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Award-winning arts organisation, Invisible Flock, has been appointed by Creative Islands, the Arts Council funded project for the Isles of Scilly led by the Islands’ Partnership, to take up a week-long residency on Monday 7th October to develop proposals for a permanent installation for the islands.

Focusing on energy, the environment and new technologies, Invisible Flock’s Technical Director Ben Eaton (second from left in the photo) will use his time on Scilly to familiarise himself with the islands and engage with residents, visitors and the islands’ local artists through community workshops, lectures, and activities at the Five Islands School. In particular, Ben will seek to explore Scilly’s amazing and unique natural environment and wildlife, the Smart Energy solutions and new technologies already emerging across the islands.

“Invisible Flock creates highly sensory installations and environments, with our practice rooted in questioning the world in which we live and looking to nature as something that is infinitely bigger and worth preserving,” says Ben. “The focus of the project on Scilly gives us a fantastic opportunity to open up dialogue with those living, working and visiting the islands to help us explore alternative ways of approaching creative solutions and long-lasting change. It is something we are very passionate about.”

“We are delighted that Invisible Flock has been selected to take an artist’s residency on the islands,” says Nick Bond, Islands’ Partnership Executive Director. “Their catalogue of creative work and installations is incredibly powerful and their themes and practices resonate brilliantly with what our islands stand for: protecting and keeping special the spectacular environment in which we live, yet recognising that we have to adapt to change and challenge ourselves to do this innovatively, positively and with forethought. We look forward to seeing their proposals for an installation on Scilly following Ben’s visit here next week.”

This third artist’s residency appointment follows last autumn’s residencies with renowned artists, Luke Jerram and Gordon Young, each of whom are now developing detailed proposals for artworks for the islands in collaboration with local community groups and artists. It is anticipated that Invisible Flock will deliver its proposals in December for a permanent installation to the Creative Islands.

The shortlisted finalists in the Cornwall Tourism Awards 2019/2020 have been announced and once again, the Isles of Scilly will be well represented at this year’s ceremony taking place at Truro Cathedral in Cornwall on Thursday 7th November.

This year, three Scilly businesses will be honoured with either Gold, Silver or Bronze Awards. They are:

  • Karma St. Martin’s – in the Small Hotel of the Year category
  • Longstone Lodge & Café in the New Tourism Business of the Year
  • Tanglewood Table (at Tanglewood Kitchen) in the Tourism Innovation Award.

Karma Hotel has been a finalist in the Cornwall Tourism Awards for four consecutive years in the Dog Friendly category and last year was also Highly Commended in the Small Hotel category. Longstone Café also received a Highly Commended last year, whilst this is Tanglewood’s first foray into the Cornwall Tourism Awards, despite many Taste of the West accolades.

The Islands’ Partnership remains instrumental in encouraging its member businesses to take part in the Awards, and in assisting those businesses who came forward to write their bids. All businesses who submit applications benefit from receiving the judges’ reports and recommendations following the extensive three-stage judging process.

“We’re delighted for all the businesses on Scilly who have been named finalists at this year’s Cornwall Tourism Awards,” says Nick Bond, Executive Director, Islands’ Partnership. “The judging gets ever tougher as record numbers enter the awards and the changing criteria means that businesses have to be ever more conscious of the communities and environment in which they operate, as well as delivering excellent visitor experiences, so it is very pleasing that Scilly remains competitive with the rest of Cornwall. We wish all our finalists the very best of luck on the 7th November.”

Successful businesses in the Cornwall Awards will be fast-tracked into the South West Tourism Excellence Awards in February 2020 and possibly invited to represent Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly in the 2020 National VisitEngland Awards.

The Islands’ Partnership is delighted to announce the appointment of Nick Bond as its new Executive Director.   The appointment comes at a time when the Islands’ Partnership can also announce a new three-year strategic partnership with Penzance Helicopters, alongside Isles of Scilly Steamship Group, Tresco Estate and the Duchy of Cornwall, all of whom have renewed their commitment to the Islands’ Partnership for a further three years.

Nick, who takes up his role on 9th September, was previously Head of Tourism at Visit Norwich for six and a half years (2011-2018) before taking time out to care for his father. Prior to that, he was Business Tourism Manager at Welcome to Yorkshire.

