A Sense of Community

The Scottish islanders trying to save their vanishing population

Scotland’s Outer Hebrides look idyllic. But the population is plummeting. A Sense of Community meets those fighting to save their island way of life.

Scotland’s Outer Hebrides are known for their spectacular cliffs, pristine white sand beaches, wildlife and rich history.

Residents live in small towns and villages scattered across 15 islands. But today, these communities are under threat.

Waves of emigration and an ageing society have halved the population of a century ago, causing school closures and workforce shortages. Official estimates predict that the islands will have the sharpest population decline in the United Kingdom within 10 years, while government initiatives to stop the exodus have floundered.

Now, locals are uniting to ensure that the next generation will stay – by creating business opportunities, reclaiming land, and breathing new life into old traditions.

This episode of A Sense of Community, a four-part series about the challenges unique neighbourhoods around the world face, follows Hebridean residents determined to preserve their singular way of life.