About Us

In 2016 a number of land trusts on the Outer Hebrides agreed on the concept of a knowledge sharing event to support sometimes lone workers to come together to share best practice. Highlands and Islands Enterprise provided funding for a one-day event and trusts were surveyed in advance to gauge interest of topics. Eleven asset owning trusts took part in the day, which was hosted by Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn. A second event was held in Spring 2017 and in Autumn 2017 the land trusts adopted a more sustainable model, whereby trusts would volunteer to host and chair the meeting without funding support. The trusts have met twice per year every year since 2016, with the next meeting proposed for November 2020.

 

The level of engagement for these events is high, with most land-owning trusts taking part. The administration for the group is currently carried out by Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn and the agenda is set using the survey topics listed provided at outset, alongside some more critical issues that have arisen during the course of a year. A note of the meeting with actions points is issued to all land-owning trusts following the meeting.

 

 Topics covered include; tourism, community engagement, collaborative working, health and wellbeing and more core land related topics are on the agenda also i.e. deer management, invasive species management and there is a desire to consider more operational topics also such as; policy development around human resources, crofting administration etc. Trusts realise there is strength in collaboration and an inefficiency in duplication. The knowledge transfer and peer to peer engagement is a critical element of the network forum, which is now known as “Community Land Outer Hebrides”. 

CLOH - Carloway Estate - credit - Iain M

Our Vision

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Collaboration

Community Land

  • To improve sharing of knowledge, ideas and best practice, driving up standards

  • To strengthen the collective voice on common issues

  • To support trusts to become strong, robust organisations whilst retaining their uniqueness

  • To collaborate to support socio-economic development across the Outer Hebrides

  • To support greater engagement between trusts, other organisations and the communities

  • To seek appropriate training and development opportunities for staff and trustees, sharing resources and learning experiences where applicable

  • To harness expertise and nurture people to support them to become experts in their area of interest

  • To support the collective to explore opportunities whereby there would be economies of scale

  • To analyse commercial opportunities and consider new delivery models

The Outer Hebrides has an active and vibrant community land ownership sector, with over 75% of the population living on Community owned land. There are community owned estates managed by social enterprises, that in some cases have grown to be mature organisations with robust governance arrangements. Some land trusts are in the earlier stages of development and are currently working on the set up of operations and development of projects to support long term sustainability, others are at a pre-purchase stage.

 

Trusts carry out a wide range of functions involving estate administration, commercial lease management, in some cases wind energy operations and community investment. There are wide and varied projects and activities being taken forward including housing, wellbeing, energy efficiency, crofting initiatives as well as the more traditional core landlord responsibilities. Trusts are employing staff teams and collaborate with each other where there are appropriate reasons to do so, but also work in partnership with others to create unique solutions and opportunities for the communities they are serving.

 

All land-owning trusts in the Outer Hebrides are members of the umbrella organization, Community Land Scotland (CLS). CLS has been critical in supporting communities to take ownership of their asset, develop it and regularly engage with members to support them to influence public policies.

Community Land Trusts in the Outer Hebrides seeks to create a vehicle to support land trusts in the Outer Hebrides across a range of issues, but mostly by supporting communications between the trusts, improving efficiency, avoiding duplication of effort and seizing opportunities to work in collaboration, whilst sharing best practice. Over recent years land trusts have been sought out to represent the community sector on a range of different forums and groups to support wider community planning and development. This includes the Outer Hebrides Community Planning Partnership Local Outcome Improvement Planning Groups, Locality Planning groups and the requirement of public sector to implement a redesign of services means communities are required to become engaged if this is to be a truly community led process. In many cases the land trusts are seen as being the obvious choice for community engagement as they become more established and become involved in sometimes complex projects with significant and/or transformational impacts.

 

Since the initial meeting of the land trusts in 2016 the network group has matured and following a consultation exercise in November 2018 the network agreed they would like to explore the options of becoming a constituted body and have now constituted as Community Land Outer Hebrides. The organization are in the process of applying to become a SCIO.