A warm welcome to our latest newsletter. We wish all our readers a happy and healthy 2022 and we look forward to engaging with you over the coming months. It's shaping up to be a busy but exciting year!

Community Wealth Building: Rural and Island Insights

A diagram of Community Wealth in Rural and Island Communities
Scottish Rural Action, InspirAlba and the David Hume Institute brought together a roundtable of experienced practitioners to discuss rural and island wealth building strategies and to explore how wealth building policy, particularly the Preston model adopted by the Scottish Government, may be leveraged to strengthen these strategies. Discussions from this roundtable have been summarised in a report, which will be taken to the Advisory Group on Scotland’s National Strategy for Economic Transformation.

The report highlights that wealth building strategies, such as volunteering, community-led enterprises, tradition bearing and crofting, have enabled communities to flourish for hundreds of years. Re-framing policy could better strengthen these strategies and deliver welcomed economic transformation in rural and island places. In particular, the report identifies the role of public sector anchor institutions and how to better connect their activities with community-led strategies. It outlines wealth building infrastructure, local curriculum and skills development programmes, digital connectivity and transport, and public participation as drivers to successful community wealth building. A key finding is the need to establish a more encompassing definition of ‘wealth’ when it comes to rural and island communities, one that puts emphasis on longer-term social and environmental outcomes, including sustainability, resilience, and wellbeing, rather than on economic growth. 

Please see here for the report in full!

Welcome to New Board Directors: Alistair and Derek!

We recently recruited two new board directors.

Alistair (left) was born and raised in rural Angus and has first-hand experience of the issues faced by rural communities. He studied for a degree in Environmental Management at the University of Dundee, where he focussed his energies on rural development. After University, Alistair joined the Scottish Government, working in the rural policy arena with notable successes, particularly working with partners on the new application for UNESCO biosphere in Wester Ross, establishing the Scottish Rural Network, Rural Innovation Support Service and the Scottish Rural Parliament. Since leaving government, Alistair has been looking to utilise the knowledge, skills and expertise he has gained over many years as a rural dweller and policy practitioner.

Derek (right) is a housing and rural development professional with over twenty-five years’ experience in policy development at senior government and Ministerial level, but he remains grounded in practical work with communities across Scotland to secure affordable rural housing. He has been Project Manager, Director, & now Chief Executive of Rural Housing Scotland since 1996. He is responsible for the delivery of Rural Housing Scotland activities. He has worked with a range of communities to tackle local housing problems and has supported the development of several practical projects to address housing need. Derek was previously a committee member of the Scottish Land Fund and of the Rural Development Council. He recognises the potential that rural and island Scotland has and is keen to ensure the rural voice is accurately represented.

We are delighted to have both Alistair and Derek on board!

Welcome to Our New Member of Staff!

We are delighted to welcome Catriona who joined SRA in January and is taking on the role of Campaigns and Communications Officer.

Catriona grew up on the shores of the Cromarty Firth. After her undergraduate degree in Social Anthropology, she worked for several years in community development in Scotland and New Zealand. In 2018, she made a move across the Atlantic to Canada and completed a Master’s in Political Ecology at the University of Victoria on Vancouver Island. She has been a board trustee for 2050 Climate Group, Scotland’s youth climate group, and is currently a trustee of the Pebble Trust, an organisation focussed on climate action in the Highlands and Islands.

You can contact Catriona via

20 Minute Neighbourhoods

A SURF initiative, supported by the Scottish Government, brings regeneration practitioners together to explore the practical application of the 20 minute neighbourhood concept in deprived places across Scotland. The third meeting of the Network (on January 20th 2022) included presentations from Scottish Rural Action and the Scottish Government Chief Planner. Please click here to watch the video in full, with our National Coordinator, Artemis Pana, presenting from 2 minutes in. 

Planning Opportunities Around NPF4 and Shared Transport

Sign up to the above event (Wednesday 9 February from 10am until 11.30am) to look at the issues raised for shared transport within NPF4 and the future challenges within the sector. Register here!

Rural Housing Scotland Conference

Rural Housing Scotland's annual conference will take place on 25th February 2022. Due to the current circumstances surrounding Covid-19, this year they will be running their conference online.  Please register via Eventbrite if you would like to attend. It looks to be a really interesting day!

Support for Learning Exchanges with the Scottish Community Alliance

Scottish Communities Alliance seeks to build levels of  mutual support across the sector – both by encouraging communities to support one another and by supporting national networks and intermediaries to collaborate and to share resources to best effect. The Community Learning Exchange, funded by the Scottish Government, is one of the ways in which they seek to do this. They can provide you and your organisaiton with the following support:

Virtual: The Community Learning Exchange will cover up to 100% of the costs of the preparation and delivery time incurred by the host organisation. Virtual visits may be initiated by a community group approaching another, requesting that they ‘host’ a virtual visit. Alternatively, a community group with knowledge and experience to share might choose to promote a virtual visit more widely. To this end, the Exchange will fund proposals for planning and delivery for up to 13 hours at £35 per hour.

Face to face: The Exchange will fund up to 100% of the costs of a visit by members of one community to another community project up to a limit of £750 to include travel, accommodation and subsistence.

More information can be found here!


Consultations can be one of the best ways to shape policy. See a full list of open Scottish and UK Government consultations. We thought the following to be very relevant to rural and island Scotland: An updated marine litter strategy for ScotlandDraft National Planning Framework 4 and 20% car kilometre reduction route map. Please do get in touch if you have any questions, comments or suggestions on these consultations.
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 The Kelvin Partnership, The Cooper Building, 505 Great Western Road, Glasgow, G12 8HN.


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