The Dùthchas Project

Mìneachadh air a’ phròiseact Dùthchas

The Dùthchas Project was a demonstration project funded by the EU Life Environment Programme from 1998-2001. Focused on the Scottish Highlands and Islands, the Project worked with 3 communities and 22 public agencies to explore ways of sustaining fragile rural areas – the natural heritage, the people and the economy. North Sutherland, North Uist and Skye’s Trotternish peninsula were chosen as the 3 Pilot Areas.

Dùthchas involved each community, in a participative process, to create a Strategic Plan for the sustainable development of their area. The plan identified their vision, goals and objectives for the area and the practical actions needed to achieve these over a five to tenyear period.

In the course of developing the plan, the communities focused on such issues as sustainable land and marine use, local produce development, interpretation and access, green tourism, renewable energy, transport and services and young people.

The plans led to many new projects being started on the ground during the three years, with many others scheduled for starting under phase 1 of the implementation: 2001-2004. Each area was assisted to set up the organisational framework to enable them to carry on with the implementation work and to raise funding to support local development workers.

The Project also developed many links with other European countries, and local people were enabled to travel to experience at first hand how similar communities in other parts of Europe have found successful ways of tackling their development needs.