As promised in the Programme for Government, 1 January 2018 will mark the start of a year of themed events celebrating the Isle of Man as a special place to live and work.
Minister for Policy and Reform, Chris Thomas MHK, announced the plans in this month’s Tynwald when he presented the programme’s mid-year report.
The Minister said:
'We know that our Island is a special place for people and nature and that was recognised by UNESCO which designated the Isle of Man as the first ever island-nation in its entirety to be awarded the status of world biosphere region. 2018 will bring opportunities for us to value not only our environment but also our culture, heritage and community, and to remind ourselves how these enhance our quality of life and our health and well-being.'
The ‘Year of Our Island’ brings together existing and new events and activities to help more people understand what makes the Isle of Man so special and encourage people to explore more, do more, get involved more, and share more.
The year will begin with a series of dark skies events from 19 January encouraging everyone to step outside and appreciate the visibility of the night sky wherever they are.
A new dedicated website has been launched to serve as an information hub for the Year of Our Island at www.ourisland.im.
Vice Chair for Year of Our Island, Mrs Daphne Caine MHK, welcomed the special year in Tynwald and said:
'The Isle of Man has much to celebrate and this special year should enhance the feel-good factor for everyone and promote the many positive aspects of the Island encompassing culture, heritage and the community. With the Programme for Government to focus our minds and the ambitions of this administration I feel we can look forward to 2018 with optimism.'
The Minister concluded:
'This isn’t about creating something new. It is very much about championing existing events, activities and the sense of community that already exists on our Island. While we will organise a variety of activities, we want people to make the most of the things that already exist, whether it’s visiting our striking glens and beaches, joining in with our community groups or taking part in sporting and cultural events. We have so much right here on our doorstep and we want everyone to celebrate this.'