will share the findings with us followed by discussion around the role of community innovation and statutory authorities in overcoming the challenges. We will also hear of the working examples from Tiree’s Cùram, Jura’s Progressive Care Centre and the Western Isles on creating opportunities through training and apprenticeships.
14.45- 15.00 Tea/Coffee
15.00- 16.30 Impact of Tourism In a trend that seems set to continue, many islands have seen a huge increase in visitor numbers over the last few years. Largely welcomed, there can also a need for communities to be able to manage the impact when needed – Tiree’s Ranger and Access Group will share their experience in measuring, managing and maximising the local benefit
16.30– 18.00 Island tour
19.00 – 21.00 Evening meal
21.00 – later Tunes from Tiree / informal discussion and exchange
| THUR 20: Learning Exchange Part 2 & Scottish Island Priorities
09.00 – 09.30 S.I.F AGM – chair report, accounts, elections, membership
09.30 – 09.40 Introduction to the day by S.I,F. chair
09.40 – 10.45 Island Housing Availability of affordable housing is key to sustaining island communities and yet is one of the biggest obstacles that all the islands face. Cameron Anson of Rural Housing Scotland’s ‘Our Island Home’ will give an overview of island housing, current projects and support available
10.45- 11.00 Tea/Coffee
11.00 – 13.00 Clean Energy for EU Islands Scottish islands are pioneers in renewables and community energy and yet current thinking around the future support for energy projects and the implications of Brexit could hold us back. Community Energy Scotland will lead discussion around energy on Scotland’s islands, the Clean Energy for EU Islands Programme and what our priorities are for future policy.
13.00 – 13.30 Lunch
13.15 – 14.00 Island Population & Demographic Many islands are experiencing population decline but some are bucking the trend. Earlier this year, Theona Morrison and Thomas Fisher carried out some research with young people on Uist that showed a significant increase in young returners and the many reasons behind it. Theona and Thomas will share the research findings and outline plans for a larger piece of work.
14.00 – 15.00 Waste & Marine Plastic: Our thoughts towards a Scottish Marine plastic policy, as Marine plastic affects us all: Perspectives from Tiree, the Small isles and Orkney,
15.00 1-16.00 Island Priorities Wrap up session and close World Café style group discussion to prioritise activity and campaigns over the next 2 to 3 years.
Malta Political Declaration on European Islands
Following on from the Smart Islands Initiative, spearheaded by island local and regional authorities of the Members States signing the Smart Islands Declaration, momentum has been building up for national and European support for islands in Europe.
In the frame of the informal meeting of Energy ministers that took place in Valetta under the 2017 Maltese Presidency of the Council of the EU, Ministers of 14 Members States including from Greece, Malta, Cyprus, Italy, Croatia, Germany, France, Denmark, Sweden, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Finland and Estonia signed together with the European Commission a political declaration to launch the new “Clean Energy for EU Islands” initiative.
Unfortunately the UK was not represented, although Scotland is very much at the forefront of the Renewable Energy revolution. However these policies have the support of the Scottish Government, and Scotland through S.I.F. and the Islands Councils in the CPMR are actively representing local and regional stakeholders.
Clean Energy for EU Islands” initiative.
The initiative builds on the Commission’s “Clean Energy for All Europeans” Communication of November 2016. The overall goal is for the EU to become a low carbon economy via transformation of its energy system by
- putting energy efficiency first
- achieving global leadership in renewable energies
- providing a fair deal for consumers
To start the transition process in the EU, the Initiative aims at first accelerating the clean energy transition on EU islands, by helping them reduce their dependency on energy imports through enhanced exploitation of their own renewable energy sources and uptake of more modern and innovative energy systems.
Members States expressed their full support to the Initiative as a stable, long-term framework that will help support replicable and scalable projects through the provision of financing and technical capacity for islands.
To this end, they invited other countries to join and:
- accelerate the clean energy transition on EU’s 2700 islands
- help islands reduce dependency and costs of energy imports by using RES
- embrace modern and innovative energy systems
- improve air quality and lower greenhouse gas emissions
The Chania Inaugural Forum
The island of Crete hosted the Inaugural Forum on the “Clean Energy for All European Islands” initiative, part of the Winter Package, that was tabled by the European Commission last November under the title “Clean Energy for All Europeans”.
