Papa Westray Island Development Plan

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Papay Development Trust

Papay Development Trust was established in 1999 with a remit from the community to prepare a development plan and drive forward improvements for the island of Papa Westray which would help reverse population decline. In 2013, the Trust became a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO), regulated by the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator. The Trust works in partnership with others to achieve development appropriate to the changing needs of our community and is supported in this by Highlands & islands Enterprise and Orkney Islands Council. The Papay Development Plan was originally launched in 2000 as part of Initiative at the Edge and revised in 2011, 2015 and 2021.

PDT logo HIE logo OIC logo Greener Scotland logo Climate Challenge Fund logo

The development trust is led by a volunteer board from the island community and currently employs a part-time community development officer and a full-time equivalent gardener to help support project delivery. At present the Trust undertakes a wide range of activity, from providing rentable community housing and a community boat scheme for additional ferry sailings to Westray to running the Kelp Store Heritage, Art & Craft Centre, boat trips for visitors to the Holm of Papay, and a community garden project.

Affordable housing is key to local population sustainability and the Trust provides rented community housing at Morven House and Bewan to begin to address local housing need. Morven House came into community ownership in 2021 and Bewan was acquired in 2019, refurbished 2020-2022 with financial support from Scottish Land Fund and the Scottish Government Rural & Islands Housing Fund. Rose Cottage is also owned by the Trust and provides housing for the seasonal RSPB Warden based in Papay. More affordable housing is an ongoing priority of the island community.

Following on from the successful LEADER project to establish a community market garden and Ranger service, the 'Papay Local Food Project' commenced in April 2020, in partnership with the community shop, school and other local organisations, with a focus on developing further sustainable community food provision and healthier & low carbon lifestyles. This project will run until March 2023 and is being financed by the Scottish Government Investing in Communities Fund. New infrastructure for food growing, including additional greenhouse space and windbreak, was installed in 2020/21 with support from the Scottish Government Climate Challenge Fund.

The Trustís Kelp Store Heritage & Art Centre provides a cultural centre for visitors and the island community. Acquisition of the neighbouring listed building in December 2020, with support from Highlands & Islands Enterprise, is the first step in developing the former Boat Store as a centre for island residencies which will support new cultural, creative, environmental and enterprise opportunities in Papa Westray.


Veg, Visitors & Vibrancy for Papa Westray

April 2017 to October 2021

This successful project was developed to provide a springboard to establish a market garden and a seasonal ranger service which would drive tourism on the island whilst demonstrating the island as a high-quality place to live and work. It aimed to generate significant economic activity in the context of the island, provide an exemplar of local food production, reduce food miles, promote health, reduce waste, bring the community together and help secure the ongoing improvements in the prospects for this remote island.

The project aimed to generate economic activity which had long-term viability and benefited all residents and visitors; develop the profile of the island as a place to visit, live and work, whilst offering an outstanding visitor experience; provide Ranger led tours of the island; provide fresh local food and encourage healthy eating; create employment and volunteering opportunities in the market garden.

Total approved Project costs £,133,604.20

LEADER grant: £,65,740.65 / Match funded by Papay Development Trust, Papa Westray Community Council, Papay Community Association and Papa Westray Coffee Morning: £,67,863.55.

Link to LEADER film about the project

Leader project

Orkney LAG

Papa Westray Island Development Plan 2011-2021

A PDF version of the complete plan can be downloaded here

Papa Westray Island Development Plan 2000

To read the original Development Plan, prepared in 2000, click here

Contacting the Papay Development Trust

Michael McGhee
Papay Development Trust
St Tredwell's House
Papa Westray
Orkney KW17 2BU

Papay Development Trust is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation no. SC029585.

Company Secretary, South Rendall, Papa Westray, Orkney, KW17 2BU

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