The Black Isle Partnership was created to further the interests of residents and businesses of the Black Isle.
Since April 2020 The Black Isle Partnership has been a Community Anchor Organisation for distributing Scottish Government Covid Funding across the Black Isle. This has led to regular meetings of the Black Isle Partnership Strategic Partnership for which the Minutes of the Meetings are available here.
In April 2022 The Black Isle Partnership was funded to develop a Local Place Plan for the Scottish Government to provide a framework for future development on the Black Isle. The work will be undertaken over the next year. The Local Place Plan will build on existing surveys, and will consult communities on what their priorities are over the next 10 years. The outcome should be a hit-list of priority and workable projects and – critically – how they can be funded.
A specialist contractor will be hired to undertake research and conduct consultations and develop the Plan. Becky Richmond is the part time Project Coordinator overseeing this process and is also working on other projects of the Black Isle Partnership including tourism.
From 2015, hosting The Black Isle Tourism Team was the primary activity of the Black Isle Partnership. The Black Isle Tourism Team ran networking meetings for its members, attended regional and Scotland-wide gatherings, published a series of general and detailed maps and developed a brand image for the Black Isle with its strapline “Savour the Unexpected” By the end of 2019 the tourism team had launched its Slow Tourism strategy with the aim of helping businesses become more resilient (less dependent on seasonal and 'passing' trade) and strengthening ties with communities – and embedding tourism in the remit of the Community Councils. The strategy also included exploration of a BID-style arrangement to make managing tourism through a paid officer more sustainable.
In response to the CoVid pandemic, The Black Isle Partnership has taken the role of a "Community Anchor Organization" for delivering the Scottish Government's Covid-19 response for communities on the Black Isle. BIP became the impartial channel for ensuring government funds were equably distributed across the Black Isle. In so doing, the Black Isle Partnership has brought together through regular Zoom meetings the disparate Community Councils for the good of all the communities.
The partnership does not replace, or compete with the traditional democratic bodies – the community council, the area committees of the Highland Council, or the Highland Council itself. Instead, the Partnership provides a single voice for the whole of the Black Isle – bringing together the views of the local community councils, local people, local employers, and those with an interest in the well-being of the area.
Membership of the partnership is open to anyone living or working in the Black Isle, or with an interest in the well-being of the area. The aim is to provide a democratic forum, consisting of local people, which can represent views on issues of importance to the area to the local authority, Scottish Office and others.
There are four Directors of the Black Isle Partnership. Julian Paren (Treasurer), Gordon Adam, Sinclair Browne and Vanessa Halhead. Julian Paren is the Convenor of Transition Black Isle, Gordon Adam has recently retired as a Highland Councillor for the Black Isle, Sinclair Browne is Chief Executive of the Inverness Harbour Trust, and Vanessa Halhead is Acting Chair of Scottish Rural Action.
The Black Isle Partnership Newsletters 2021
The January 2021 Newsletter is available through the the Black Isle Partnership Facebook page. It may also be viewed here.
The April 2021 Newsletter is available through the the Black Isle Partnership Facebook page. It may also be viewed here.
Background to the Black Isle Partnership. The Partnership owes its origins to a study visit, organised by the North American Exchange. The visit resulted in a report which highlighted how the Black Isle could do more to develop itself in a manner that was sensitive to the environmental, cultural and economic diversity of the area. It highlighted a number of key recommendations, one of which was the formation of a single forum to bring together the people and businesses from the different communities in the area.