The Forum was organized by the European Commission and the Greek government with over 200 participants and close to 40 speakers taking the floor, representing an overwhelming endorsement by political representatives of national, regional and local level as well as industry and civil society stakeholders. Community Energy Scotland was invited to present the access project in Mull and other pioneering Scottish projects.
The islands are now widely recognised as platforms for pilot initiatives and showcases for success stories. Islands are:
- innovation leaders for integrating local RES production, storage facilities and demand response;
- demonstrating how decarbonisation creates resilient energy systems via reduced reliance on fossil fuel imports, the protection of environment, and autonomy of energy supply
- showing that energy transition can be a driver for economic development (new local jobs, new business opportunities, self-sufficiency of island communities)
The next measures are a Clean Energy Package to create the right legal framework (RES, consumers and stability for investment and a two directional approach for facilitation of transition and “island-frontrunners”: top-down and bottom up, as well as cooperation with national/regional organisations of islands
The EU commission has an ambitious objective: 1000 EU islands decarbonised by 2030!
A Clean EU Energy Islands Secretariat
The call for a Clean Energy EU island secretariat is a first step to ensure that islands can become platforms for pilot initiatives on clean energy transition and showcase success stories of islands’ transition at international level. The next step is to set up an Island Facility under Horizon 2020 to support the comprehensive energy transition in preparatory and implementation phase.
Based in Brussels but reaching out to the islands, the Secretariat’s aim is to carry out a benchmarking study on energy systems on islands and to assist the islands to design and prepare decarbonisation plans by providing dedicated capacity building, technical assistance and advisory services.
- It will create and manage a platform of exchange of practice for islands involved clean energy projects through a dedicated website which will also offer web-based tools to facilitate networking and exchanges.
- It will also organise Islands Initiative forums and islands technology fairs to bring together all interested parties including investors, to share best practice in financial and regulatory tools and promoting best available technologies, with the aim to take action on the ground.
- It will concentrate on identifying and executing clean energy projects that create local employment, community empowerment, as well as support growth in tourism, agriculture, fisheries and other important economic sectors on the islands through lower local energy pricesS.I.F. and ESIN are part of a bid to run the secretariat fronted by the CPMR, together with Community Energy Scotland. Their bid is the only one fronted by island organisations and is supported by the Scottish Government. The winning bid will be announced by July 2018.
Formally introduced on 9 June 2017, the Bill is for an Act of the Scottish Parliament to make provision for a national islands plan; to impose duties in relation to island communities on certain public authorities; to make provision about the electoral representation of island communities; and to establish a licensing scheme in respect of marine development adjacent to islands.
Stage 1 of the process has included a call for evidence from the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee. Written evidence was submitted by a range of groups and individuals including SIF and you can see our submission here – thank you to everyone that contributed.
Our SIF Chair, Camille, was invited to take part in an evidence session with the Committee – you can watch it here.
The Committee also went out and about around the islands to hold direct discussion with islanders and you can read the feedback here.
S.I.F. AGM to take place alongside ESIN AGM and Conference in Kirkwall this September
The Scottish Islands Federation will be hosting the European Small Islands Federation AGM and annual Conference in partnership with the Orkney International Science Festival from 11 to 13 September 2017.
From Island produce branding to sustainable transport and Community Renewable energy
The event will include a study visit featuring the culture and archeology of the Orkney with a discussion on island product branding on Monday 11, a study visit to Shapinsay on Tuesday 12 with a smaller group heading to North Ronaldsay, and 3 presentations on the theme of greening the islands as part of the Orkney International Science Festival on Wednesday 13 September. Of particular importance to the Scottish Islands will be the last session, featuring Brendan Devlin, special advisor to DG Energy, who will present the Clean Energy EU Islands strategy agreed on in Malta last May. Kostas Komninos from Greece, Elvira Laneborg from Sweden and Mark Hull from Scotland will also present initiatives showing how European islands ‘ smart approach to Energy from transport to renewables production places them as leaders in sustainable development.
Good attendance from Scottish and European islands
Ireland, France, Sweden, Estonia, Finland and Sweden islands will be represented at the event, with delegates from Eigg, Cumbrae, Luing, Bute, Mull, Barra, Fetlar and several Orkney island Development trusts attending as well.
