Rousay Eglisay & Wyre Development Trust
On behalf of the Development Trust we would like to welcome you to Rousay, Egilsay and Wyre.
View of the Rousay Sound
Introduction to REW DT.
Our three islands are home to a community of approximately 260 people. These residents worked together to form our Development Trust in September 2006, with a view to tackling our local issues and improving the quality of life for those living in our communities. Our aim, broadly, is to help our three beautiful islands to be both vibrant and sustainable.
To achieve this we gather ideas from our residents; identify projects; and with the aid of funding obtained via Government and social initiatives or by the funds we produce from our turbine, turn these ideas into projects or community assets. In recent years we have constructed the 900kW community-owned wind turbine, provided community gardens, introduced wifi centres, sought ways to make our homes and community buildings warmer and cheaper to run, introduced a grants and bursaries scheme, and we regularly organise the annual Rousay Lap Half Marathon and from 2018 our Peddie Lap 5K fun race. Further details of these, and other projects we are currently working on, can be found on this website.
Many of the UKs smaller islands have similar issues to ours, such as, a population decline (especially amongst the young), an ageing population, below average recreational facilities, a decline in traditional industries, limited employment opportunities, low wages and fuel poverty.
Our Development Trust is trying to further enhance the quality of life, preserve our community and secure our future. All island residents over the age of 18 can apply to become a member of the Trust. Our directors are elected from within the membership, by the members themselves, and the combined Board makes decisions on what projects the Trust should develop, to try and meet these aims.
How it all started
Following a series of reports commissioned by the public sector, Rousay Egilsay and Wyre were defined as "becoming threatened" evidenced by
- Population decline
- Below average economic activity
- An ageing population
- Reliance on inward migration
Orkney- wide issues were also identified
- High transport and shipping costs
- A trend of depopulation on the inner and outer isles with a gradual centralistaion of people in Kirkwall and on the mainland
- A general decline in the traditional industries of fishing and farming resulting in a need to train and support new business
- High levels of under-employment, low wages and fuel poverty
With the support of Orkney Islands Council and HIE, Rousay Egilsay and Wyre formed a Development Trust to establish a way forward where we could start to reverse some of these trends.
At an open meeting held on 18 September 2006 it was agreed to establish a Community Development Trust for the three island group. This mirrored activities across Orkney where island communities have chosen to set up Trusts to take forward a range of local projects.
We are registered as a company limited by guarantee and have charitable status. This enables us to apply for funds that other community groups can't. It enables us to own assets such as land and buildings.
We have been advised by and work in partnership with various agencies including Rousay Egilsay, Wyre and Gairsay Community Council, Egilsay, Rousay and Wyre Community Associations, Orkney Islands Council (OIC) and Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).
The Trust was formed legally on 16 March 2007 and the current Directors were formally elected onto the board in 2008.
For our latest accounts click here
Who's on board?
Between them members of the board have gained a range of academic and professional qualifications. subjects include Science, Marine Biology, Business Administration, Project management, Service Delivery, Music, Craft and Design and Civil Engineering to name but a few.
Skills and experience
The Directors and staff of the Trust have an enormous range of skills and knowledge gained from years of experience in a diverse range of occupations including Farming, Teaching, Structural Engineering, Science, Music, Ferry and Airline Services, Hospitality Trades, Plant and Machinery, Haulage & Transport, Agricultural Services, Secretarial, Active Service, Utililty Companies, Accountancy, Retail Trades, Construction, Business Analysis, IT services, Printing and Publishing, Renewables and Environmental Services.
Voluntary and Charity committments
Trust board members and staff are actively involved in a variety of voluntary community and charity groups. This involves putting time and effort into activities that help others and create social opportunites. Involvement in organisations and activities such as the Citizens Advice Bureau, Rousay Egilsay and Wyre Community Associations, Parent School Council, Gun Club, Darts Club, Certified First Aider, Fire Fighter, Coastguard, Rousay Egilsay Wyre and Gairsay Community Council and the Small Boat Owners Association. Members of the Trust also organise events to raise funds for community groups and charities such as RNLI and Cancer Research UK
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News for REWDT
We are very pleased to share with you that our project consultant will be visiting Rousay this month, to hold discussion group sessions with our community. The consultant will be holding multiple sessions on the weekend of Saturday 11th & Sunday 12th December.
'The Pier' building was purchased by REWDT in January 2020, following a period of leasing the property. The first part of this post-purchase consultation phase was rolled out at the end of 2020, with a survey sent to every adult resident in our community. The feedback was collated by the independent consultants and published in the form of a report, which we shared with the community in February 2021.
Although the survey gave us great insight into what people in our community are thinking about the future of The Pier site, this next phase will be in the form of small discussion groups, to enable us to focus in on the key points raised so far, and to narrow down the options for the site, ready for an Options Appraisal. There will be a short presentation about the project, followed by an open discussion between members of the community and an experienced, independent consultant.
Some of you may feel like we have been here before, as we already produced a short survey on The Pier prior to purchase, but this consisted of a list of options, and there are a number of complex decisions to be made. In effect, what we have done since last year, is go back to the beginning of the consultation process, in order to ensure that we capture everything, with a thorough consideration of the suggestions put forward by the community, in order to make best use of the site and our resources, which the Board believes is better for the long-term success of the project.
We intended for the next part of the consultation to commence promptly following the survey, but Covid-19 restrictions prevented us from being able to hold larger gatherings, including being unable to hire a suitable premises in our community. It was really important to us that the consultation is carried out here in the community rather than online, so that as many people as possible have the opportunity to take part. We have only recently been able to confirm hire of the School, and things have moved very quickly following this confirmation.
Finally, The Pier site is still closed, for safety reasons, following an oil leak at the site last year and the ongoing assessment by the insurer. We realise it is incredibly frustrating to see the building closed and unused, especially now that things are beginning to open up again. It is clear that there is an array of opinions in the community about how best to use the building, but we are generally aligned on two things: firstly, that the building should be brought back into use for people in our community; and, secondly, that the site has an opportunity to make a positive contribution to our community, in whatever form the project takes. The scope and nature of the development at the site will be guided by this consultation process with our community.
Our Board hopes that as many people as possible will take part in the discussions with the consultant, whatever your views on the project or its progress to date, as we want to get a fair representation of the views in our community, and these contributions will have a direct impact on the future of the project.
To help us manage attendee numbers, pre-booking your attendance at the consultation sessions is essential. You can book online here (on Eventbrite), or please email us (email@example.com) or telephone 01856 821229. We look forward to seeing you there!
VAO and the Island Wellbeing Project have launched a new self-management group for anybody living with a long-term condition on the ferry-linked isles. Participants will have an opportunity to meet others, learn self-management techniques from qualified tutors and to hear from expert speakers.
Joining the group is free. You need to be aged 18+, living on one of the ferry-linked isles and have a long-term condition.
Sign-up at: www.islandwellbeing.org/ismg
This is a new project exploring the neolithic tombs in the North Isles. To find out more come along to the talk at Rousay Community School on 29 November at 7:30 p.m.
If you can't make this date there is also a drop in event at the Rousay Heritage Centre on 30 November from 2 to 4:30 p.m.
See poster here for more information