During his time at Visit Norwich, Nick was instrumental in leading the destination management strategy including the company’s extensive marketing programme and membership / private sector engagement, and in securing £1 million in investment for the destination. During his tenure, those employed either directly or indirectly by the tourism sector doubled to 12,000, whilst the tourism economy itself grew to more than £700 million.

Andrew Sells, Chairman of the Islands’ Partnership commented: “We are delighted that Nick will be joining the Islands’ Partnership in September.  He has a great deal of experience and expert knowledge of the travel industry and will, I am sure, be an excellent asset to the Islands’ Partnership and to the Isles of Scilly as whole.  The board looks forward to welcoming Nick and his family to the islands.

“Nick’s appointment comes at an exciting time for the Islands’ Partnership,” Andrew continues. “I am delighted to announce that Penzance Helicopters has agreed to become one of our new strategic partners, alongside Tresco Estate, the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company and the Duchy of Cornwall.  The Islands’ Partnership has secured funding from all partners for the next three years.”  As part of the renewals process, Tresco Estate and Isles of Scilly Steamship Group announced, respectively, that Nick Halliday, Chief Executive Officer, and Sharon Sandercock, ISSG Marketing & Communications Manager, will be their representatives on the Islands’ Partnership board of directors.

“I am thrilled to be joining the Islands’ Partnership and my family are really excited to be moving to the Isles of Scilly,” says Nick (Bond).  “I love the outdoors and photography, as well as enjoying good food with friends.  I also have a keen interest in geography and history so, for me, the Isles of Scilly are a dream destination!  I am looking forward to getting to know the islands really well, and those who live and work here, and to help the Islands’ Partnership continue its great work in growing Scilly’s visitor economy.”

Nick will be joined by wife Amanda (also a tourism professional), and two daughters - Alexa 9 and Stella 3.
The Isles of Scilly’s latest official Visitor Survey (2018) has revealed a growing trend for short breaks to the islands, particularly in the shoulder months and by first-time visitors, whilst overall, 2018 saw an increase in first-time visitors, up 3% on the previous year. The results also highlighted that there continues to be a strong interest in visiting outside of the main season, with 68% that would consider visiting the islands between November and March.

The survey also found that, for the third year running, two thirds of visitors to the islands were aged 45+, including in 2018, a higher proportion of those in the 65+ bracket – a reflection of the ageing national population and increased holiday taking amongst the ‘empty nester’ and retired segments.

The Annual Visitor Survey has been conducted by the Islands’ Partnership for the last five years, enabling vital data to be gathered and providing invaluable visitor insight. These in turn, help the IP to shape the islands’ tourism plans by responding to visitor feedback and, ultimately, help to grow the visitor economy. Last year’s survey - the most comprehensive yet - attracted 2,310 responses.

Other findings highlight visitors’ growing desire to be able to book online. 50% of respondents would have preferred to do so had the option been available. This compares with the 28% of respondents who actually did book online. 72% of respondents suggested that online availability was very important, whilst 63% said a good website was also important. The survey also found that 65% of respondents use social media and, of those, 85% were regular users of Facebook. For the first time this year, respondents were more in tune with Instagram (25%) than they were with Twitter (23%).

In terms of how visitors found the information they were looking for, the website was by far the most popular source - used by 64% of staying visitors and an impressive 76% of first time visitors when planning and booking their visit to the Islands. In terms of what information sources respondents found most useful, the website was again the most popular, while a record proportion of visitors (21%) rated the Visit Isles of Scilly Guide (brochure) as the most useful.

Once again, the survey saw no significant change in the reasons that motivate visitors to come to Scilly. The islands’ natural beauty, the general atmosphere and sense of welcome all scored highest again in visitor satisfaction ratings, whilst the features and activities on the islands which visitors considered of highest importance to them were walking, rest & relaxation, island-hopping, the beaches, local food & drink and wildlife.

This appreciation of the islands’ outstanding natural environment was further evidenced by 61% of respondents who indicated that they would be willing to support a local Isles of Scilly environment fund which could help with measures to reduce the impact of visitors on the islands’ natural environment.

