Local News for Monday 4th March 2019

WESTERN ISLES LIBRARIES TO CELEBRATE BRITISH SCIENCE WEEK

For everyone with an interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths, Stornoway Library will be celebrating British Science Week for the first time this year.

Stornoway Library is holding various events in their new makerspace room - The Space - in March. Show & Tech outreach events are also taking place in community hubs on Lewis in Pairc Trust and Carloway Community association before moving to Harris and further South to the Uists and Barra in April.
On offer are films, talks, activities and workshops and everyone is invited to join.

The week will start at Stornoway Library with a special film screening on Saturday 9th March which will feature two great sci-fi classic movies suitable for the whole family.

Also, the Stornoway Astronomical Society will be on hand with Donnie MacKay’s talk on Planets, Moons, Comets and Things! On the other hand, you could learn more about Rockets, Jets and Spaceplanes with Dr Chris MacLeod from UHI’s Innovation Centre and have some fun with 3D-printed gliders.

If you want your little ones to experience coding and fun learning with apps appropriate to their ages, come in to the Apps & Coding for Early Years events with access to Code-a-Pillars and tablets. You can also experience their PS4 Virtual Reality set.

The library’s Digital Champion, Helene Lagrange, said: ‘We are really grateful to the British Science Association for supporting British Science Week in the Western Isles.’
More information is available on the library’s Facebook and Twitter account @WesternIslesLibraries. Or e-mail the library at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Read more: Local News for Monday 4th March 2019

Local News for Friday 1st March 2019

STORNOWAY PRIMARY FACILITIES PROGRESS UPDATE

Members of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s Education, Sport and Children’s Services Committee recently heard a progress update on the improvement of physical facilities at Stornoway Primary School.

Chairman of the Committee, Cllr Angus McCormack, said: ‘Under the leadership of both the current and previous headteacher and in collaboration with the facilities group and parent council, a number of recommendations have been addressed in the last twelve months.
There has been a systematic review of materials being held in storage and a significant amount of materials and furniture have been removed. In addition, several storage spaces have been re-designated or better organised to allow for more efficient use.

This has removed the use of corridors for storage. The school has increased the use of the HT Office for management duties and for meetings with parents, partners and others. The change in the degree of use of the HT office has freed up the room known as the upstairs office to be used as a dedicated staff CPD base to allow them to prepare for lessons and complete other professional duties.
I am very pleased to see the progress being made and we will continue to work closely with the school and the parent council over the next few months.’

Current projections for the school roll in 2019-20 indicate that there will be a reduction of approximately 4% since the joint report was produced, resulting in the number of full-time classes reducing from twenty to nineteen.

Read more: Local News for Friday 1st March 2019

Local News for Thursday 28th February 2019

ALLAN BACKS FUEL POVERTY BILL IN PARLIAMENT

Alasdair Allan, SNP MSP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, recently backed the Fuel Poverty Bill at Stage 1 in the Scottish Parliament.

The islands MSP spoke in the chamber and raised fuel poverty issues relating specifically to the Western Isles.

The Bill sets a target for the reduction of fuel poverty to no more than 5% by 2040. It also creates a new definition for fuel poverty which will work for people across Scotland, especially those on low incomes.

Alasdair Allan said: “Fuel poverty remains significant in the Western Isles. I was pleased to contribute to the debate in the Scottish Parliament about that issue.

I welcome the Bill and the Scottish Government’s commitment to making it work in the islands. There are specific circumstances we face in the islands – these include the windchill factor, which is not currently recognised in the system of cold weather payments; there is the ageing population factor; the predominance of detached houses, and the general unavailability of mains gas. There are on top of low incomes, the flawed universal credit rollout, a shortage of affordable rented housing and the spiralling cost of energy.

The Scottish Government is working to tackle fuel poverty, but there is work that the UK Government need to do as well. Benefit reforms, and rising fuel costs are within the remit of the UK Government, and they must challenge these factors. This Bill is a significant step in battling the scourge of fuel poverty, making homes warmer, greener and more energy efficient.”

Read more: Local News for Thursday 28th February 2019

Local News for Wednesday 27th February 2019

COMHAIRLE CALL FOR URGENT ACTION ON FERRY REPLACMENT

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has called for urgent action on a ferry fleet replacement programme. Chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Cllr Uisdean Robertson said:

‘The Comhairle has been encouraged by the open approach and sympathetic ear Ministers have given to engaging with us on ferry matters but we need to see real action from Government to overcome the decades long underinvestment in Scotland’s lifeline ferry fleet with orders placed at shipyards to replace all four major ferries that have already been in service for 30 years or more.

‘With the imminent passing of winter, islanders should be looking forward to the summer with a sense of optimism. This is again tempered by an unease that stems from the likelihood of technical failure in the ageing fleet of ferries which we must rely on as the lifeline for our communities.’

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar wrote to the Islands Minister late last year following the positive discussion he had with business and community representatives at the ferry summit in Uist in November. The Comhairle set out a range of measures to improve reliability and resilience on the crossings to and within the Western Isles in the short, medium and long term.

The success of RET means the fleet size needs to increase by one if not two new major ferries. This would provide a dedicated ferry to both Harris and North Uist and the Stornoway route should be stepped up to a two ferry operation.

Read more: Local News for Wednesday 27th February 2019

Local News for Tuesday 26th February 2019

HARRIS FOOTBALL CLUB TO GET WESTERN ISLES LOTTERY FUNDING

The Western Isles Lottery have given Harris Football Club their first result of 2019 by announcing they will receive all funding currently being raised by supporters of the Lottery across Harris.
All proceeds raised will go to the Football Club to ensure they receive the best start to their resurgence into the Lewis & Harris Football League.
A Team spokesperson said: ‘This will be the first time since 2014 that we have entered a Harris senior team in the league.
‘We also believe it is important to give the youngsters the opportunity to get involved in a team representing their island, which will promote a feeling of pride among them and point towards a bright future for football on the island by encouraging younger age groups, giving them something to aspire to.
‘Without a sponsor providing direct financial support, we rely on bodies such as the Western Isles Lottery to enable us to function as a club and we also hope that the community will again unite around what is still a great institution!”
The Lottery Team said: “The Club’s application identified specifically what they required the funding for, which matched one of our 3 criteria and we therefore had no hesitation in agreeing to the request.
Applications for future funding from groups within the Harris area are welcomed via email address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or making contact via the Lottery facebook page.

Read more: Local News for Tuesday 26th February 2019