SCIAF on Scottish isles to highlight looming WEE BOX deadline

Our Director Alistair Dutton was in the stunning Outer Hebrides to meet local fishing communities, share stories of Cambodian families dependent on fishing in this year’s WEE BOX appeal, and urge supporters to get their donations in by the 8th May to make sure they’re doubled by the UK government.

Alistair spent six days visiting Barra, Vatersay, North and South Uist, Benbecula and Eriskay, speaking to fishermen as they landed their catch and visiting fish processing firms and wholesalers.

He also met children in local schools, supporters in parishes, priests and many other local people, to share stories of how we help people in Cambodia who have struggled to feed their families because of poverty and illegal fishing.

Alistair said it was great to meet so many people and thanked people for their warmth and the way they welcomed us into each of their communities. Whoever we were visiting, whether it was a school, a parish, fishermen on their boats or in the fish processors, they just threw their doors open.

They were really pleased to show us what they were doing and to explore the connections with people overseas. There was also a great message of hope from the local fishing community, summed up by Barratlantic general manager Christina MacNeil who said: “When we were talking about Cambodia, it feels like that’s where we were 50-60 years ago.”

Alistair wanted to let the islanders know that they’re a very important part of SCIAF. He was struck by many similarities such as how they manage their fish stocks, preserve their catch and make sure they get a decent price at market.

During the trip he visited Barratlantic fish, shellfish and processing firm and hauliers on Barra. He attended a Deanery meeting of local priests, and met children and staff at Castlebay Community School. He also met the crab and lobster fishermen as they brought in their catch at North Bay, and joined around 100 islanders as they took part in Rosary on the Coast for Faith, Life and Peace – a mass prayer event which took place across 350 locations throughout the British Isles.

While on the Uists, Alistair met fishermen and processors from Kallin Shellfish and was invited onto the White Heather fishing boat to see how the crew land their precious catch of crab and lobster. He also visited the Statue of Our Lady of the Isles – a 30ft high depiction in granite of the Madonna and Child on South Uist.

Alistair also visited the community on Benbecula and spoke to schoolchildren at Sgoil Bhaile a Mhanaich, a Gaelic medium school, about the WEE BOX appeal.We’d like to say a huge thanks to everyone on Barra, Vatersay, North and South Uist, Benbecula and Eriskay for such a warm welcome and for their hospitality. We look forward to returning to your beautiful islands soon.

Click here before 8th May to make sure your WEE BOX appeal donation is doubled by the UK government.