The Future of Skye Community Response
After an extended break the Skye Community Response team have been regrouping to discuss the future of the Skye Community Response initiative. What was collectively achieved on Skye, Raasay and beyond, throughout the pandemic was incredible and an inspiration to many communities across the Highlands. We now need your input on our next steps.
In March 2020 the Skye Community Response online crowdfunding campaign was set up with an initial request for £30,000 “to ensure that everyone living on Skye and Raasay has someone to turn to for help during the ongoing covid-19 crisis”. The crowdfunding campaign went on to receive an overwhelming response and £98,417, including Gift Aid, was raised by the public until the campaign was closed. Including grant funding £220,000 was raised in total. The funds were allocated quickly to meet urgent requests from hospitals, care homes, schools, community groups, businesses, and individuals on Skye, Raasay and beyond. It was with this financial support that an army of volunteers were able to carry out the work that they did making scrubs, delivering blood samples, manning helplines and much more, ultimately helping to contain the virus.
By March 2022 the pandemic was easing and requests for the support that the initiative had initially been established to provide had stopped. The committee felt that it would not be appropriate to issue any more funding without a review of SCR’s aims. As a result of the Crowdfunder being so successful and Skye Community Response unexpectedly receiving significant grant funding to support its work, there was still £35,000 remaining in the Skye Community Response account at this time. No expenditure has been incurred since March 2022.
To date, Portree and Braes Community Trust (PBCT) have been administering the funds on behalf of the Skye Community Response initiative, however, PBCT have been advised that the funds should be transferred, before the end of May 2023, to a more appropriate body – one which has the remit of supporting the wider Skye and Raasay area.
On Tuesday the 16th of May 2023 a virtual public meeting was held by the Skye Community Response Committee to decide the future of the initiative and how the remaining funds should be used. There was a unanimous decision from those attending to use remaining funding to establish a Skye Community Response resilience fund. This will be a fund which communities across Skye and Raasay can access at short notice to provide or enhance emergency support during another health emergency or in the event of severe weather, flooding or power outage, for example. There was also support for making any remaining equipment, such as camp beds and tables and chairs, available through Skye Community Response in these scenarios and for donating some equipment to suitable local charities. Such a fund does not already exist, and the Skye Community Response team think this will be a fitting legacy for the initiative which was originally established as a covid-19 response service.
Thank you to Councillor Calum Munro for chairing this meeting, to Jo-Anne Ford at SLCVO for advising on governance, etc., and to everyone who contributed to the decision-making progress.
How can we access this fund?
An initial management committee has now been formed to finalise a constitution. Once this has been finalised representation will be sought from across Skye and Raasay to join the committee. Those on the committee will decide the criteria for issuing funds, agree the processes for accessing funding and make links with the relevant emergency services and agencies. This will take some time to establish, and more information will be made available publicly and through Skye and Lochalsh Council for Voluntary Organisations when arrangements are in place.
If the meantime if there is anyone interested in being involved in this initiative, or if you would like further information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.