It all started with an island network
The federation started as a network in 2001 to bring together the Scottish Islands, share good practices and facilitate information exchange and encourage intra and inter-regional island networking. The network was resourced by the Argyll and Bute Council, the North Ayrshire Council and the Highland Council, employing one part time staff.
Getting together with other island organisations in the EU
In 2001, the Scottish Islands Network also became a member of ESIN, the European Small Isles Network. In 2004, ESIN started a 3 year inter- island exchange project, which was 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. This enabled islanders from 6 European countries to share their experiences of sustainable development. The results which were collected have been disseminated to help influence national and EU policies in favour of small islands.The exchange programme ended with Argyll and Bute Council hosting a final conference in Islay in November 2006.
Becoming a federation
The decision to change from network to federation was taken by the Scottish Islands Network steering group at the Islay conference, as a need was identified for the network to develop and become a more representative body, on a par with other European islands organisations.The Steering group widened its membership to become the Scottish Islands Federation steering group. This group worked together to identify a way forward for S.I.F,, and 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. Even though council representatives are invited to be part of the board, they have no voting rights. Today, the Federation works alongside councils, and is represented at Community Partnership meetings for example, but its primary aim is to empower island communities.
Who we are now?
We are a company limited by guarantee with a board of voluntary directors. Company number SC345492. – Registered office: Isle of Eigg, PH42 4RL
Current directors are:
- Camille Dressler, chair, represents the Small Isles Community Council (the islands of Eigg, Rum, Muck and Canna) and is also the ESIN vice-chair. 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 chair of Feis Eige.
- Sandy Brunton, represents the Mull and Iona Community Trust. Sandy also serves as chair of Development Trust Association Scotland and is on the interim board of the Rural Parliament. Based in Fionnphort on the isle of Mull, he also plays the drums in the local pipe band and is in the local Coastguard team.
- Alaistair Fleming, representing the Luing Community Trust, is very much involved as treasurer of the LCT in the building of the Atlantic Islands Centre on Luing. 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.
The Scottish islands Federation is currently looking for more directors as well as a secretary. The latter role is presently carried out by the chair.
Our current membership
- Arran Community Council
- Coll Community Council
- Cumbrae Community Initiative Company
- Fetlar Development Trust
- Isle of Eigg Heritage Trust
- Gigha Heritage Trust
- Lismore Community Company
- Luing Development Trust
- Mull and Iona Community Trust
- Small Isles Community Council
- Stromness Development trust
- Tiree Development Trust
- Towards Zero Carbon Bute