Individuals and schools from the Isle of Skye and Raasay have received recognition of the important contribution they make to their communities during the Eilean a’ Cheò Civic Awards held on 5 December in Portree

This is the sixth year of the Awards which are organised by the Ward 11 Highland Councillors to recognise people from all age groups and walks of life who have contributed to the success and wellbeing of their local communities.

The Community Award was presented to Mary Mackenzie from Kilmuir. Mary, a stalwart of the Community Council and Village Hall committee for decades, was nominated by Kilmuir Community Council. She has been instrumental in a number of community projects, including the two Kilmuir & Kilmaluag ‘Echoes From the Past’ books, printed under the aegis of Kilmuir History and Heritage Group in 2006 and 2012, the refurbishment of the Kilmuir Village Hall, and countless fundraising events. 

In their nomination the Community Council said: “Mary is always active in helping older people to maintain their independence and provides them with the support they need to stay in their own homes, including providing transport to Portree for shopping. She is a great support and encouragement to everyone that knows her.”

Nicholas Kelly from Broadford received the Young People Award after being nominated by Broadford and Strath Community Council for working tirelessly with the Youth Club in Broadford to provide a safe and fun place for young people in south of the Island. The youth club has teenagers from all over the area and Nicholas helps to motivate them and to achieve their potential. He also runs the local football teams for various age categories, which encourages the children of the area to become more active and spends many voluntary hours organising soccer 7’s tournaments, other football events and ensuring that the football pitch is well maintained. Members of the youth club are now following his example by volunteering to help with other events for younger children within the community.

Raasay Community Council successfully nominated Roger Hutchinson for a Sport Award for his contribution to football since moving to the Island many years ago. Roger has given of his time to coach the children and young people on a regular weekly basis and has been involved in coaching in Raasay Primary school. Some of the boys he has coached are now regulars in teams in the Skye & Lochalsh league and some of the girls are in the high school teams.

In their nomination the Community Council said: “Before moving to Raasay, Roger dedicated a lot of time over many years coaching a very good Sleat team on Skye. His passion for the game is as strong as ever and is deserving of recognition for his selfless work over many years.”

The Arts/Music Award went to the pupils at Dunvegan and Portree Primary schools who were nominated by volunteer Music Tutor Nan Cleghorn. The children in both schools of have been encouraged to read music and play an instrument of their choice. They have entertained on many occasions over the years including at the Home Farm Nursing Home, Budhmor Residential Home, School Concerts, Charitable Organisation CHAS, Dunvegan Show and Gala.

Nan said: “They are so willing and happy to be playing at these many venues and enjoy the experience of being able to provide a service that brings joy and pleasure to their communities.”

Susan Walker from Camuscross received the Enterprise Award after being nominated by by Camuscross and Duisdale Initiative. Susan has been key to the success of the Initiative since it was founded in 2007.

The biggest project to date is An Crùbh community hub, comprising of a shop and post office, café, toilets, meeting room and multi-use hall.  It will open its doors formally at Easter, providing around 7 FTE jobs and ultimately generating funding to support further Community projects. 

Other projects have included a community buy-out of a redundant reservoir with the aim of developing hydro-power, a local grow-to-eat scheme, and discussions on affordable housing. 

In their nomination they say: “From the hours of unglamorous slog over papers, forms and plans, to negotiations with professionals, to tramping round the doors, to setting up and clearing up for events, Susan is a precious asset to this part of Skye.”

Finally, the Environment Award went to Alistair McPherson from Broadford. Alistair has volunteered with the Broadford & Strath Community Company for environmental improvements in the area for the benefit of the community.
Projects include improvements to the path from the hospital road to the college within Broadford and the instatement of the poly tunnels and allotment areas. Alistair  was also the initiator of the flower planters at the entrances to the village and one of the main organisers involved in ensuring that Christmas trees and decorations are erected.
 
He has also been a member of the Broadford & Strath Community Council for many years, giving up his time to attend the meetings of the Community Council and the work they carry-out for the benefit of the wider Community. Since his retirement he has attended many other additional meetings on behalf of the Community Council, including Ward Forums, this helps keep the rest of Community Council informed of issues affecting their Community.
 
Speaking on behalf of the Ward members who had carefully considered all the nominations at their Ward Business Meeting, Chair of the Isle of Skye and Raasay Committee, Councillor Drew Millar congratulated all the winners.

He said: “We had very difficult decisions to make as everyone nominated was worthy of receiving an award. Often such people work quietly behind the scenes without a fuss. There is a lot of hard work and voluntary effort that goes unrecognised in the Ward and this is a way of showing our appreciation and saying thank you and well done.”