Meet the Candidates for Stornoway Trust election

Stornoway Trust election results will be declared next Thursday (March 26th)
Stornoway Trust election results will be declared next Thursday (March 26th)

The results of an election to appoint five trustees to the Stornoway Trust will be declared on March 26th.

Nine candidates are standing:

Matthew Bruce; Hamish Budge; Donald Crichton; Calum Maclean; Colin Maclean; Murdo Maclennan; Morris Macleod; Alexander John Murray; and Murdo Murray.

In line with recent Trustee elections the Trust has engaged the services of Electoral Reform Services Ltd (ERS) who will shortly issue postal ballot papers to all persons appearing on the Electoral Roll and living within the Stornoway Trust area who will be 18 years of age or over on the day of the election.

A ballot box will also be available within the Estate Office from 8am to 8pm on the day of the Election to receive voting papers from electors who may be unable to return the postal votes by the ERS receipt deadline of noon 26th March 2015.

The ballot box votes will be counted in the Woodlands Centre on Thursday evening after which the votes cast will be added to the result of the postal ballot and an announcement on the outcome issued as soon as possible thereafter.

Morris Macleod

Over the past number of years it has become increasingly obvious that the once venerated Stornoway Trust was being run with scant regard to the OSCR (Scottish Charity Regulator) advice on openness and transparency.

Recently I successfully argued that ferry operator, Calmac, must comply with the Freedom of Information Act, and provide me with safety information regarding the operation of their vessels. If I can insist on compliance with openness and transparency legislation from Calmac, a Scottish public authority, then I can also achieve it with Stornoway Trust.

The Scottish Information Commissioners decision 257/2014 on the above issue can be found at the

following internet link. http://www.itspublicknowledge.info/uploadedFiles/Decision257-2014.pdf

I believe that I have the skills to improve the communication between the Trust and the people it serves as it moves forward. I would like to see the Trust improve its standing in the field of public opinion and once again be truly representative of the people of the estate and the town. Given that important developments are on the horizon, with the reopening of the Castle and the creation of the museum in the Castle Grounds, plus major windfarm developments, I think it is time that the Trust enjoyed a new lease of life with fresh trustees to invigorate it.

Donald Crichton

It has been an honour to serve you as a trustee for the last six years. During my first term on the Trust I have always sought to put the interests of the residents of the estate first and 
foremost.

I am seeking re-election to complete the work that has begun in reforming the Trust 
into a modern enterprising organisation.

With a £5.5 million investment programme planned for the Castle Grounds the Trust needs to be ready to deliver on its commitments.

Following a review of the organisation the Trust will be in a better position to do this. This will assist to invest in the community, increase revenue, and utilise assets in a way we haven’t been able to do before.

I will work to ensure that the benefits from renewable projects are used to create jobs and initiatives in our community including the 20% option negotiated in the LWP project. I have supported the community renewable projects in Point and Tolsta and will support those with similar aspirations in the future.

If re-elected I will continue to serve with dedication and to speak out for the crofting community and the interests of the whole estate.

Alexander John Murray

As a retired fisherman/crofter, I believe I have the time, and the experience,to represent the ratepayers within the Stornoway Trust Estate area,as a Trustee , at the forthcoming election .

I have been involved in crofting , like many trust stakeholders, from a young age.

Currently I’m chairman of the Upper Bayble grazing committee, a committee member of Point Community Council, a Trustee of Advocacy Western Isles, chairman of Stornoway & District Branch of Enable Scotland ( a charitable organisation that is volunteer led , and represents people with disabilities and learning needs), and also proposed and assisted set up the Bayble Boatowners Marina , as well as seeing the project through to completion.

While I support the developments taking place within the Castle Grounds, I believe the Trustees have to engage with stakeholders in outlying areas of the estate, as there could also be development opportunities outwith the Castle Grounds area. I also believe that more use should be made of the natural resources within the estate boundaries for the benefit of the communities in the estate area , which would have a knock on effect on the wider community.

I believe there should also be a degree of openness , transparency , and accountability to the people in the Trust’s decision making process.

If elected as a Trustee , I will serve the whole of the Trust area to the best of my ability ,and in the best interests of the stakeholders, and the community.

Murdo Murray

It has been an immense privilege to have been elected as a trustee for 12 years and a great honour to have served as Chairman for the past three years.

Transforming the Trust’s capacity to deliver for the future has been my recent focus as Chairman. I have lead an organisational development review of the Trust, culminating in the appointment of a Transition Director who will bring forward a new structure to enhance the Trust’s capabilities to develop and manage its assets for the future.

A £5.5million project for restoration works within the Castle Grounds has been submitted to the Heritage Lottery Fund. This project will transform the Grounds, providing a future management and maintenance structure which includes exciting new job opportunities.

I am a strong supporter of community renewable energy schemes and of gaining maximum community benefit from commercial schemes. The 20% ownership option which the Trust has secured in the Stornoway windfarm will deliver tangible benefits for the community for future decades.