When asked what type of events would encourage them to visit Scilly, nature and wildlife events were most popular (59%), closely followed by food and drink festivals (58%) and walking festivals (46%) – all reinforcing the recommendations within Scilly’s Destination Management Plan for these attributes and experiences to play through more strongly in the destination brand. The lack of evening entertainment, grocery provision and the lack of choice and value of the local food and drink offer once again were both named as areas of improvement however.

The Tourist Information Centre (TIC) continues to be a highly valued asset on the islands, scoring exceptionally well in all aspects: 90% rated its quality of service excellent/good, and 91% rated it excellent/good for the usefulness of the information they received.

“The 2018 survey confirms the growing trend that we are seeing across the UK for shorter breaks and a desire for these shorter breaks later and earlier in the season. It is encouraging to note, that with September being a prominent month to visit the islands, and with twice as many visitors in the last quarter of the year as the first, that the Islands’ Partnership is leading the way with plans to help the islands extend the season as a whole – a key element of the Destination Management Plan,” says Islands’ Partnership Executive Director, David Jackson. “We are also encouraged by the early successes of our new online booking functionality on – supporting the strong desire amongst visitors to be able to view availability and to book their accommodation online. The overall performance of our new website is very strong, and the online functionality is proving invaluable in reaching out to new markets and attracting even more new visitors to the islands.”

The comprehensive Visitor Survey 2018 is available to view in members’ area - log into Members' Home and search in Under Surveys). Or feel free to call into the IP office to browse a copy.

The 2018 Visitor Survey was conducted by the Islands’ Partnership in association with The South West Research Company.
The Islands’ Partnership wishes to announce that its Executive Director, David Jackson will be leaving the organisation in July after four and a half years in the role.

David leaves the islands to take up a new opportunity in Cheltenham, leading the new Destination and Place Marketing Organisation, Marketing Cheltenham.

During his tenure, David has led the IP to become a respected organisation that has grown in stature and influence, including the development of Scilly’s Destination Management Plan, which continues to provide the route map for securing a sustainable future for the islands’ tourism industry.

Andrew Sells, Chairman of the Islands’ Partnership commented: “It is with huge regret that the IP will be losing David – he has been instrumental in so many good things the IP has delivered in recent years and in building the organisation to where it is today. I will personally be sorry to see him go and would like to put on record my thanks for all his hard work and dedication. I wish him the very best of luck in his new role.”

With the continued commitment from its major partners the Steamship Company, Tresco Estate and the Duchy of Cornwall secured, the Board of the Islands’ Partnership will begin to put succession plans into place when it meets next week in order to ensure maximum continuity. Further details will be announced in due course.
This May 10th - 22nd, the Isles of Scilly will come alive like never before in a 13-day celebration of music, theatre, spoken word, visual arts and island life, including pop up events and intrigues to delight and inspire.

The Creative Scilly festival, organised by Islands’ Partnership’s Creative Islands team with support from Arts Council England, will feature an eclectic mix of events, workshops, courses, demonstrations, talks and performances in the most unique of island settings, welcoming a host of imaginative and artistic talent from artists and creatives on the islands themselves, and across the 28 miles of water in Cornwall and beyond.

Scilly is home to a thriving community of talented artists, creative writers and inventive artisans, and has inspired artists including Kurt Jackson, Luke Jerram, Gordon Young and Anthony Garratt, as well as writers such as the former Children’s Laureate Michael Morpurgo and crime novelist, Kate Rhodes who have both set several of their books on the islands.

Indeed, Kate will be joining the festival to share her new work which is based on Scilly including the Hell Bay crime series whilst Luke and Gordon will also share details during the festival of their respective plans - for a proposed moon sculpture to mark the opening of the new Dark Skies Observatory on St. Martin’s and a public installation on St. Mary’s.

Further highlights of the 13-day festival include performances of charming music and the spoken word by the celebrated folk quartet The Story Republic, who will be popping up all over the islands (so keep an eye out); Stamp and Go, who will deliver a radio play telling the scandalous story of the Bishop and the Diva set on Rosevear when the Bishop Rock lighthouse was being built; and Ed Rowe, the Kernow King, who makes another welcome return to the islands he so loves for a stand-up comedy night, performances at the Five Islands Academy and a community reading of a new play script. Rogue Theatre will dish up a taste of their magical and hilarious performances; celebrated Cornwall based novelist and writer Wyl Menmuir leads a creative writing walk, and Harbottle and Jonas return to Scilly for a couple of folk concerts around the islands.