You can see the full programme here.
S.I.F. Draft response to Island Bill to be approved at the S.I.F. AGM.
An important part of the S.I.F. AGM will be for the delegates to look over the S.I.F. draft response, add to it if necessary and approve it for submission to the Scottish Government in time for the 25 September deadline.
The S.I.F. AGM will take place at 18.45 at the Kirkwall Hotel, Harbour St, Kirkwall, KW15 1LE
S.I.F. AGM Agenda
- Minutes of last AGM held in Seil
- Chair’s report
- Treasurer’s report and appointment of auditors
- Membership subscriptions
- Board elections
- Island Bill, discussion of draft SIF response
More directors wanted!
With 2 board members standing down , but up for re-election, S.I.F. is looking for up to 4 more directors to take the organisation forward. Help us make the island voice even stronger!
To be an island should not be a problem but a pillar of development!
This was the strong message delivered by CPMR President Vasco Cordeiro (and President of Azores Government) on 9 March 2017. He also said: “we must speak very clearly and very loudly about the islands’ needs.”
The CPMR Island Commission’s AGM 2017 was hosted on Gozo, Malta’s smaller island, and brought together island regions from the North to the South of Europe to look at the future of Cohesion Policy post-2020.
Islands must think globally and act locally
As an observer member, the European Small Islands Federation, represented by its chair, Camille Dressler, also chair of the Scottish Islands Federation, was extremely pleased to see some very strong principles being reiterated by the minister for Gozo in particular
- Islands must think globally and act locally
- One size does not dictate all nor add value to a nation.
- It is important to bridge the gap between the EU and policies
- It is crucial to get rid of bureaucratic barriers and help micro, small and medium size enterprises through changes to State Aid rules for islands and a rise in De minimis level at least in line with inflation.
- The Cohesion Policy, as a fundamental pillar of EU construction, must act as a forward looking policy bringing EU citizens together
- There must be a new way to look at shipping issues
- There should be social policies for the islands
- There should be special funding packages for the islands
- To serve the islands adequately, there must be a place-based approach to the EU Development and Territorial Cohesion Policy.
The future of the EU and the islands
Eleni Marianou, the CPMR islands Commission secretary, was very clear on what had to be done in response to Mr Juncker’s White paper:
- The CPMR needs to make a response to the EU White Paper and respond to the key challenges of competitiveness, investment and Territorial Cohesion.
- It needs a strong voice and think of target audiences: EU institutions, National governments, EU Regions, Citizens and Young People.
- Response includes making the case for EU cooperation based on CPMR principles of balanced Territorial Principles, solidarity between the EU and its regions, championing the position of regions in EU policy-making.
- CPMR needs to prepare for a strong lobbying campaign prior to and during the EU parliamentary elections in 2018- 2019
The islands’s access to the Single Market is not equal to that of other regions.
The presentation by Ioannis Spillanis from the University of Aegean Island and Local development laboratory made the following points:
- 3.4 %of EU population live on islands. Their access to the Single market is NOT equal to the access enjoyed by other parts of the EU.
- Insularity has a negative aspect on businesses and people and Brexit will make it worse by reducing the number of islands in the EU and the overall funding share.
- EU Sectoral policies are without differentiation
- For the islands to realise their potential, EU policies need to include insularity clauses.
- For this reason, a new island typology is needed. Current indicators are woefully inadequate: new indicators are required to describe the islands situation as the classification used in NUTS2 and NUTS3 is not good enough. (NUTS 3 islands are drowned in the NUTS2 areas)
- To achieve the EU’s principles of Territorial Cohesion and Sustainability, the development model needs to be changed to include Equal opportunities for the islands and Green island policies.
Entreprise on islands needs an innovative approach from the EU
INSULEUR president Georgios Benetos showed how islands are left behind from the business point of view:
- No economy of scale for the islands
- Added costs of insularity need to be taken into account
- Access to credit and finance is more complicated on islands
Fundamental changes in the way the EU could support the islands:
- VAT should be lower as it is already on some islands (Corsica, Heligoland) whereas there is no VAT in the Faroe islands.
- There should be a lower level of taxation for islands to help small and medium enterprises as well as micro-enterprises.
