a voice for the Scottish islands
The Scottish Islands Federation is looking at good examples of island community resilience that we can share on this website and also on #CommunityResponse!
It all started with an island network
The Scottish Islands Federation started as a network in 2000 which aimed to bring together people living on Scottish Islands, share information and good practice. It was funded by island councils and councils with islands and employed one project worker.
Today, we are a federation
In 2007, the network became an independent federation representing island development trusts, island community councils and island-based community benefit organisations. (See below how it came about)
The federation is a company limited by guarantee with a board of voluntary directors, Company number SC345492 and Registered office, Isle of Eigg, PH42 4RL.
- Arran Community Council
- Buth Bharraidh
- Coll Community Council
- Isle of Cumbrae Initiative Development Company
- Fetlar Development Ltd
- The Glendale Trust
- Islay Community Council
- Isle of Eigg Heritage Trust
- Isle of Luing Community Trust
- The Isle of Gigha Heritage Trust
- Lismore Community Trust
- Mull and Iona Community Trust
- Small Isles Community Council
- Sleat Community Trust
- Stromness Community Development Trust
- Tiree Community Development Trust
- Towards Zero Carbon Bute
- Isle of Cumbrae Elderly Forum
- Isle of Kerrera Development Trust
- Stòras Uibhist
- Rousay Eglisay & Wyre Development Trust
- University of the Highlands & Islands (UHI)
- Jura Community Business
- Galson Estate Trust
- Islay Development Initiative
- South West Mull & Iona Development
- Scottish Rural Action
- Rathlin Development & Community Association
- Sanday Development Trust
Like to join Scottish Islands Federation? Find out more HERE.
Getting together with other island organisations in the EU
As soon as it was set up, the Scottish Islands Network became a member of ESIN, the European Small Isles Network, which also became a federation a few years later. It then became involved in ESIN’s 3 year inter- island European exchange project, funded by the INTERREG 111C programme.
Many Scottish Islanders and island organisations participated in this exchange which looked at a wide variety of themes pertinent to island life, enabling islanders from 6 European countries to share their experiences of sustainable development. The exchange programme ended with Argyll and Bute Council hosting a final conference in Islay in November 2006. The INTERREG exchange results were then disseminated to help influence national and EU policies in favour of small islands. ESIN continues to work hard to ensure the smaller islands challenges are better understood in Brussels.
Becoming a federation
The decision to change from network to federation was taken by the Scottish Islands Network steering group at the Islay conference in 2006, as a need was identified for the network to develop on a par with European island organisations in ESIN. The group presented its conclusions at an inaugural conference in Mull in November 2007: “a Voice for the Islands”.
The advantage of the federation model over the network was that it was completely independent from council influence, enabling islanders to truly have a voice. Council representatives are invited to be part of the board but have no voting rights. Today, the federation works alongside councils, and is represented at Community Partnership meetings or LEADER fora, but its primary aim is to help empower island communities.
Current directors are:
- Camille Dressler, chair, represents the Small Isles Community Council (the islands of Eigg, Rum, Muck and Canna). She was also elected as Chair of the European Small Islands Federation in September 2016, stepped down in 2019 to be one of 2 ESIN vice-chairs. Her interests are community empowerment and community energy, as well as heritage and the arts. A Gaelic learner, she has established a crofting museum and bilingual crofting trail on the isle of Eigg and is a founder member of Comunn Eachdraidh Eige.
- Alaistair Fleming, representing the Lorn Islands Partnership, is from the island of Luing and was very much involved in the building of the Atlantic Islands Centre. He has a great interest in geology and natural history.
- Frank Corcoran is the federation’s treasurer and represents the Cumbrae Community Initiative Company, which is currently looking at acquiring woodland on the island and has established a successful community garden with Big Lottery funding. Frank also chairs the Cumbrae Tourism group.
- Ann MacDonald is a director of the Tiree Community Trust and of TREL, its renewable energy subsidiary company.
- Terry Hegarty represents the Mull and Iona Community Trust . Terry who worked on our SMILEGOV project has acquired a good deal of experience in energy audits and is currently involved in sustainable transport on the Ross of Mull.
- Isobel Thomson represents the Westray Development Trust in Orkney. She is the director with responsibility for youth engagement.
- David Herriott from Bute is chair of Beach Watch Bute and is also represents the island on the Cal Mac Community Board . Marine plastic waste is one of the island issues he feels passionate about.