Creative Scilly will also see the launch of “Walking stories” – five new audio books which have been specially commissioned to be best enjoyed on each of the inhabited islands. Highlights include stories by local musician Piers Lewin set on his beloved St. Agnes and a Tresco set story by Sam Llewellyn.

Paint the Day returns this year as part of Creative Scilly – as budding artists young and old, local and visiting, amateur and professional, are challenged to capture a day on Tresco (on Saturday 11th May) with the resulting masterpieces all displayed and shared at the Tresco Island Gallery, and prizes awarded to the winning entries in a number of categories.

Throughout the festival, there will also be a range of arts and crafts workshops led by local and mainland artists, in particular from the Phoenix Craft Studios, a co-operative of six artists and craftspeople on St. Mary’s whose work beautifully bears witness to Scilly’s untamed wildlife and landscapes.

Other highlights include the chance to join artist Sue Lewington, well known for her published sketchbooks of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, on a sketching walk, the opportunity to learn to weave at a workshop on St. Agnes with Trish Peacock of Twisted Bobbins, a “magical fish” pottery workshop with Bryher’s Alex Bagnall, a “cowbell” workshop with St. Martin’s based silver jewellery maker, Fay Page, and an evening of music at the candlelit Old Town Church with talented local musicians Duo Prosperro.

In addition to the Creative Scilly Festival, Creative Islands is hosting a three-day symposium from 8th – 10th May in collaboration with Isles of Scilly library and the Isles of Scilly Museum. Kindly funded by Cultivator Cornwall and Plymouth University, the cultural symposium will see around 30 delegates from various island communities and arts organisations around the UK arrive on the Isles of Scilly for a series of lectures and seminars, as well as trips to the some of the other islands to visit studio workshops.

David Jackson, Executive Director for Visit Isles of Scilly, says: “We’re delighted that Creative Islands has put together such a fantastic programme for our first Creative Scilly festival and are extremely grateful for the support that Arts Council England and our local sponsors have afforded us. We are equally delighted to be hosting the cultural symposium as a fringe event, which not only provides an opportunity for us to showcase the wealth of creativity and artistic talent on the islands, but also to share learning and exchange ideas with peers and professional colleagues from further afield.

“May is a fantastic time to escape to Scilly, with longer, warmer days and colour flooding into the landscape and we look forward to welcoming visitors, old and new, so that they can soak up and celebrate with us the fantastic artistic and creative talent that fills our islands.”

The full programme is available to view at and tickets are on sale now.
The Islands' Partnership is delighted to announce the Scilly Business Week Programme 2019 which is taking place 18th – 22nd March.

The week-long series of workshops, presentations and networking events are all designed to help enhance the productivity, creativity and profitability of businesses operating across the islands. As usual, the business week will feature the Islands’ Partnership annual Tourism Forum with updates on business and island activity from the Islands’ Partnership, Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership, Council of the Isles of Scilly, Isles of Scilly Steamship Company, Tresco Island, Duchy of Cornwall and Creative Islands, as well as specific detailed workshops with guest speakers from award-winning businesses to seek solutions to extend Scilly’s season and set a new Scilly “Standard”.

The event is once again kindly sponsored by the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Growth & Skills Hub who help businesses access the right support and training opportunities to work smarter, develop and grow. New for 2019 is a specific Business Support Market Place and networking lunch on Tuesday 19th, led by Chris Phillips, Senior Business Connector from the Growth Hub and Trish Peacock, Business Connector from the Skills Hub, bringing together providers of finance, business skills, specialist projects and training opportunities under one roof for Scilly’s businesses to access.

Hot topics this year include digital updates and tips for selling online and voice / social commerce; engaging with customers in the Instagram age (the social media for business in 2019); ensuring VAT registered businesses are ready for the introduction of digital tax returns, and website / SEO MOT workshops. There are also presentations and workshops on the future of the Smart Islands Partnership – including the Business Energy Efficiency Scheme and Go- EV (Electric Vehicles) Project – and how to improve Scilly’s public realm and the retail environment.

