Eight islands in Orkney have secured funding from the Scottish Government’s new Islands Housing Fund to explore local housing needs. Sanday, Shapinsay, Stronsay, Papa Stronsay, Auskerry, Rousay, Egilsay & Wyre are working on this exciting project with the Highlands Small Communities Housing Trust (HSCHT) to explore a range of housing options for the islands.
Residents in these communities should expect to receive a household survey shortly for return by 17th July 2017. The survey can be returned in the pre-paid envelope or completed online. All responses will be completely confidential and will only be viewed by HSCHT staff.
HSCHT staff are due to visit each island starting with Sanday on 1st July 2017 at North Isles Sports – so look out for local advertising on each island and come along to find out more and to share your views. A stakeholder analysis will also form part of the process to build up a picture of housing need for each island.
The islands hope to identify housing opportunities to secure their long-term sustainability and the results of the surveys will be available in the autumn.
Sanday Development Trust is taking the lead on the project. Imogen Sawyer, Projects and Grants Officer, Sanday Development Trust said:
“Our islands are an amazing place to live but a lack of appropriate housing in the isles is a concern. Maintaining population numbers is vital to ensure the sustainability of our fragile communities and this requires housing as well as employment. Young adults looking for their first home, couples seeking a long term family property, new residents wishing to move to an island for the way of life, and older residents who wish to remain within their own community: all should be able to find housing to suit their needs.”
“All of the Trusts involved in this project are particularly concerned about meeting the requirements of our aging populations. The wellbeing of families and communities is repeatedly impacted by the necessity for residents to move away from their island, once ongoing 24 hour care is needed due to failing health or increased frailty. The results of this survey will provide the evidence needed to start addressing elderly and other housing needs, to ensure that all residents are able to remain in their community for as long as they wish.”
Ronnie MacRae, Chief Executive Officer, The Highlands Small Communities Housing Trust said:
“We are delighted to have been commissioned to work with the Sanday Development Trust, Stronsay Development Trust, Shapinsay Development Trust and Rousay, Egilsay & Wyre Development Trust. The survey findings combined with community engagement on each island will help to shape and form the next steps in creating a housing development strategy for each island.”
“In common with many of the rural communities where we predominantly work, self-build, refurbishment and improvements to existing properties will be investigated, as will the need for key workers, incoming workers and housing suitable for older people. Rented and low-cost home ownership options will also be considered in future strategies. The support and engagement of all partners is greatly appreciated and we look forward to completing the work in the autumn.”