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Islands Recovery and Renewal

Plans for Arran and Cumbrae

Ten year local Island Plans, developed with and for the island communities, that will drive the development of community, economic and environmental wellbeing of Arran and Cumbrae were launched in March 2022.

The Island Plans form the foundations on which to address long standing issues and challenges and help to maximise the potential of Arran and Cumbrae.

Island communities have been at the heart of shaping the plans with engagement undertaken with:

  • island residents
  • local community and voluntary groups
  • young islanders
  • businesses across sectors and size
  • locality partnerships
  • Elected Members for the islands
  • partner organisations with an interest in the islands

Delivering the plans

The main aims of the plans are to:

  • keep the Islanders at their heart 
  • be delivered across island communities, businesses, third and public sector partners
  • be inclusive and participatory
  • be feasible and realistic
  • be flexible and responsive
  • be action focused
  • support the delivery of the National Islands Plan
  • support the principles of Community Wealth Building
  • support the transition towards Net Zero

North Ayrshire Council will continue to drive the 3 year ‘Islands Recovery and Renewal’ pilot in partnership with the Scottish Government and Highland and Islands Enterprise to support the delivery of the plans including actions contained with each of the 2022/23 Annual Action Plans.

Following the launch of the plans, Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands Ms Mairi Gougeon said:

'I am delighted to see the roll-out of the development plans specifically designed for Arran and Cumbrae.

Building on the work of the National Islands Plan, this investment is part of the Scottish Government’s continued commitment to help drive the green economic recovery as well as environmental wellbeing benefiting local communities, especially those disproportionately affected given the pandemic.

These plans were formalised following the success of the 3 year, ‘Islands Recovery and Renewal’ Pilot in collaboration with the North Ayrshire Council and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, and I would like to thank everyone involved.'

Our Arran and Cumbrae plans are available:

For enquiries get in touch at islands@north-ayrshire.gov.uk.


What is the North Ayrshire Islands Recovery & Renewal Pilot?

With the introduction of the Islands (Scotland) Act 2018 (the ‘Act’) and the National Islands Plan (NIP), which sets out how Scottish Government, local authorities and other public agencies will work to improve outcomes for island communities, we identified an opportunity to test new ways of working across island communities and businesses, local government, Scottish Government (SG), community planning partners and Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) to deliver the ambitious objectives outlined in the Act and NIP, as well as to provide national and international learning.

We are participating in an ambitious 3 year Islands Recovery and Renewal Pilot in partnership with the SG and HIE to support an inclusive and green economic recovery and renewal of North Ayrshire’s island communities in line with their unique needs. The pilot project is aligned to the delivery of the NIP and Community Wealth Building (CWB) principles.

A key area of focus within the pilot is working in partnership with island communities, businesses, and wider stakeholders to develop and facilitate the delivery of the 10 year island plans to maximise the potential of North Ayrshire’s islands. It is essential that the island plans reflect strategic synergies and the support of joint working approaches based on existing partnerships, to ensure complementarity and avoid overlap or duplication of other local and regional activities, plans and strategies.

Pilot partners

The pilot partners are:

  • North Ayrshire Council (NAC)
  • Scottish Government (SG)
  • Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE)

Pilot scope and aims

The National Islands Plan (NIP) provides a framework and 13 strategic objectives for action in order to meaningfully improve outcomes for island communities. This provides an opportunity to test new ways of working across local government, SG, HIE, community planning partners island communities and businesses to deliver the objectives, and share learning.

As part of this pilot, the post of Senior Officer (Islands) was created within North Ayrshire Council to contribute to the ongoing development and delivery of islands’ policy, working across the public sector with island communities, businesses and with a range of external stakeholders to tackle long-standing place-based issues relating to island communities This allows for local input to the NIP delivery, progress of which the Senior Officer (Islands) monitors.

The pilot is delivering the following aims:

  • develop, support and monitor of Local Islands Plans for both Arran and Cumbrae aligned to the Strategic Objectives of the NIP and the principles of CWB
  • develop island specific outcomes, socio-economic baselines and measurements aligned to the SG measurement of the strategic outcomes of the National Islands Plan including as part of the National Performance Framework
  • support the recovery and renewal of the islands from the social and economic impact of Covid-19 and maximise support available for communities, including targeting partner resources to address specific recovery priorities particularly in business resilience, supporting the identification and preparation of bids to access external funding working alongside council services including business development and regeneration
  • contribute to closer and more coordinated working between the island communities, community planning partners, national and local government and agencies to ensure stronger place-based partnership working and a whole systems approach to improve island wellbeing, including in areas such as housing and transportation and the implementation of the NIP
  • ensure the understanding and representation of the unique needs of islands’ communities in local and national policy development and encourage strategic island planning at all levels
  • develop North Ayrshire island representation within the Scottish Rural Network working with other partners such as Scottish Rural Action and the Scottish Islands Federation, with a focus on young people and young islanders’ networks
  • collaborate with national and international partners as appropriate to ensure a model of best practice and develop a model to inform NIP delivery on other islands that are not Unitary

Islands data

To support the development of each Island Plan, the council commissioned and published research from the Fraser of Allander Institute on the disproportionate economic impact of Covid-19 on the Arran economy in September 2020.

The council has undertaken an economic baseline exercise for Cumbrae economy (PDF, 624kb)

Both reports provide an outline socio-economic baseline for Arran and Cumbrae that can be updated and monitored moving forward to inform an evidence-based approach to policy development.

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