Speaking your language
Aware of the sensitivities involved in merging schools, Western Isles Council set us an objective of creating enthusiasm for the project within every community affected, generating real interest in the process.
Due to their remoteness, island communities are very close knit, managing local sensitivities throughout was vital if the project was to be successful. Our local, Gaelic-speaking site team undertook unprecedented levels of community engagement, integrating fully into the community in a way that no mainland staff could have done.
As well as engaging with the school students and staff and providing a range of work experience and apprenticeship opportunities, the site team also achieved a Silver Award from the Considerate Constructors Scheme. This is the seventh new school to open in the Western Isles in the last six years and was nominated for the Community Development Project of the Year at the Scottish Property Awards.
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, the local authority, invested £6.6m into the school with additional funding of £2.2m coming from the Scottish Government.
Over 73% of the labour force lives within 20 miles of the site, securing vital jobs for the local community.
Over 73% of the labour force lives within 20 miles of the site, securing vital jobs for the local island community.
The project team also supported a local contractor to diversify his business into providing skip hire and waste management services to the project and beyond. The newly established business now employs one full-time staff member, providing further vital job opportunities for local people.
The school opened in August 2016.