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Monday, April 22, 2024

Crofting has a Bright Future in The Western Isles Following Young Crofters Launch Event

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Over 200 people turned out to the launch of Western Isles Young Crofters in Stornoway last week.

The event was held in Steinish Auction Mart with support from Lewis and Harris Sheep Producers Association (LHSPA).

The launch was attended by guests from the Scottish Association of Young Farmers Clubs (SAYFC) and Cammy Wilson, The Sheep Game.

Weather related ferry cancellations got in the way of crofters from Uist making it to Lewis but an online link allowed them to participate in the meeting remotely. 

LHSPA committee member and one of the event organisers, Ally Williamson explained:

“In the last few years we have seen more and more young people attending sales, shows and events.

“There is obviously a growing interest in crofting but there is no dedicated organisation for them to get involved in.

“This event was about exploring demand for setting up such a group and the turnout has certainly shown that demand is there.

“Crofting has a bright future in the Western Isles.”

The event also heard from John McCulloch and Jordan Barclay from SAYFC.

Jordan Barclay said:

“We were delighted to be invited to attend this event and tell young people in the Western Isles about the opportunities that SAYFC membership and affiliation could bring for the new group.

“We have recently had new clubs established in Shetland which has been a great success, we would love to help support something similar being replicated in the Western Isles.”

Well known Ayrshire sheep farmer Cammy Wilson rounded off the evening with a question and answer session.

Cammy Wilson added:

“This is the third time I’ve been to the Western Isles and one of the things I think is really special about the place is the sense of community, that was certainly on display at the launch event.

“There is a great opportunity to deliver something exciting here and I wish the new group all the best.”

With 100 names gathered at the event from young crofters interested in helping set up the new group, the next step will be to hold a follow up meeting to agree the future direction of the project.

With interest from throughout the Western Isles it is hoped that the new group will provide more opportunities for crofters from all the islands to come together more regularly. 

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