Arts & cultural activities play a key role in making our communities inclusive, diverse, and exciting places to live. They are crucial to attracting potential employees to Orkney and for providing new opportunities for locals. We strongly believe that whilst they are currently publicly championed, they are currently under supported by Orkney Islands Council. Arts venues like the Pier Arts Centre and local festivals such as the Orkney Folk Festival, St Magnus International Festival and Orkney International Science Festival, that bring in thousands of visitors to the county each year, should be encouraged to thrive and grow. Museums and archive and library services should also be supported and promoted including the newly modernised Scapa Flow Visitors Centre at Lyness.

We will:

  • Provide leadership to the arts and culture sector which lacks an overall strategy and direction. Our arts and culture sector is a significant economic and social asset which requires adequate funding and support to grow and develop potential.

  • Review grants currently offered in this sector and increase financial support each year in line with inflation. This will support local festivals of all sizes grow such as the Folk Festival, St Magnus International Festival, or Orkney Rocks, and cultural assets like the Pier Arts Centre.

  • Free music tuition in schools should be maintained and more support given to theatres.

  • Direct funding in the World Heritage Site Gateway Centre towards the long-term sustainable management, preservation, and study of archaeology in Orkney.

  • Develop more cultural and educational links through the Arctic Council and other forums and its member states.


Leisure time will continue to be important in the post Covid era and so it is essential that the sustainability of public leisure and cultural services is maintained and expanded. These community facilities are at the heart of villages and towns across Orkney and have a critical role to play in supporting physical, mental and social health and wellbeing. Active Life activities, walking and cycling should continue to be encouraged not just in our towns and villages but in the open countryside. Green space in our communities should be connected to health initiatives, and social prescribing should be encouraged by GPs. Priority will also be given to the development of more play parks like those developed recently at Arcadia and Papdale. Sports development in the lead up to the 2025 Island Games and as a legacy afterwards is essential.

We will:

  • Support the creation of an arterial cycle and walking path from Stromness to St. Margaret’s Hope via Kirkwall funded through active travel resources won by Green MSPs.

  • Priority will be given to the development of play parks and green spaces through Local Place Plans.

  • Support health and social prescribing by GPs to link active lifestyles and green space provision.

  • Partnerships between charities and Orkney Islands Council will be strengthened and digital development across culture and leisure improved.

  • Increase support for the Pickaquoy Centre Trust in its Active Life programme and development with local clubs and athletes, and in particular support the delivery of the Island Games in 2025.