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Calling All Orcadians and Ex Orcadians To Fill In A Survey

24th October 2008

Major Island Population change survey goes live...

People of all ages in Orkney are being encouraged to go online - to take part in a major survey of population changes in the islands.

The project, the first of its kind in Orkney, will play a key role in shaping services to strengthen communities and combat depopulation.

Former residents are also asked to take part, with innovative methods being used to ensure as many people as possible get involved in the research effort.

So as well as being available on websites hosted by Orkney Islands Council and, there are also links to the e-survey on popular social networking sites like Bebo and Facebook.

"No matter what age you are, we're encouraging every past and present Orkney resident to take part," said Ruth Kirkpatrick, Highlands and Islands Enterprise's head of businesses of growth in Orkney.

"The agencies behind the project are working together to boost the social and economic prosperity of communities across the islands.

"This survey will provide crucial information, enabling us to shape services that ensure Orkney continues to be an attractive and vibrant place to live and work."

The research is funded by HIE, Orkney Islands Council, Orkney Housing Association and DASAT Orkney (the Orkney Drugs, Alcohol and Smoking Action Team).

It will be carried out by consultants Hall Aitken, who have conducted similar e-surveys in Shetland and the Western Isles.

Both attracted more than 1,500 responses, with around a quarter coming from
people who have moved from the islands to destinations as far afield as South America and Australia.

"The large number of contributions reflects the e-survey's ease of access and the innovative approaches used in distributing it," said consultant Kieran Kearney.

"This includes posting the weblink on social networking sites and asking contributors to forward the e-survey details to family and friends.

"In the Outer Hebrides, the results have been instrumental in shaping policies to sustain the population, with community planning partners describing the report as 'the most important document ever to come before us'."

The new research will look at why people move to Orkney, and why others move away.

The consultants will also investigate potential trends, such as a move away from smaller communities to larger centres of population like Kirkwall, and the reason why more young women seem to be leaving Orkney than young men.

Mrs Kirkpatrick added: "This e-survey will inform policies and services designed to reduce depopulation, strengthen our communities and attract people to live and work in Orkney.

"That's why it's so important that we hear the views of as many current and past residents as possible."

To take part in the e-survey, look out for the links at or

If people prefer to complete a written version, they should call Laura Murphy at Hall Aitken on freephone 08000 43 62 50 with their contact details.

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