I am from the Isle of Lewis originally, but have worked in Harris since 1981. We acquired a croft in Luskentyre in 1989 where we have lived since then.
Since 2010 I think the most significant developments are those around Nisabost, in particular affordable housing, allowing the population to increase significantly over the decade. Especially the increase in children growing up in the area compared to pre-buyout when the number of pre-school children had dwindled to one.
Within the next five years, I would like to see more young families being able to move or return to the area
I was born and brought up on the Isle of Skye. Following my marriage in 2001 my wife Rhoda and I decided to settle on her family croft in Scaristavore. I have been company secretary and director of the Trust since it was formed.
I think the development of Talla na Mara incorporating offices, restaurant and community space with the adjoining housing was a hugely significant development for West Harris. It showed that a small population with dogged determination and hard work can build a sustainable community.
Looking ahead the Trust needs to engage better with the younger members and encourage them to become more active in running their community
I have been living in West Harris most of my life apart from undertaking a university degree in Glasgow and teaching five years in Inverness. I returned to the island in 1994 to take up the post of Head teacher at Shelibost Primary School until it sadly closed in June 2013 due to the lack of pupils in the catchment area.
I believe that the Trust's most significant achievement is its role in making more affordable housing available within the area and this has resulted in families moving into the community, reversing the trend of population decline which so many island communities are experiencing. Other recent developments which I value are the opportunities the West Harris Trust provides through Growing West Harris, especially for children. Pupils in the local school where I work have over the years benefitted from archaeological and art exhibitions, as well as clean ups and potato planting initiatives, in partnership with the Trust.
As a director I feel that looking to the future it is important to continue to increase resident numbers within the community and to promote our island heritage and culture further. We also need to explore ways of enhancing facilities for businesses and visitors, while at the same time enabling all to enjoy the West Harris environment in a sustainable and managed way.
My name is Finlay MacLennan, a non-elected director serving on the board as the nominated representative of the Horgabost and Seilebost Grazings. I succeeded my father, the original tenant of the croft, into the tenancy some forty odd years ago and have been resident in Seilebost since.
Since the Trust's development, I consider the delivery of twelve affordable homes, in collaboration with partners, as its finest achievement, along with building a community centre and associated business units, thereby providing local employment also.
Looking forward I would wish to see assistance given to budding young crofters to build and help them rejuvenate the industry, as livestock production and cropping have drastically declined in our lifetime. West Harris could produce a lot more than at present. Accommodation is an issue, not only for our own residents but also for migrant workers and therefore more affordable housing may be the answer.
Norman Ian Mackay
Born in Edinburgh and fortunate to have been brought up in Luskentyre and educated in Seilebost primary school. I recently moved home to Luskentyre after an absence of 15 years in September 2011 with my wife Leona who is from the Isle of Skye. Our son Jack was born in April 2012 and we are determined that he will enjoy the priviliges and benefits of a Hebridean upbringing. I currently work from home for an Aberdeen based company managing their E-commerce presence and believe this type of home working is a major opportunity for rural locations like ours to attract young families without having to rely on major external investment.
I am a director at the West Harris Trust. I have lived here all my life and so have the two generations before me. I also run a business in West Harris and my passion is crofting livestock.
Talla na Mara and the ten houses have been the most significant developments as they have contributed to increasing the population to our target.
I would like to see more housing to help increase the population. Maintaining a healthy number on board of directors and working with a developer to provide a hotel in South Harris should also be a priority.
I was brought up on the West side of Harris and now live in the original family home. I am a director on the West Harris Trust.
I believe the most significant development of the West Harris Trust has been the developing of Talla Na Mara and the associated housing.
Looking to the next five years, and further into the future, we must develop more affordable housing and satisfy the need for industrial units. New income streams will need to be brought on
I was born and brought up on the west side of Harris and my family go back generations in the area. I am particularly interested in the natural and ancient history of the area.
For me, the building of the community centre and the social housing has been the biggest achievement of the Trust so far.
Further into the future, I would like to see the Trust have a real say in the buying and selling process of all crofts and plots. Also to join other trusts in the formation of Harris to become a national park.
My grandfather was one of the Scarista land raiders and acquired through his efforts the croft, which I now inhabit. I am the chairman of the Luskentyre Grazing Committe and a director of the West Harris Trust. I am also part of a housing subgroup.
I believe that the creation of Talla na Mara which gives full and part time employment is one of the most significant achievements of the Trust.
Looking to the future, I would like to try to get more community involvement with a view to getting the old guard relieved. I would also like to see the Trust go for more rented housing rather than buying.