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First UK Islands Forum to be held in Orkney will give islands a ‘stronger voice’, says Gove

Michael Gove MP.
Michael Gove MP.

A new Islands Forum will meet in Orkney this September in a bid to level up opportunities for island communities and work with the UK Government on “shared challenges”.

Representatives from island communities in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and devolved governments have today been invited to join the first meeting to be held on the island.

The meeting will be chaired by secretary of state for levelling up Michael Gove MP.

The UK Government has sent out invitations to council leaders and chief executives of island communities. Ministers from the Scottish and Welsh governments and the Northern Ireland Executive are also invited.

Mr Gove said: “Island communities contribute a huge amount to the UK and often face common challenges.

“Our new Islands Forum will bring communities together and give our islands a stronger voice.

Isle of Gigha. Supplied by Alwin Leene/Shutterstock.

“Whether it is the requirement for better transport connectivity or opportunities for economic development, I want to hear directly from island communities across the UK what they need to unlock their full potential.

He continued: “The UK Government’s goal is to unite and level up our whole United Kingdom, from Shetland to the Scillies. This new forum will make sure that our islands are placed right at the heart of our levelling up mission.”

Several projects in island communities are set to benefit from cash injections through levelling up funds.

This includes:

  • £173,400 to Argyll and Bute Council for investment into the West Coast UAV Innovation Logistics and training hub, which helps explore using drones to transport medical supplies to islands.
  • The Western Isles was awarded more than £166,000 to fund projects for the Port of Ness Harbour and Horshader Community Asset Development.

Who is invited?

Invitations have been sent to representatives from the following islands:

Isle of Wight Council

Council of the Isles of Scilly

Highland Council

Skye, Rum, Raasay, Eigg, Muck, Canna, Sanday

North Ayrshire Council

Arran

Great Cumbrae

Argyll and Bute Council

Bute, Islay, Mull, Coll; Colonsay; Danna (uninhabited island near Tayvallich); Easdale; Eilean da Mheinn (an uninhabited island near Crinan); Erraid (near Iona); Gigha; Gometra (near Ulva); Inchtavannach (in Loch Lomond); Innis Chonain (near Lochawe village); Iona; Jura; Kerrera; Lismore; Luing; Oronsay; Seil; Shuna (near Luing); Tiree and Ulva (off the coast of Mull)

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar Western Isles Council

Orkney Islands Council

Shetland Islands Council

Isle of Anglesey County Council

Rathlin Development and Community Association

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