Islands need support as well as a Can Do approach
MEP Myriam Dalli who is involved in supporting Blue Growth projects, agreed that islands do need support, and the way to get it was to demonstrate a Can Do approach.
Islands at the forefront of renewable revolution
The presentation by the Western Isles Council showed how the islands could become Energy Positive Islands by investing in their potential for renewables. Bornholm ‘s vice mayor presented the island Bright Green Future. Kostas Komninos built on that concept by presenting the Smart Island Initiative to be launched in Brussels on 28 March.
Corsica to lead on post 2020 negotiations and insularity clause
Gilles Simeoni, President of the Executive Council of Corsica, was unanimously elected as President of the CPMR Islands Commission (CPMR-IC).
Following his election, President Simeoni said: “The months and years to come will be decisive not only for our islands but also for Europe, in the context of a very marked internal and international crisis”.
He identified the need to put islands at the heart of Cohesion Policy and suggested that an insularity clause should appear in transport, tax policies, waste management and energy.
From a purely Scottish Point of view, it was gratifying to discuss with Mr Simeoni how the Corsican team had come to Scotland to meet with Cal Mac to look at the way they are structured and with a view to replicate the C-Mal and Cal Mac model!
The CPMR IC position
The CPMR Islands Commission, which represents all of Europe’s island regions, has reiterated that islands and outermost regions are unique because of their remoteness.
The Islands Commission has called for the termination of the traditional perception that islands are too different from one another to justify policy measures at EU level.
While debate on post-2020 policies is emerging, island regions across Europe have called for the EU to develop a strong post-2020 Cohesion Policy with a robust territorial dimension which would earmark specific funding to assist island and outermost regions reach the EU objectives.
The CPMR-IC would welcome a constructive dialogue with the European Commission in 2017 ahead of the legislative proposals for post-2020 Cohesion Policy.
Furthermore, it has urged the European Institutions to correct the glaring exclusion of islands from the legal recognition of different territorial typologies that is currently being debated.
Click here to access the speeches and presentations made at the Gozo 2017 AGM.
Islands: Part of the solution to Europe’s 2030 Climate and Energy Challenges
As Europe moves towards the implementation of its 2030 climate and energy agenda and the broader Energy Union objectives, the European electricity sector fully recognises that islands will play an important role in ensuring their success. In this context EURELECTRIC organised a Workshop entitled “Islands: Part of the Solution to the 2030 Climate and Energy Challenges” in Brussels on 20 February 2017.
During the workshop, EURELECTRIC launched a report entitled “Towards an Energy Transition on Europe’s Islands” which highlights the energy situation of European islands. The report is an attempt to synthesise some of the flagship projects pioneered on several islands and showcasing sustainable solutions to the challenge of advancing energy transition efforts on islands. It also proposes how the positive experience from these projects and more systematised effort towards similar projects could be further streamlined to address the unique challenges faced by islands’ energy systems.
The focus of the workshop would be to present some of these success stories but also engage relevant stakeholders in a debate over how to take forward the positive but isolated impact of these projects in a more coordinated manner. In the age of rapid energy system decentralisation, renewables deployment, system smartification and digitalisation, solutions offering answers to challenges on islands are of value to decentralisation issues faced on the mainland as well. The workshop is a first step towards identifying areas requiring further European action as well as opportunities to islands as test-beds to technologies and services, which may prove key to unlocking energy challenges on the mainland.
Check Euroelectric for upcoming events!
Scottish Government approves Fair Isles Demonstration and Research MPA
On 26 October, Roseanna Cunningham, Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, announced the designation of the Fair Isle Demonstration & Research Marine Protected Area – Scotland’s first ever designation of this kind.
Great result for 25 years of Community effort
The news comes on the back of decades of community effort campaigning for improved protection for Fair Isle’s waters. Fair Isle is famed for its migratory bird populations and attracts visitors the world over. A small and remote island, located around 40km from the nearest land, the local economy is reliant upon a healthy marine environment to underpin their wildlife tourism industry. Fair Isle records a greater diversity of bird species per unit area than anywhere else in Britain and Ireland, due to its location as first landfall for migrants moving across both the North Sea and Atlantic Ocean, and often records unusual avian visitors not found elsewhere in the UK. In addition, seventeen species of seabirds breed on Fair Isle, however populations of these have declined from c. 250,000 in total in the 1980s and 1990s to just over 100,000 in 2010, with species such as kittiwakes, arctic skuas, puffins, shags and arctic terns showing the most rapid declines. This is not only an issue for the biodiversity of Fair Isle, but also represents a threat to the island’s main industry – wildlife-based tourism.
