Tell us about SEALL and what it does.

SEALL - Skye Events for All - is a rural touring organisation. Duncan Macinnes and a group of local activists set it up as a charitable company in 1991 following the success of a pilot rural touring project in the community.

We now promote around 80 events each year, including the Skye Festival during the whole of July and August and the Skye Swing Jazz Festival in October.

SEALL is in effect a theatre without its own venue. SEALL is based at, but independent of, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, the Gaelic College in south Skye, which provides two of the several community venues we use.

On average, how many volunteers are involved over the course of a year?

Up to the end of 2016, and for 25 years, the artistic director provided around 3-4 days a week voluntary administration, supported by 2 days a week paid admin. This is now a contracted post for three days a week, with another five days a week admin support. There are six voluntary Directors providing around 10 days voluntary work each, and a Front of House volunteer support group of around 25 people.

And what kind of roles do they carry out?

The Directors of SEALL provide leadership and financial advice. Front of House volunteers offer around four hours at each event, selling tickets, laying out the halls and clearing up afterwards. We have also had three 15-year-olds undertaking Duke of Edinburgh Award volunteering, two of whom have become paid young technical promoters with us.

What do you enjoy about volunteering with SEALL?

“The sense of community spirit.”

“The chance to go to, and help make happen, quality touring events that I would normally have to travel 100 miles to see.”

“It’s great fun to be part of a very successful organisation.”

“I get to see stuff I normally wouldn’t attend.”

What have been the most important lessons SEALL has learned about engaging people in creative activity and encouraging volunteering?

To do more of it. SEALL has been a bit reluctant to ask folk in case they say no! Having got their interest and support we try and make sure their time and skills are thanked-for and valued.

Also, do not underestimate the skills of younger folk, and don't get upset if someone drops off the radar - they might not always be as enthusiastic as you are!

If somebody was thinking of setting up, or volunteering with, a similar organisation what advice would you give them?

Ask around. Don't underestimate all the work involved. Be delighted with the variety and the joy when it all goes well.

The annual Skye Festival in July and August is one of the biggest events in your calendar - tell us about it!

In 2017 we started with a family ceilidh with some very talented youngster see here for example: Then we had the world premiere of a Gaelic/Indian/Beatbox night with Anne Martin and Jason Singh, that went from us to the South Bank in London, followed by a circus weekend. We then moved onto a jazz week followed by a traditional fiddle week.

We are all stretched while it’s happening and our volunteers respond wonderfully to helping make it all happen!

To see what's happening at SEALL, visit

Photo: Jacqui Mackinnon, SEALL Board Member, recruits her daughter Hannah to help sell raffle tickets.