Derek Thomas MP completes the line up in the afternoon of Friday 22nd March with a surgery and discussion about Brexit and what the outcomes will mean for businesses on Scilly. There will then be a complimentary trip for all Scilly Business Week attendees who wish to visit the brand new Community Observatory on St. Martin’s which opens to the public on 1st April. This is one in a series of complimentary Locals’ Discovery Days that will be taking place in the early season.**

“Scilly Business Week is now well established on the Islands’ Partnership calendar. Indeed, five years on, we’ve introduced new elements to the programme to complement the workshops, including a Locals’ Discovery Day series, Market Place and Annual Tourism Forum to ensure it remains compelling and relevant to Scilly’s business community,” says David Jackson, Islands’ Partnership Executive Director. “We’re also delighted this year to welcome Derek Thomas MP and high calibre speakers – Jill Landeryou from one of Cornwall’s leading self-catering accommodation experts, Latitude50; Mightier Words’ Suzie Inman, handmade giftware retail guru Poppy Treffry; and Founder & CEO of the “What do you think” movement, Poppy Barnfield OBE - alongside a raft of industry experts in their field. We hope that business owners from across the islands will see the value of this year’s Scilly Business Week and sign up to lots of the workshops on offer.”

“The Islands’ Partnership have put together a really great programme for this year and we are delighted to be working with them again to make sure businesses on Scilly can make the most of the development opportunities out there,” adds Stu Anderson, Operations Director for Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Growth Hub & Skills Hub. “It’s a great fit with the work that we do at the Growth & Skills Hub, connecting business owners and entrepreneurs with the right support and training opportunities to help them work smarter and grow in a way that is right for them. This year the Skills Hub will also be promoting the Access to Training Fund, which is available to help businesses with travel costs to attend training on the mainland.”

Participants can book their places by calling the Islands’ Partnership office on 01720 620601 or emailing All the sessions are free. (Priority for IP members if necessary.) The full programme can be viewed here: Business Week 2019 Programme FINAL.

** Other Locals’ “Discovery” outings include the Isles of Scilly Museum opening on Wednesday 13th March 2.30-4pm; Tresco Abbey Garden tour 11am – 12noon, Monday 1st April, and a St. Agnes Sea Safari for locals with St. Agnes Boating and the Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust on Wednesday 3rd April 1pm – 3pm.
Leading mainland suppliers from across Cornwall, the West Country and beyond are beginning to arrive on St. Mary’s and are setting up their exhibition stands ahead of this year’s Supply Scilly event, which takes place Wednesday 27th and Thursday 28th February.  

The trade, hospitality and business services show, held to showcase mainland goods and services to businesses on Scilly looks set to be another success, with 23 suppliers attending and exhibiting at the show, which is once again hosted by Tregarthen’s Hotel.

With free entry for all, businesses on Scilly are encouraged to attend and take advantage of the great trade deals – and tastings – on offer. Exhibitors include many of the region’s leading catering suppliers and wholesalers who will be offering fantastic new product ranges and great services tailored to the Scillonian customer.

Supply Scilly has once again being organised by the Islands’ Partnership in collaboration with Tregarthen’s Hotel. David Jackson, Executive Director at the Islands’ Partnership says: “We’re delighted to be organising Supply Scilly again this year with the support of Tregarthen’s Hotel.  Like last year, the weather looks to be very settled and sunny as all the exhibitors arrive to set up. This pre-season event is a fantastic opportunity for businesses on Scilly to have dedicated access to many of the region’s leading suppliers. I’m sure that lots of good business will be done over the next two days.”

Exhibitors include an exciting range of food and drinks suppliers, catering specialists, IT and trade professionals, insurance brokers and business merchants. To see a full list of the exhibitors, go to the Supply Scilly website at For further information, just click on the links in the suppliers' list.  

Find Supply Scilly at Tregarthen’s Hotel, St Mary’s from 9.30am to 5pm on Wednesday 27th and Thursday 28th February from 9.30am to 4pm. 
The Islands’ Partnership (IP), the official Destination Management Organisation and business lead for the Isles of Scilly, has appointed Andrew Sells as its new independent non-Executive Chairman.