FIMETI ‘s role crucial for campaign success
The Fair Isle Marine Environment and Tourism Initiative (FIMETI) was established in 1995 as a partnership between the Fair Isle community, the National Trust for Scotland and the Fair Isle Bird Observatory Trust to work toward the long-term protection and sustainable management of the seas around the island. The proposal for the Demonstration and Research Marine Protected Area (MPA) was developed in 2011 by FIMETI on behalf of all residents of Fair Isle, and had full support of other stakeholders using these waters.
Fair Isles MPA’s 2 objectives
The Fair Isle MPA is ultimately designed to protect the island’s sea bird populations (and associated bird tourism industry) and has two objectives:
- to conduct robust research on population decline of seabirds,
- to demonstrate the social and economic value of a healthy marine environment to the Fair Isle community and others.
It differs from Scotland’s nature conservation MPAs in that rather than specifically protecting species of European importance it is specifically targeted toward carrying out research to demonstrate sustainable marine management approaches.
Piloting a partnership approach
Speaking about the news, former FIMETI representative Nick Riddiford said, “I am delighted that 25 years of community effort to safeguard our seas has reached this milestone. Its goal as the first Demonstration and Research MPA in Scotland is to pilot a partnership approach towards sustainable marine management of benefit to all.”
“The sea plays a huge role in the economic, social, cultural and environmental wellbeing of the isle. The designation will make a big difference for Fair Isle.”
“Single Market must work for the islands “said Conservative MEP Ian Duncan last August.
Last year (30.09.15), Dr Ian Duncan, Conservative MEP for Scotland, and chair of the ECR, welcomed small businessmen from across Europe to the European Parliament to discuss the challenges facing Islands and peripheral communities.
Speaking from the European Parliament in Brussels, Dr Duncan said
‘When I campaigned to be elected to the European Parliament I was struck by the challenges facing Island communities right across Scotland. The small businesses based on these Islands produce goods and services of incredibly high quality, but encounter barriers such as distance from market, transport challenges, intermittent Internet, and attracting and retaining staff. We heard today from speakers from Scotland, Denmark, Croatia and Finland, all of whom face common challenges.
‘The key message is that the Single Market must work for you regardless of where you live and work. If you are in Stornoway, or Stirling, Arran or Aberdeen you should be able to do business. The islands don’t need special treatment, they need equal treatment. So when we talk about a Digital Single Market it should be a market for every islander as well as every mainlander. The same when we talk about an Energy Union; it should connect every household, not just those in the middle. And of course, you should be able to access the single market without let or hindrance, regardless of whether you are selling whisky on Islay or gin in Edinburgh.
‘I am delighted to have been able to bring together experts from across Europe and look forward to publishing a report of our findings in due course.’
The group heard from speakers including Gerald Michaluk, the owner of the Arran Brewery, and Donald MacInnes, crofter and former Chief Executive of Scotland Europa.
Gerald Michaluk commented,
‘As one of our potentially biggest trading partners Europe is essential, and if Scotland wants to maintain jobs and vitality on its Islands it needs to support Dr Ian Duncan’s initiative.
‘Islands need to have full access to Europe and be able to operate on a level playing field with mainland locations. Only in this way can we sustain the beauty and natural environment of Island communities across the EU.’
Donald MacInnes commented:
‘Islanders don’t feel remote. For the single market to work for everyone, disparities between peripheral regions/islands must be minimised. Equally important is to focus on eliminating differences within these regions and islands. An understanding of this fine grain is crucial in seeking strategies and solutions.’
Jamie McGrigor, Conservative MSP for the Highlands and Islands added:
‘As someone who lives in and has represented remote and island communities in the Scottish Parliament for many years, I know the unique challenges they face. Geography, transportation and logistical challenges often mean it is particularly difficult to do business in remote communities such as those up and down the west coast of Scotland.
“However, their produce, skills and expertise are often second to none, and I am delighted that my colleague Ian Duncan MEP is raising this issue in the European Parliament.”
