Business and Tourism Development Project
The Glendale area comprises a number of small townships with a resident population of around 400 people. Scottish Executive statistics dating from 2010 show that 35% of the population have retired, 10% are children or young people and 55% are of working age. Surveys conducted by the Glendale Trust have shown that the number of respondents who declare themselves as ‘retired’ has increased slightly with a corresponding reduction in those of ‘working age’. This is broadly in line with the observed population profile. The local medical facilities, public transport links to the rest of the island and other essential services are situated in Dunvegan some 10 miles distant from the larger number of the resident population.
The current public transport provision could best be described as poor or non-existent as it consists of a single school bus service to Portree High School leaving the area at 0730 on week days and returning at 1710. This service only operates during the school term. For 12 weeks of the year there is no public transport provision including the peak tourist period of July and August. The surveys and public consultations conducted by the Glendale Trust repeatedly refer back to the lack of public transport provision. There is a general presumption that people living in remote rural areas all have access to private transport. This is patently untrue and many elderly and low income families are forced to rely on neighbourly goodwill, or expensive taxi journeys, to access medical appointments, conduct the weekly shop or socialise with their peers. The feelings of isolation that arise from the lack of social mobility are contributing factors to many depressive illnesses and can lead to the elderly and infirm requiring premature residential care. Contact has been made with the Practice Manager at the Dunvegan Medical Practice and the Age Concern Scotland charity in relation to these matters and letters of support for this scheme have been requested.
The lack of any public transport links and employment are also seen as a major factor in retaining or attracting the young people who will allow the community to flourish. Virtually all of the young people move away from the area to seek employment when they leave school citing the lack of employment and isolation as being major contributory factors in the decision.
The bulk of the locally generated income is derived from the Tourist Sector. This supports a significant number of local businesses who would all benefit from better public transport links, indeed a major local employer struggled to fill all the available job vacancies in 2013 due to the lack of a public transport connection for their employees.
Based on this the Glendale Trust is seeking to develop a community transport project which will service the needs of the area. The Glendale Trust commissioned a report to be carried out to determine if it is possible to service the needs / provide a service and the full study can be found here – Glendale Trust Transport Report
The Glendale Trust is currently seeking volunteers to take this important project forward please get in touch if you can lend some time.