The Hebridean Trust was established in 1982 with the aim to support, stimulate and develop the economies of island communities, to restore and maintain buildings of outstanding architectural work, to protect and preserve the natural environment and to inform the general public about the Hebrides, its way of life, its Gaelic culture and its natural heritage.
Since then, about a quarter of a million people have enjoyed a Hebridean experience as we have restored buildings and developed housing, acquired and managed protected areas, provided facilities for disadvantaged young people, created exhibitions and undertaken wildlife and archaeological surveys.
As a charity, the Trust relies entirely on the generosity of its volunteers and the financial support received from a wide range of statutory and private sources.
How the Trust came about
In the early 1980s, Mike Stanfield, who was a householder in the Hebrides, felt the time had come to put something back into the islands. Mike had been holidaying there; taking a great deal of enjoyment out but putting nothing back in. He was very aware of the fragility of the Gaelic history, culture and language, the architecture and the natural history and wanted to do something to educate the general public and protect these assets as well as to stimulate the economies of the islands.
Mike's good friend, Alan Smith, also a householder in the Hebrides and shared his views, had pointed out the village of Hynish on the Isle of Tiree. Many of the houses were unoccupied and the area, which had been the shore station for the Skerryvore Lighthouse, was in complete disrepair. Mike determined to set up a charitable trust, which he named The Hebridean Trust, and to use it as a vehicle to try to restore the area. The Trust was formed in 1982, with Sheriff Principal Robert Taylor, a Commissioner of Northern Lighthouses, and Alan Smith being invited to become founding members of the Trust, a post Alan still holds.
A small Development Office was set up in Oxford, Mike's home town, which has proved to be well placed for contact with the wide range of grant making trusts, specialists and advisers supporting the Trust's work.
Robert Taylor remained a Trustee until his untimely death in 1993; he is sadly missed. Dr John Morton Boyd CBE acted as Mike's personal adviser from the formation of the Trust. John's son, Professor Ian Boyd, became a Trustee in 1993. Ian and his father co-wrote The Hebrides in the Collins New Naturalist series. Ian is Professor of Natural Sciences at St Andrews University and Chief Scientific Adviser at DEFRA. Ian took up the latter post in August of 2012 and was required to stand down as a Trustee whilst in this post. He maintains a close interest in the Trust's activities.
At the suggestion of Professor Ian Boyd, Paul Stanfield was appointed a Trustee in 2011, bringing a wealth of experience from the charity sector and a love of the Hebrides dating back over 25 years.
How the Trust carries out its work
The Trust is a registered charity and is governed by its Memorandum & Articles of Association. The Trustees collectively form the Council of Management. The Trustees set the Trust's policy and the day to day running of the Trust is delegated to the Administrative Office in Oxford and on the Isle of Tiree.