ISLANDERS say ferry costs and social isolation are the main factors in making the cost-of-living crisis worse for those living on Cumbrae.

A mini enquiry, held to shine a light on the cost of living off the mainland, found that transport issues and getting support for families were also among major challenges people are facing.

The enquiry was hosted by North Ayrshire Council and community partners at Garrison House on Sunday, with a good turnout on the day.

People working or living on the island were invited, with discussions focusing on what support is on offer, what more could be done and what locals and groups can do to assist the community.

Councillor Alan Hill, cabinet member for communities and islands, attended along with council officers and says the event generated some important topics for discussion.

He said: “We spoke about social services, childcare support, social isolation and transport issues.

“The feedback from people who came along on the day was very constructive, and all the opinions expressed will now be assessed to see how we can help improve life for people living on the island.”

One of the most raised matters was a lack of support for people with no family and availability of respite care.

Residents also raised the affordability of ferry travel and specifically children having to pay for ferries after 6pm, even if attending after-school activities.

Other points that provoked discussion included the cost of getting supplies onto the island, a lack of sports activities and after-school opportunities for children and a lack of recycling/waste disposal facilities.

On the flip side, examples of positive work already being done by groups to support the island’s communities were raised.

Cumbrae Foodbank, Churches Together, the Boys’ Brigade, Girl Guides, Millport Support Group, the Forum Hub and the Resilience Group were all praised.

Council leader Marie Burns added: “The series of mini enquiries has looked at different aspects of the cost of living, including what the main issues are for people living on Cumbrae.

“It has been really valuable to hear from people across all of our communities and see them getting involved in honest conversations about where we are now and how things can improve.

“We will take on board what was said at the Garrison House as we move forward and look at how we can help make life better for people.”