Scottish Crofting Federation
Charity registered in Scotland SC031919
- From 1st December 2015 to 1st November 2016
- Award: £12,600 via Call 3
The Croft IT project aims to reach out to crofters and smallholders of all ages in crofting areas throughout the Highland and Islands to bring them up to speed in the use of IT for everyday life. Historically, uptake and willingness to use on line services has been poor within the crofting sector. The advent of the 2015 Scottish Rural Development Programme has necessitated an increased demand for IT and digital coaching to help crofters and smallholders access agriculture support schemes and other services.
The crofting area comprise of Shetland, Orkney, Isle of Lewis, Isle of Harris, North Usit, Benbecula, South Uist, Eriskay, Isle of Barra, the small Isles, Isle of Mull, Isle of Bute, Isle of Skye, Isle of Arran, Caithness, Sutherland, Ross and Cromarty, Invernesshire, Argyll, Nairnshire and Morayshire. The majority of these areas are characterised by remoteness, rurality and isolation of population. Therefore the use of digital technology is essential for enhancing communication channels, knowledge transfer and bringing the world to their doorstep.
Training events will be promoted by Local Course Directors and held in local Village Hall, Community Centres etc. The Scottish Crofting Federation is a charitable company which aims to:
• Develop, promote and support crofting livelihoods as a unique social system unified through small-scale food production;
• Represent and safeguard the interests of crofters, their communities, their cultural heritage, their moral and legislative rights;
• Promote the agricultural, social and environmental benefits of crofting as intrinsic to the development and maintenance of local rural economies;
• Raise awareness of crofting through information provision and education;
• Promote diversity and economic viability within crofting;
• Encourage, through training, crofting enterprise, skills and expertise;
• Is led by its membership in developing position on policy matters and works always using participative methodology;
• Seek the development of crofting as an important and valuable way of life.
SCF Training Team will be responsible for running the project. With support from the fund we aim to purchase 15 iPad Air devices with tough cases to support outdoor and classroom based learning.
The iPad devices will be used to support digital inclusion amongst the crofting community and enable trainees to fully engage with data entry and capture for crofting. In addition the devices will also be used as teaching aids to foster apps relevant to crofting for example: the Hutton institute soil profiling app, cattle tag apps and digital mapping apps using GPS for croft mapping exercises. In terms of innovation, the project aims to promote the use of IT and digital inclusion in crofting communities, some of which have never engaged with IT in this way before. We hope to build skills and capacity to inspire people and improve digital uptake.
We had in-house staff training and local course director training with the James Hutton Institute demonstrating the use of mobile apps to measure land capability and soil carbon profile. Using apps and social channels to bring groups together and share crofting knowledge with Tuminds media.
Volunteer board members went paperless with new digital meeting format and signed the Digital Participation Charter.
Rolling out use of digital tech in crofting during training sessions to 100 crofters each year in the access to crofting toolkit - integrating digital technology in everyday life and breaking down barriers.
Creation of digital resources for use by crofters: “The Communal Fank” is a mobile space to share ideas and knowledge.
Creation of YouTube channel using video to increase opportunity for visual learners.
Feedback suggests digital take-up in volunteer board has reached a wide age range from 21 to 75.
Using a mobile platform makes digital participation more accessible. Use of apps in farming and crofting can be taught on handheld devices and replicated on personal mobile devices for those who don’t use PCs or laptops.
Digital technology can create communities of practice through the use of social channels to share knowledge on issues such as animal husbandry, crop production and horticulture.