What is Dr Ian Duncan’s position now?
Currently there are no new post from Dr Duncan’s blog on the need for the islands to engage with the single market.
Is he towing the party line on a hard Brexit, or he is standing by his word on the Single Market s advantage for the island?
If you are concerned about this issue, contact Andrew Johnston, Head of Office for Ian Duncan, Ian Duncan MEP as he stated his position as always putting Scotland’s interests’ first and the current discussion does not look as if Scotland’s interests – and never mind the islands – are being fully considered in the discussion.
Alyn Smith, MEP: do not let Scotland down!
SNP MEP Alyn Smith addressed the European Parliament making clear Scotland’s desire to continue our membership of the EU – and received an unprecedented standing ovation from MEPs.
Addressing the meeting of the Parliament, Alyn Smith said:
“I represent Scotland within this house and where I’m proudly Scottish, I’m also proudly European.
“I want my country to be internationalist, cooperative, ecological, fair, European – and the people of Scotland along with the people of Northern Ireland and the people of London and lots and lots of people in Wales and England also voted to remain within our family of nations. I demand that that status and that esprit européen
“Colleagues, there are a lot of things to be negotiated and we will need cool heads and warm hearts, but please remember this: Scotland did not let you down. Please, I beg you, cher colleagues, do not let Scotland down now.”
See more about Alyn Smith ‘s speech here.
COAST: seriously alarming
“We are alarmed at the referendum result in favour of leaving”, says Andrew Binnie from COAST “as we believe it will undermine the hard-won environmental legislation which underpins Scotland’s 2010 Marine Act, not to mention a raft of other important pieces of environmental legislation. These have made a real difference to the quality of our fragile natural environment”
Probable Erosion of Important Directives
“It has taken decades of hard work involving many UK/Scottish experts, civil servants and organisations to get Directives such as the Bathing Water, Water and Marine Strategy Framework Directives in place”, continues Mr Binnie .”The implementation of these has greatly benefited the people of Scotland who have seen a real improvement in water quality, particularly in our estuaries and cities. We no longer dump raw sewage into the Clyde for instance and fish stocks in the North Sea are showing signs of recovery. It is critical we continue to build on existing progressive legislation.”
There is a real danger that without the backing of EU Directives the implementation of marine and fresh water legislation will be delayed, diluted and vulnerable to even greater industry lobbying. COAST is not uncritical of the EU but it is already clear that some (not all) sections of the fishing industry view ‘Brexit’ as an opportunity to discard regulations they are not in favour of ‘over the side’. We should expect the roll out of Scotland’s MPA network to be challenged. This would be a tragedy not just for the environment but also for fishers and coastal communities. It is self-evident that a healthy marine environment will support many more jobs than a depleted and degraded one.
No trade off
Environmental legislation must not be traded off in any negotiations. As a community organisation fighting for better management of Arran and Clyde waters, COAST is particularly concerned that marine legislation and the implementation of Scotland’s Marine Protected Area network remain on course.
CPMR calls for unity
The Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions (CPMR) has expressed its disappointment that the UK has voted to leave the EU, but has called for EU Members and Regions across Europe to remain united and to work together to build a better future.
CPMR Secretary General, Eleni Marianou, said:
“It is very disappointing that the people of the UK have taken the historic decision to leave the European Union. It is a decision that undermines European integration and unity, but we must respect the fact that they have exercised their democratic right.
“Now the EU and all Regions across Europe must move forward together, in the interests of growth and prosperity, to find the answers to our common challenges.”
The Nuka Health care model, Scottish Island style
A new health and well being centre for the Small Isles
Residents of the Small Isles of Eigg, Muck, Rum and Canna have a brand new health centre – and a new way of delivering healthcare to these remote communities.
A team from NHS Highland had been working on the conversion of the former doctor’s house on Eigg into a health and wellbeing centre.
Eigg’s newest resident, three-week old Bryn Lovatt, officially opened the facility on Friday 27 May during a special Community Health Fair on the island that brought residents of Eigg, Muck and Rum together.
The Health Fair was organised by the three Eigg Community Health and Social Care workers, appointed as part of the new health care system in place in the Small Isles, which is modelled on the Alaskan Nuka system.
