Successful funding applications

Training grants have been awarded to farmers to take part in a safety course that is being coordinated by the NFU.  Up to 20 places will be funded at £50 per place.

The Westray Heritage Trust was successful in securing £10,000 per year for the next three years to employ someone to take the Heritage Centre through museum accreditation.

WDT now has a “Supported by the Westray Development Trust” logo, which will be required to be displayed by successful applicants to the turbine fund.  new wdt support logo

Learning Centre – getting online

Janette Mackie from the citizensonline Get IT together project is coming back out to Westray on September 11th and 12th to help anyone who either wants to get online, or do more online.   There are also plans for more sessions later in the year, such as “doing your Christmas shopping online” and using Skype to keep in contact with family outwith Orkney.  Janette will be visiting the Auk club on 12th September as well to show people how they can use the latest technology.

During September there will also be a Learning Centre drop-in (for any help with training enquiries, computer use, getting online, etc) :

Wednesday 2.00 to 3.30 and Thursday 2.00 to 3.30 pm

New computers for the Learning Centre are expected to arrive soon, thanks to Orkney College, and there have been requests for an evening session for general computer learning.

Training Grants policy

A training grants policy has now been agreed by the board, with a total budget of £10,000 – £5000 for individual applications, and £5000 that can be applied for by businesses who have to provide training to meet regulations (both types are up to a maximum of 50% of course fees, and £500 per person per year).  The full policy and criteria can be found here.

In summary, grants will be available for work related courses (subject to available budget) to residents of Westray who are working or available for work, and who aren’t in full time study.  There are slightly different criteria for people wishing to obtain a full drivers licence.  Where other training funding is available (such as Individual Learning Accounts or Flexible Training Opportunities), this should be used first.  Both businesses and individuals can get help from the CDO to fill in the forms required.

Staff training update

The Sustainable Rural Development course is proving very useful to CDO, Corinne, and she has passed another two modules in this course.  The next level of study is going to include in-depth research on any aspect of sustainable development, so its a chance to investigate something of direct benefit to Westray.


Learning Centre

A Westray Outreach Centre was established in Autumn 1998, with a local learning sub group meeting regularly from November 1999 and working towards establishing a dedicated space for the Outreach Centre.  Acute pressure of use on the school and community premises was requiring a constant juggling of resources and it was recognised that the facilities needed to be accessible and available when people wanted to use them.  Some of the other priorities for new premises included:

–       To ensure resources are adequate for projected levels of use

–       To provide a private video enabled interview space

–       To provide a quiet study space for students

–       To lower the threshold of accessibility and establish more regular opening times

–       To encourage an opportunity for users to progress and learn new skills

–       To create an ambient atmosphere and environment for all users.

This was all achieved when the Westray Healthy Living Centre opened in 2006 incorporating a learning centre and videoconference room.

Initially,  the Westray Outreach Centre was recognised as a UHI learning centre, and over the years has involved a partnership of various agencies including Orkney College, Orkney Enterprise (now Highlands & Islands Enterprise), OIC Education Department and Westray Development Trust.

In 2007 Westray Development Trust included the Learning Centre as one of its five key community development projects linked to the turbine project, to be funded by Big Lottery.  The additional funded hours (a further day per week) contributed to a big increase in both the use of the Learning Centre and the number of additional courses delivered locally, which had been the major priority.  The Big Lottery project ended in Mar 2010.