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Sarah will be the voice for our islands

Our new Islands Officer is determined that she will put Arran and Cumbrae firmly on the map as she settles into her new role.

Sarah Baird is first Senior Officer for the Islands and will oversee and work with Arran and Cumbrae to coordinate the Islands Recovery and Renewal three-year pilot project developed in partnership with the Scottish Government and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

The former South Ayrshire Council employee, who coordinated the Ayrshire LEADER Rural Development Programme for over a decade and led the implementation of the Community Asset Transfer Process in South Ayrshire, will coordinate an inclusive and green economic recovery and renewal throughout the development and delivery of new and visionary 10 year Island Plans for Arran and Cumbrae.

An exciting part of the role will be testing new, ambitious and innovative ways of working to support the delivery of the National Islands Plan at a local level and Sarah is looking forward to providing support to Councillor Alex Gallagher, the Islands Cabinet Portfolio Lead to ensure policy development is ‘island proofed’.

Sarah said: “It has been a really busy first few weeks getting to know new colleagues and partners. I’ve had a lot of virtual meetings and met with a small number of community and business representatives from both islands, so far. The response to this new, dedicated post has been hugely positive and everyone is looking forward to working collaboratively to maximise support for the islands, address post-COVID recovery, social, economical and environmental priorities and tackle the key challenges faced on the islands to create a more resilient local economy and a prosperous future for Arran and Cumbrae residents.”

Sarah added: “We have the most beautiful and unique islands and I want to promote them at every opportunity and ensure we secure as much resource and support available.  It’s going to be a fast-paced, challenging and exciting time over the next three years and I have absolute confidence, that from all the people I have met since starting in post, we will collectively achieve improved outcomes for our island communities.”

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