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A development manager has been appointed to the overall community landowner organisation for the Western Isles.  

Community Land Outer Hebrides (CLOH) has been built upon the success of community landownership in the area.

Finlay Maclennan from Bishopbriggs, Glasgow has been recruited to CLOH to explore opportunities for collaborative working in the area where more than 75 percent of the population live on community-owned land. Finlay moved to the Isle of Lewis in 2013 and now lives in Marybank. Both his parents have Lewis and Harris connections.

The post is being funded by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) for the first three years. Kathleen Stewart, HIE’s head of enterprise support in the Innse Gall team, said:“HIE is pleased to support Community Land Outer Hebrides with funding towards a three-year development manager position. With much of the population in the Outer Hebrides living on land that is in community ownership, the establishment of this umbrella organisation is an exciting development and reflective of both the maturity and collaboration within the sector.”

CLOH was established as a formal consortium of community land trusts in January after sharing best practice and knowledge for long-term sustainability in a series of network meetings since 2016. It includes long-running social enterprises, newly-formed land trusts and groups at the pre-purchase stage.

Lisa Maclean, chairperson of CLOH, said: “The formation of CLOH has the potential to drive forward transformational change for our islands. There are great benefits to increased collaborative working and exploring the unique opportunities that are available to the community land sector. We welcomed Finlay to the team this week and he has already hit the ground running, having attended a network meeting of all land trusts in the Outer Hebrides. We are very pleased to have him on board."

Finlay said:“I am delighted to take on this role and I am really looking forward to developing and exploring projects and working together with the team and with partners to grow the strength and resilience of the land sector.”