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The Urras has been busy reviewing the household surveys responses over recent weeks. It received 151 completed surveys, 40 of which were submitted via the SurveyMonkey website. That was an increase on the 2013 survey which generated 135 responses. Surveys were returned from every township in the Estate with Fivepenny Borve the highest at 18 responses, followed by 15 from South Dell, then Lionel with 11.

The age profile of those households completing the survey was different from the previous occasion, with a greater number of younger households participating, perhaps directly linked to the increased online response. This has enabled more analysis of results across the age groups, which offers further assistance in developing the new Strategic Plan.

In the community section, the best things about the area were peace and quiet, followed by the lack of crime and then safety. Households that spoke more Gaelic or were equally fluent in Gaelic/English slipped from 56% in 2013 to 47%.

In terms of changes in communication trends since 2013, there is slightly more use of the Urras website and significantly more use of social media, marginally more use of visits and phonecalls/e-mail, slightly more use of Fios, less interest in newsletters and also an apparent ambivalence towards attending public meetings.

The three priority areas in the survey questionnaire received a high level of response which justified their inclusion as separate sections early in the document. Within the Elderly Care section, services in the home was the most popular response followed by a new elderly care facility and, thirdly, home services. For tourism, the top priority was a campervan/camp site, followed by coastal walks and historical/heritage activities. Regarding crofting and land use, the top response was allotment schemes/polytunnels, followed by practical guidance/tuition and, thirdly, administrative support. In addition, 57% of the survey respondents answered that they had a croft.

Another major part of the survey questionnaire was the section on other community initiatives and projects that should be supported. The dominant choice was a Ness-Tolsta Walk, followed by home energy improvements and then a visitor information centre. There were slight variations across age categories, with younger people also favouring childcare facilities/services and a mountain biking track.

There was also a good response from local businesses and social enterprises with 21 parties completing that section. Top priorities for these respondents were capital investment and marketing and promotion.

In the newly launched Strategic Plan, the Urras highlights the need for partnerships and collective action across the community in order to move forward with the key proposals. In this context, it was encouraging to see 61% of survey respondents expressing an interest in volunteering to assist in this process.

Some follow-up interviews with survey respondents who provided contact details are underway and the first batch of these has been completed. The Urras plans to make contact with more respondents to arrange further interviews in the near future and is grateful for the time given by households to assist this process.

Further information can be obtained in the Urras’ Strategic Plan which is available from the website or by contacting or visiting the UOG Business Centre at South Galson (Tel. 01851 850393 or email

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