New funding package for Hebridean Connections

Hebridean Connections, a pioneering digital archiving project involving comainn eachdraidh (local historical societies) and other heritage organisations in the Outer Hebrides, has received external funding of £145,000 for a further twelve-month period through to the end of March 2016.

The funding package will support the extension of Hebridean Connections’ activities and website (www.hebrideanconnections.com) to new geographical areas. Key to this is the addition of a training officer post based in the southern part of the Outer Hebrides. With the aid of appropriately trained volunteers, the range of website content will also be expanded to include exciting new features such as videos. In addition, the funding will support training programmes that promote digital inclusion by taking advantage of people’s interest in the history of their local areas to introduce them to computers and the internet, and to develop their existing skills to a higher level.

The funders involved are the Scottish Government’s People and Communities Fund (PCF) (£80,000), the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) (£40,000), Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (CnES) (£20,000), and the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) (£5,000).

Chairman of Hebridean Connections, Donnie Morrison, said: “We are delighted to receive this substantial additional support which will help the long-term sustainability of the Hebridean Connections project and enable us to increase our activities in the southern part of the Outer Hebrides as well as widening our digital training programme. I am most grateful to all the funding bodies for this vote of confidence.”

Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Communities and Pensioners’ Rights, Alex Neil, said: “Every community in Scotland has different challenges and aspirations and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to tackling poverty. That’s why our People and Communities Fund is giving communities the power and confidence to shape their own futures and address inequalities more effectively.

“The Fund gives community groups like Hebridean Connections the chance to identify problems in their area and the funding to provide solutions.”

Chris Yiu, Director of Digital Participation at SCVO, said: “ We are delighted to be supporting Hebridean Connections through the Digital Challenge Fund in their innovative approach to getting people online and learning basic digital skills, especially those in some of the most remote and rural areas.”