As an active crofter, I am a voice for the crofting community within the Trust.

I am seeking re-election at this time offering experience, vision, and a commitment to ensure that the Trust delivers for the future to the benefit of the whole estate.

Matthew Bruce

I submitted my name to stand for the Trust because I feel that with my experience and interests I can help the Trust move forward. I have been involved in a range of projects over the last 25 years on Lewis, both through my work and in my spare time, and have learned from them all.

Organisations I have been involved in include Cuimhneachain nan Gaisgeach which built the cairns at Aignish, Gress and Balallan for the crofting heros, Point Sport and Recreation Association which built Ionad Stoodie at Seaview Knock, Point Community Council at its start, Lewis and Harris Horticultural Producers and the Rudhach magazine as well as an interest in politics.

Lewis has a proud past and should have a great future. The Hebrides leads the way in community land ownership, but owning the land is only part of the issue – it is what you can do to manage the land which is the important bit. If elected I would hope to leave the Trust in a better state than it is in now - my involvement will only be temporary while the Trust will last a long time!

Murdo Maclennan

I have been resident in the bounds of the Trust area for 29 years and am an active crofter in the villages of Aignis and Swordale. In seeking the support of the electorate I do so on the basis that I can bring strengths gained over the years in other organisations to the deliberations of the Trust. This is a defining period in the history of the Trust with key decisions required in relation to its financial future.

In regard to the duties expected on a Trustee I am fully committed to good Governance and have experience in this area through my service and Chairmanship of the Audit and Finance committees of the Crofters Commission and Bord na Gaidhlig. I am fully committed to transparency in decision making and that the reasons for decisions should be clear to the residents of the area served by the Trust. There is also a requirement for a greater degree of communication and engagement between the Trust and the public at large. I therefore seek your vote based on the above.

Other interests – Director of Lewis Crofters, Trustee of Bethesda; Commissioner for Western Isles – Crofting Commission

Hamish Budge

I am employed as an Education Support Officer with Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and married with two children who both attend The Nicolson Institute.

The future of our community and young people is important to me. As well as my involvement in education, I actively volunteer in local athletics as a coach and help the local residents association. Other organisations I participate in are the school board, Swim Western Isles and the Hebridean Science Festival of which I was a founding member.

I have put my name forward as a nominee for The Stornoway Trust in order for it to work for the benefit of the whole community. I strongly believe that this legacy is a great asset. I think there should be a careful balance between maximising employment and protecting and enhancing the Trust’s potential for future generations.

My intention is to provide openness and transparency to the work of the Trust and provide a conduit so the views of the people it represents can be taken into account. I can work in a friendly manner with people with whom I may not necessarily hold the same view but will always have the integrity and the courage to stand up for what will be best for the Trust and the community it represents.

Calum Maclean

I am seeking re-election to the Stornoway Trust for the next term for the following reasons.

Having been a Trustee of The Stornoway Trust for the past 12 years I have seen the need for it to evolve into an organisation requiring to cope with 21st century aspirations and developments such as dealing with multinational companies, funding bodies, local interests, culture and traditions. At this moment we are in the process of doing this within the Stornoway Trust. It is critical that Trustees have the requisite skills and attributes to move it forward into this next chapter.

In my capacity as Headteacher of Bayble, Knock, Sandwick and Sgoil an Rubha I developed the leadership, organisational, negotiation and interpersonal skills that continues to be useful in the Trustee role. Brought up in Laxdale and presently an active crofter in Upper Coll where I am Grazings Clerk I believe I possess a clear understanding of the challenges and opportunities impacting on the industry.

This is a critical development stage for the Trust as Renewable Energy schemes progress. (I am currently the Chair of the Renewables subgroup). These must be harnessed to benefit all the residents of the area. The Trust is also in the process of developing a partnership project with CnES in the Castle Grounds. Experienced personnel are required to progress these ideas.

I believe that the Stornoway Trust as a Community Landlord should be conscious of the cultural and religious heritage of the community it serves. This has served our community well over the years. I have been privileged to represent the people of the Stornoway Trust over these past 12 years and if elected I will continue to strive to preserve that heritage to the best of my abilities.

Colin Maclean

have submitted my nomination to contribute to the future of the Stornoway Trust as I believe that, working with other trustees and the community, we can make a difference to a decaying Castle Grounds, get a better deal from Lewis Windpower and deliver more transparency, fairness and success.

For too long, the Stornoway Trust has been run like a clique rather than run by trustees who believe that their duty is to be custodians. I’ve been born and brought up on the Stornoway Trust estate. I walk the Castle Grounds virtually every day and, as a local businessman, I work to make a difference to crofting buildings, fencing and the environment.

In short, I am not a yesman.

I want to work with people to make a difference. The Castle Grounds have been neglected and crofting communities are being ignored - the time has come for change.