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Orkney Matters – Your Place, Your Future

Date: 27 October 2021

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Calling all Orkney residents – do you want to be involved in shaping your community’s future?

As we continue to weave a path through the pandemic, never has it been so important to work together for the benefit of all.

The LEADER Local Action Group, the council and Voluntary Action Orkney (VAO) want to hear what’s important to you about the place in which you live – whether that be development, the countryside, play areas, sports and leisure, shops and services, activities and connectivity, to name a few.

Your views will allow us to shape our work to ensure your community aspirations and ideas are at the forefront moving forward for Orkney.

Best of all, we want to establish a team spirit where communities help shape their futures with the assistance and support of LEADER Local Action Group, the council and VAO.

The beginning of a conversation is a short and easy-to-complete questionnaire for you to fill in and send back, or complete online.

Paper copies are also available in various local outlets, including the Stromness Warehouse Buildings and the council’s Kirkwall Office at School Place. All completed questionnaires with names and email addresses included which are received by the council by 28 January 2022, will be entered into our prize draw with a chance of winning a £100 local voucher.

There is a number of teams involved to try and ensure we reach as many people as possible, especially those “lesser-heard voices”. We have Development and Marine Planning, LEADER/Community Led Local Development, Economic Development and Community Learning, Development and Employability and each has a specific role to play, whether that be as a statutory requirement in the development of the Orkney Local Development Plan, to the expertise and prior knowledge of community-led projects, to support key local industries, and ensuring inclusivity of all, especially those such as our young people in Orkney.

With that in mind, thanks to Scottish Government’s Rural Communities Testing Change Funding, and as part of the consultation we will be working alongside the Pier Arts Centre, local artists, the Education Team and our schools to enable a six-week project using art as a way for young people to express how they feel about their community and their hopes for it. The Pier Arts Centre will hold art workshops with local artists and groups in the community whose members may not usually share their views, such as Employability Orkney, Connect, Young Persons Guarantee, Orkney Blide Trust, Age Scotland (Orkney), LGBT+, Kirkwall Foodbank and Women’s Aid, to name a few.

An exhibition will be held in the Pier Arts Centre at the end of the project to showcase the artwork produced, which will also form part of the consultation feedback to influence policies, projects and future funding themes going forward.

One of those spearheading the consultation is Susan Shearer, planning manager with the council’s Development and Marine Planning dept. She said: “We want to find out about the lessons learnt from periods of lockdown due to the pandemic and what is needed now to move forward. As well as the pandemic, communities have had to deal with BREXIT and changes to previous European funding streams. We want to know how we can assist and what are the community priorities for funding streams and development planning.

“Part of our message will be around our role in the empowerment of communities to come together to deliver change to their places, whether this is based around villages or the open countryside. We want to discuss the role of Local Place Plans as a method to capture consultation outcomes, land use planning and projects.

“Local Place Plans have come in through the new planning act of 2019 and we consider that there is a good opportunity for joint working to assist communities in their facilitation. The council has already assisted the Kirkwall and Stromness communities in producing their own Plans (Your Kirkwall and What’s Next for Stromness) and projects from both are now being developed and/or are in place.

“We consider it important to engage and speak to our young people and the lesser heard voices, so that their concerns and thoughts can be included.”

The questionnaire feedback will be used to assist and inform a series of parish / island-based online events in January 2022, and the overall consultation findings will be fully detailed and fed back to all communities as the conversation continues.

LEADER/Community Led Local Development will be formulating individual island and parish overviews with colleagues from Economic Development. These overviews will form evidence to the Scottish Government as examples on how future funding streams could be established and in turn form part of future funding applications.

VAO will use the findings to further inform their recent West Mainland/Kirkwall consultation which in turn will be used by the Orkney Partnership (Community Planning). Development and Marine Planning will use the consultation, findings as part of the evidence base for the drafting of the next Local Development Plan. For Community Learning, Development and Employability partners, the evidence gathered will future shape Partner CLD Plans and promote involvement from the wider community including Orkney’s Youth Voice Agenda.

If you have any questions, please email us and we will be happy to help.

  • Summary:

    Calling all Orkney residents – do you want to be involved in shaping your community’s future?

    The LEADER Local Action Group, the council and Voluntary Action Orkney (VAO) want to hear what’s important to you about the place in which you live – whether that be development, the countryside, play areas, sports and leisure, shops and services, activities and connectivity, to name a few.

  • Category:
    • Consultations
    • Learning and Dev. (CLD)
    • Planning and Building
    • Transport
    • Leisure and Culture
    • Housing
    • Finance
    • Education
    • Business and Trade

School Place, Kirkwall, Orkney, KW15 1NY

Telephone: 01856 873535

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Orkney Islands Council: BOREAS DOMUS MARE AMICUS