Fuel Poverty Project 2007-2010

Westray Development Trust employed a part time fuel poverty project worker as one of the Big Lottery funded projects between 2007 and 2010.   This project manager attended training in Microgeneration and Home Renewables, household efficiency and building standards relating to energy efficiency of homes, and qualified to undertake the full NHER survey of households from start to finish.

A project goal was to undertake an audit of all households in Westray to establish the level of Fuel Poverty and initiate  a programme of education and works to bring households in Fuel Poverty up to the recognised standards.  135 full NHER surveys were done, and the Project Manager worked with the Energy Saving Scotland advice centre to follow up those households deemed most at risk.  Households in Fuel Poverty were given advice on issues, options and potential sources of funding, and 2 public informational evenings were held.

In a scheme to tackle the worst houses, 9 householders have received Ground Source Heat Pumps, draught proofing and other efficiency measures.    Other households were assisted to apply for the Energy Assistance Package from the government, or received free loft insulation through the Home Insulation Scheme.  Westray Development Trust jointly received an Energy Savers Award with Energy Action Westray.


Investigation into the Development of a Waste Recycling site

One of the goals of the 2005 Development Plan was to enhance recycling and waste disposal facilities.   The Trust purchased a 3 Ha site at Gallowhill,  and created an earth bunded area of hardstanding, with a smaller bunded concrete pad (to contain liquid spills).   A project manager was appointed part time to investigate the ideas, including trials of biofuels processing.   It was very difficult to show that any recycling project could be viable and that made it impossible to get the funding it required.  With the council beginning kerbside recycling on Westray the need for a recycling facility was much reduced, and the decision made to wind up the project.  The small equipment obtained for the project was passed to other not-for-profit groups.  The site remains an asset of the trust.

Westray Skiff Project

Launch of the Westray SkiffUntil recently the Westray Skiff were the sea taxi used to transport people and small cargo between the isles. These boats were built maintained and used locally and exported to other islands. As local transport systems improved, reliance on the Skiff decreased, as did the skills to build, maintain and sail them.  With funding from The Prince’s Trust and Millenium Commission, the team built a new skiff, which helped them to increase awareness of their heritage, revived an old Skiff and facilitated interaction between the young and old. All the experiences of the young participants were recorded and put online during the build. The Skiff was then donated to the local Westray Sailing Club.  It is is now raced at the local Westray Regatta every July, which is an important date in the local calendar.

The Skiff’s dedication ceremony is pictured right.  (image)

A PDF of the Team’s progress can be downloaded HERE.

Kalisgarth Care Centre

Kalisgarth Care CentreThe Kalisgarth Care Centre is a wonderful testament to the vision and determination of a small community.  The building opened in 2005 and has had a huge impact on the community that goes far further than just providing care for older adults.  With so much community involvement in decisions around the development of the centre, it really feels like a community facility.  The jobs created have allowed more young couples to stay on Westray.  The Friends of Kalisgarth group are also very active and ensure that Kalisgarth have the extra comforts and facilities that would not normally be provided in a care centre, as well as ensuring that there are regular social and fundraising events that involve the wider community.Stained glass window at Kalisgarth

The stained glass window in the shape of sails on the end wall of the day room was an artist-in-residence project (under the wing of the Westray & Papa Westray Craft Association) and was designed by local school children.  As predicted, Kalisgarth  quickly became “too small”  and in 2013 a further two supported accommodation units were built on the site.  These are separate from the main building, but tenants are supported in the same way as other residents by existing staff.

Kalisgarth build

Hofn Youth Centre

Prior to the Westray Conference in 1998, the lack of youth facilities was well recognised.  A typical Saturday night for teenagers in Westray meant meeting up at the public toilets.  A Youth and Children subgroup was determined to meet the needs of Westray’s young folk, and consulted with and actively involved them in planning.  The strong feeling was that a drop-in centre was needed, that had rules, but as little adult involvement as possible, with young people to be involved in the establishment of the centre.  The use of a private building was donated as both an interim solution and a trial to see how it would work.   This was an important first step and led community backing for the Westray Development Trust to build a centre, now known as the Hofn,  for the primary use of young people.  This was funded primarily by the Social Inclusion Fund, with other smaller funds used for furniture and equipment, transport and operating costs.   The building opened for use in September 2000 with a disco and official opening marking the occasion.  The building is owned by the Westray Development Trust.

The Hofn is well recognised as a community asset, with considerable value to our young folk and their families in assisting the transition to independence.   Its primary users are those in the S1-S4 age group, with new users becoming involved each year.  With the move of trust offices to the neighbouring unit and the upgrade of the building and facilities in 2013 it is expected that the Hofn will also continue to be used as a community meeting venue.

The Westray Conference – 2nd to 4th October 1998

From 2nd to 4th October 1998, Westray played host to a major conference in which the future of the island was discussed.  The background was the falling population of the islands, decreasing numbers of jobs available to school leavers, and the falling roll of the school.  The conference looked at new ways of harnessing local talents, developing new businesses, and providing a place where people wanted to stay and work.  A large team was involved from the planning and organising right through to the actual event itself.  Nearly 100 delegates from outside Westray gave of their time, experience and expertise, contributing to workshops and as keynote speakers and there was a huge response from the local community.  The opening session on the Friday evening attracted over 350 people.  During the day, the school held a series of events including a full School Conference with 45 pupils attending.  Workshops throughout the weekend included: Residential Home/Westray Care Centre; Transport; Fisheries and Aquaculture; Tourism; Arts, Crafts and Knitwear; Agriculture; Education and Training; Information Technology; Industry and Business start-up; Youth and Children; Voluntary sector; Papa Westray Housing.

When the dust settled on this memorable weekend, there remained a feeling of optimism on the island, as the hard work began.  There was a strong sense of resolve within the community to work together and see many of the ideas generated at the conference come to fruition.   The Westray Development Trust was formed, and the first local development plan agreed and published.