Andrew is currently Chairman of Natural England, the national body responsible for advising the Government on the natural environment – a position he is due to step down from later this month after five years in the role. He will then take up his new position at the Islands’ Partnership in February, serving an initial three year term.

Working alongside the Islands’ Partnership Board and Executive team, Andrew succeeds former Chairman James Berresford, who stepped down at the end of last year after a three year tenure. The incoming Chairman is tasked with helping to drive forward the growth of Scilly’s vital tourism industry and the wider economic prosperity of the islands.

Andrew brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the Islands’ Partnership having had a long and successful career in the world of business before moving on to a range of board and senior advisory positions in both the public and private sectors. He is also no stranger to Scilly, having been a regular visitor to the islands for the last 15 years.

“I am delighted to be given this opportunity to chair the Islands’ Partnership Board” says Andrew. “The Isles of Scilly hold a special place in the hearts of my family. All generations have been visiting this tranquil haven for many years and I regard it as a great privilege to be asked to help shape the future of the islands.”

“We are delighted to welcome Andrew to the Islands’ Partnership Board of Directors,” says Robert Francis, Chairman of the Council of the Isles of Scilly and Islands’ Partnership Vice Chair. “Indeed we are honoured that so soon after stepping down as Chairman of Natural England, he has decided to impart to us here on Scilly his immense knowledge and considerable experience in business and the natural environment. I am sure his strong, impartial leadership will be invaluable in enabling us to deliver on the ambitions set out in our Destination Management Plan and to secure a strong and sustainable economic future for the islands.

Mark Duddridge, Chair of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership adds: “This is fantastic news for the Islands’ Partnership and for Scilly at what is an important time for the region as we collectively set out a new Local Industrial Strategy to government. I look forward to working with Andrew and the Islands’ Partnership over the next three years to help support business and grow the islands’ economy.”
The Isles of Scilly has today launched its new flagship destination website,

The new site, which features integrated online booking options, has been developed by the Islands’ Partnership, Scilly’s official Destination Management Organisation, with additional ERDF funding support from the Isles of Scilly’s Voucher Scheme programme.

The new booking functionality means many of Scilly’s accommodation businesses will be available to be booked online for the very first time – achieving a major objective of the investment.

David Jackson, Executive Director of the Islands’ Partnership says: “We’re really excited to be launching the new website after several months of development work alongside our technical partners, New Mind | tellUs. We’ve listened to our visitors, who have been asking for the ability to book online for some time and I’m delighted to say, this new site delivers that – and more.

“With tourism being the lifeblood of Scilly’s economy, we know just how important the website is to the islands and our businesses,” he continues. “It’s vital that the new not only builds on the really strong foundations we’ve developed over the past few years, but also helps to spearhead the continued recovery and growth of our visitor economy.”

The new site is expected to receive more than 700,000 visitors in its first year and will be at the forefront of Scilly’s refreshed brand and marketing push for 2019 as the archipelago’s tourism sector continues to revitalise and extends its season.

In addition to the new integrated accommodation booking options, the site contains a host of new features, including “MyScilly” trip planning tools, enhanced mapping and site-wide full screen imagery and video content.

John Peacock of St. Agnes Boating and Director of the Islands’ Partnership adds: “This new site is helping to trigger a real step-change on the islands. From our extensive visitor surveys over the past couple of years, we know that the majority of our visitors want to book online – and this new investment is a major step towards achieving this. The innovative ‘polling’ engine that sits behind the site means any number of businesses and booking systems are integrated with the new website – making it easier for both visitors and businesses to trade online for the first time.”

Richard Veal, Director of European Operations at New Mind | tellUs adds: “We are absolutely thrilled to have worked with the Visit Isles of Scilly team on their new website. The resulting website design is as beautiful as any destination website from around the world, and is therefore perfect for showcasing a location as iconic and visually stunning as Scilly. With inspiring content to complement the beautiful imagery, and some excellent functionality to assist the visitor in their holiday planning – including online booking for the first time – the new Isles of Scilly website will be considered a flagship project for New Mind | tellUs, and one of which both parties can be rightfully proud.”

Further additions and developments are planned for the new site over the coming weeks coinciding with the launch of the official 2019 Isles of Scilly Visitor Guide, which will also showcase the same refreshed branding and stunning new photography of the islands.