THE first designated Senior Officer for the Islands for North Ayrshire Council has been appointed.

Sarah Baird will work in partnership with island communities and businesses on Cumbrae and Arran to support recovery and renewal.

The appointment is part of the council’s ambitious Islands Recovery and Renewal pilot project to unlock the full potential of Cumbrae.

A key part of the plan will be to deliver an inclusive and green economic recovery while ensuring the challenges and opportunities faced by islanders are reflected in national and local policy.

Sarah brings a host of experience into the new role, having previously led the Ayrshire LEADER rural development for over 10 years and South Ayrshire Council’s approach to Community Asset Transfer.

Sarah said: “I am delighted to be appointed as the first dedicated Islands Officer for Arran and Cumbrae and will ensure the unique challenges and opportunities our islanders face are reflected in local and national policy.

“I am very much look forward to working with the island communities, businesses and wider stakeholders to maximise the opportunities that the Islands Recovery and Renewal pilot presents in order to realise our islands’ ambitions.”

Councillor Alex Gallagher, cabinet member for post Covid-renewal, has praised the appointment and says the project will help to fulfil the island's potential.

He added: “We have ambitious plans for our island communities of Arran and Cumbrae. A major part of my role is to work with the people on our islands, to listen to their needs and to ensure they are listened to locally and nationally.

“I am absolutely delighted to welcome Sarah. She is going to be a huge asset to myself, the council and, of course, our islands which have unique strengths and challenges.

“The Islands Recovery and Renewal pilot project will help realise the potential of both of our islands by working with communities and wider partners to develop ambitious 10-year Island plans to support an inclusive and green economic recovery through Community Wealth Building.”

The £250,000 pilot will be co-funded by the Scottish Government, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and North Ayrshire Council, which will contribute £130,000 towards the pilot.

Sarah, pictured, will commence her role later this month.