Highland village launches appeal for new residents

Edderton in East Sutherland wants to boost its dwindling population by urging families to relocate to the village.

Residents of a Highland village with a dwindling population are taking its future into their own hands by launching an appeal to try to find new people to move there.

Edderton in East Sutherland has a population of around 380, and residents have launched a search for new families and individuals to help breathe life into the village again.

Set on the edge of the Dornoch Firth, the village has been populated since the time of the Picts.

In the 1970s, Edderton had a village shop, pub and post office and residents hope local amenities will be in place there in the future.

But the falling population of the village is prompting residents to issue a rallying call, urging people to move there to help Edderton survive.

Emma Macdonnell has just moved back after a few years away studying to become a nurse.

“I was born here and my mum and dad still live at the top half of the village. I moved away for uni and brought a husband back to live here – I missed it too much,” she said.

“We have got a local school – I was the first nursery pupil there – and it would be amazing to get lots of young people here to keep the school going. 

“When you are walking past everyone is always smiling and talking to you here and you don’t always get that when you move away. 

“I think we definitely need some more young people, get some kids in here, fill the school and just keep the community alive really.”

Musician Ruairidh Gollan recently made a film highlighting Edderton’s charms and says it’s a great place for people to live. 

He feels that it’s vital that young people are able to afford homes and be given opportunities to live in places like these if villages like Edderton are to endure for new generations.

The 22-year-old said: “It’s in a beautiful spot. If we are going to keep going the way we are, the Highlands is going to become a barren landscape, with empty houses and empty jobs, and just like a bit like the Highland Clearances. 

“It’s going to be another stage of that I suppose if we keep going the way we are going with house prices going through the roof.”

The Communities Housing Trust and the local community council are now launching a survey to help find ideal residents.

Up to seven affordable homes could be created on a plot of land which has been donated by a local company.

The trust is a registered charity and social enterprise that focuses on building sustainable rural communities across central and Northern Scotland.

CEO Ronnie MacRae said: “The key to projects in the likes of Edderton is creating a range of options – it’s about attracting different groupings, especially around economic activity and keeping the schools and other essential services open.

“We need to create a range of options including rent, low-cost home ownership, self-build, and that’s what’s being proposed on the next phase of housing for Edderton.”

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