Stemming depopulation, encouraging more young people to stay and increasing economic
growth are key priorities for Western Isles community partners.
The Outer Hebrides Community Planning Partnership - compromising local public agencies
- has published a development plan with the aspiration to reverse decline.
Key priorities are:
• Retain and attract people to ensure a sustainable population
• Sustainable economic growth with access to appropriate employment opportunities
• Attractive opportunities that improve the quality of life, wellbeing and health
Surveys show that residents enjoy living in the Hebrides but more suitable work and
accommodation are needed.
Affordable housing, good broadband, transport connections, a vibrant job market with
well-paid opportunities, expansion of access to childcare are all factors which need
to be achieved.
The partnership aims to expand the economy by developing new opportunities in tourism,
creative industries, the digital economy as well as adding value to traditional strengths
such as food and drink.
Their vision is to “promote and realise the full potential of the Outer Hebrides
as a prosperous, well-educated and healthy community, enjoying a good quality of
life and fully realising the benefits of our natural environment and cultural values.”
The make-up of the islands’ population is the second worst in Scotland and the trend
is projected to get worse over the next twenty years.
Norman A MacDonald, chairman of the OHCPP, said: “Involving people in the decisions
that have an impact on their lives and empowering communities to help themselves
Two areas - Benbecula and North Uist, as well as Stornoway West - require additional
focused effort to improve outcomes, he said.
Highland and Islands Enterprise said it would work closely with its community partners
towards achieving greater sustainable economic growth within the Outer Hebrides.