NHS Scotland “Being Here” Nuka model
Director of operations for NHS Highland’s north and west operational unit, Gill McVicar, said: “Today is the celebration of work NHS Highland has been doing with residents of the Small Isles for a few years.
“The resident GP on Eigg passed away three years ago, and we needed to review the model of care for the people of Eigg, Muck, Rum and Canna. It provided us with an opportunity to do something different.”
The model which NHS Highland and the residents settled on is one that is inspired by another remote community – only several thousand miles away.
“We worked with the community to find exactly what they needed, and we’ve put in a model of care that is developed from Alaska,” Mrs McVicar explained. “The Nuka model of health and care services was created, managed and owned by Alaska Native people.
“The approach has been designed to bring about results by communities working together to achieve positive outcomes. We identified and trained four health and social care support workers based within the local communities to deliver health care to people in the Small Isles. There are three based on Eigg and one on Muck.
“We borrowed the Alaskan community health aid model from the South Central Foundation’s model of care and developed it here in Highland. There are five levels of training they can undertake, ranging from basic to advanced, and the beauty of it is that it is delivered by people living in these communities. They know the people they are treating, and they are more likely to remain within the community for longer.
The health and social care support workers are part of an extended integrated team that is supporting them from the mainland. “They report to the integrated team leader in Mallaig and medical care comes from Skye using our Rural Support Team model,” explained Mrs McVicar.
“We have three GPs that visit all of the islands on a regular basis. They travel to Eigg every week, and twice every second week, and visit the other islands every fortnight. Using this model, we have been getting to know the health needs of the populations and working with them to deliver sustainable high-quality healthcare.”
Community engagement through action research
It was the potential of the Nuka model of care that finally convinced residents to get on board with this innovative and creative way of working.
“We couldn’t imagine any other way of working than having a resident GP,” explained chair of the Small Isles Community Council, Camille Dressler ( who is also chair of the Scottish Islands Federation). “We had to go through the process of exploring every alternative available to us.
“In doing so, we began to realise that the way GPs work has changed in the last 30 years. They are now very much part of a team, and the turning point was when we started to look at the Nuka model in a deeper way.”
Mrs Dressler continued: “We liked the idea of having more community involvement and more say in how our care is delivered. The new model – Being Here- is the subject of an Action Research process, and we feel happy that we have been able to give our feedback throughout the process.
We may have lost a resident doctor, but we are gaining access to more services. Emergency care is still an issue that we want to work on as we feel that our First Responders are in a unique position and should have access to some of the training that Emergency responders receive, but we are working on this.
I’m very happy that NHS Highland has committed so many resources and is committed to new ideas and innovation because we think this is where the future lies for rural medicine.”
A new way to look at health
It was a busy day on Eigg, as the Small Isles Community Health Fair was also held on Friday to mark the opening of the new health centre. A series of NHS Highland healthcare professionals travelled to the island to deliver basic health checks, smoking cessation clinics and heart health sessions to the residents.
Islanders also provided head massage sessions, qi gong tasters, a wild life walk , a singing group session and a chance for everyone , and especially the school children to have a go a making green smoothies using the Smoothy bike. “Well being is a wholistic concept” explained Berni McCoy who is one of the three community Health workers on Eigg. “we wanted the island children to be there and enjoy the day as well, and what better way to engage them than to get them to pedal hard to make a healthy treat! ”
Comments from the Alaskan guests.
The senior medical director for quality improvement and chief medical informatics officer for the South Central Foundation, Dr Steven Tierney, was a special guest on the day, with his wife Michelle who is the Foundation’s director. He was delighted to see the impact the Nuka model of care is having thousands of miles from home.
“We have collaborated with NHS Highland for some time now, and we found that we have so many similarities in terms of recruitment and retention of medical professionals in remote and rural communities,” he explained.
“One of biggest challenges in Alaska was finding GPs to work in such isolated communities – in some cases they would require a six-hour flight to get to these communities.
“We decided to train people from within the communities to deliver basic healthcare, as they are adapted to the lifestyle of living in remote and rural Alaska, and they will remain in the community.
“It’s wonderful to have been invited to the opening of the Small Isles Health Centre and to see such community empowerment. The people of the Small Isles deserve a lot of credit for their resiliency and for embracing new ways of working.”