Isles FM News: Thursday 16th April

Brilliant Response to new Social Media Activities Programme

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar would like to thank the people of the Western Isles for their brilliant response to the new Social Media Activities Programme. The programme has been designed to keep people entertained during lockdown, it was launched last week and thousands of people across the Western Isles got involved.

The first activity on the programme was an online yoga class, taken by the experienced Sophie Marsh. Over two thousand people watched the first session and it is hoped this high level of participation will continue for her next session.

The Comhairle is delighted to have received so many of your colouring in designs and looks forward to seeing more art from young and old participants.

The Comhairle was also glad to hear that so many of you enjoyed the first episode of Fuine, one episode a week will be shared on The Comhairle nan Eilean Siar Facebook Page on Tuesdays at 6pm.

Tom Maciver has taken on the role of Quiz master and he put on quite the show last Thursday, four thousand people tuned in to give it a go.

The first week of the activities programme finished with a live ceilidh courtesy of Iain ’Spanish’ Mackay. With nearly seven thousand views, it was a huge success and the Comhairle welcomes the interaction which saw so many people requesting songs and getting involved in the comments. Well known local artist Iain’Tosh’ will bring you a live set from 9pm this Friday. The Comhairle will introduce a new local artist every week and anyone interested in performing can get in touch on the Facebook page.


Isles MP welcomes additional support for business

Isles MP Angus B MacNeil has welcomed the announcement from the Scottish Government that additional support is being made available for businesses – including the recently self-employed to help them deal with the ongoing impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
Commenting Angus MacNeil MP said: “I am pleased that the Scottish Government’s Finance Secretary Kate Forbes MSP is providing further support to businesses and the recently self-employed during this Covid19 crisis.
“I know that for many businesses and those who are recently self-employed cash flow is a challenge and this additional support will hopefully go some way to easing the financial burden. Further details of how and where to apply, eligibility criteria and deadlines will be available soon.

MSP fails to get answers on care home protocol and protection

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP, Rhoda Grant, has strongly criticised the Scottish Government for lack of information on how care home residents and staff can be protected during the Coronavirus crisis.
Mrs Grant was contacted by a constituent, who had relatives in a care home, who asked about the protocol if residents were to be kept out of hospital and have appropriate treatment such as palliative care.
Questions were asked about protective equipment, oxygen and other necessary supplies for care homes, plus the recruitment of additional staff and particularly more qualified staff for care homes.
The constituent, who wants to remain anonymous, has relatives out-with the region.
This week she told the MSP: “Why have we seen television images of a care home in Northern Ireland where staff are adequately kitted out, and where staff temperatures are taken before shifts, when it is clear that care home staff in Scotland come far down the pecking order in prevention of this killer virus that is among us?

Mrs Grant explained that, until this week, there was no system of raising urgent inquiries from constituency MSPs, with the Scottish Parliament in recess and emails to Cabinet Secretaries and Minsters taking weeks to be answered.

Education Livestream Q+A – Thursday 16th April

Today (Thursday 16th April) at 4pm, Education, Skills and Children’s Services staff will hold a live stream discussion forum for pupils, parents, staff and members of the wider community. Viewers are invited to log in to the live stream, which will be broadcast from e-Sgoil

The focus of discussion will be measures that the Comhairle, with assistance from a range of partner organisations, is taking to ensure continuity of education services across the Western Isles during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Viewers will be able to submit questions in advance and during the livestream. More information will follow on how to do this. The live stream will be chaired by Colin George Morrison and will feature a panel – some of whom will be connecting remotely – including the Director of Education, Skills & Children’s Services, alongside service officers and headteachers.

All interested can log in to the live stream, which will be broadcast from e-Sgoil at the following link:

Cameron urges support for local media

Highlands and Islands MSP Donald Cameron has written to Kate Forbes, the Cabinet Secretary for Finance, to urge the Scottish Government to help local newspapers, radio and online news providers.

Mr Cameron said: “The news media across the Highlands and Islands is providing an essential public service by keeping the public informed about the local impact of the pandemic.

“They are doing a fantastic job but it costs money to source and publish this information at a time when their advertising revenues are being slashed as a result of the emergency.

“I have suggested a number of measures that could be introduced but it is imperative that ministers act quickly or I fear we risk losing an invaluable part of our region’s infrastructure.”