Isles FM News in association with Hebrides News: Monday 18th May 2020

SUPPORT FOR DOMESTIC ABUSE

Boots Pharmacy Consultation Rooms, across the country, including the Stornoway branch, now offer safe spaces for victims of Domestic Abuse. The safe spaces offer contact for specialist domestic abuse services, for support and advice.
The scheme, launched by Hestia, is a response to the desperate situation, facing many victims, who are isolating with perpetrators, during lockdown.
Chief Inspector Ian Graham, Western Isles Area Commander “We are aware that there is an increased risk of domestic abuse, as people observe isolation and social distancing guidance. We welcome this additional support for those affected.
Anyone at risk of abuse, can contact Police Scotland on 101, or 999 in an emergency. Or Scotland's Domestic Abuse helpline on 0800 027 1234. Or online at Safer.scot

 

COVID-19 TESTING

Na h-Eileanan An Iar SNP MP, Angus B MacNeil is calling for the testing capacity, available in the islands, to be used to patrol, for the Covid-19 virus in the community.
Commenting Angus MacNeil MP said: “Yesterday, together with a cross-party group of MPs and Lords, I led an online forum, with politicians from the Faroes and Iceland, to discuss their different approach to tackling Coronavirus.
“It turns out that the Faroese who have banished Covid-19 from the Faroe Islands, are still testing and using their tests, firstly to check anyone who might have symptoms, secondly to do random testing to 3% of their population and thirdly some companies are testing all employees periodically.
“It would seem logical and sensible that the unused capacity, which we have in the Hebrides should be doing the same, to both patrol for the virus and to see if any asymptomatic carriers are discovered. It would seem odd when we are ahead of the virus in the islands, to wait for the virus to come and swamp us, now is the time for action. If we get a high number of cases, it would then be too late.

 

ELDERLY IN LOCKDOWN

Highlands and Islands MSP Donald Cameron, has emphasised the need to provide elderly people, with information to take them through the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Cameron commented following a debate in the Scottish Parliament “For some older people, in the sunset of their lives, and possibly living alone, the lockdown can seem like a life sentence.

“Contact with loved ones is never more important than at this stage of our lives and being forced into isolation is a huge extra burden to bear. Protecting the most vulnerable should, mean more than simply drawing down the shutters, They need more information to be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

 


CAL MAC SUBSIDY

Ferry company Caledonian MacBrayne is seeking an increased subsidy, to cover its losses, caused by lockdown. The ferry firm, has missed out on a substantial amount of business, after stringent restrictions on travel, hit at the start of what promised to be, another bumper summer season.

Cal Mac Ferries received £139 million, last year from the Scottish Government to operate the west coast routes. Traffic has greatly reduced due to the pandemic, halting all but essential ferry usage, following the introduction of stay-at-home rules.
Robbie Drummond, Cal Mac’s managing director, said: “These are unprecedented times for CalMac where we are operating an essential lifeline service, with passenger figures down around 95%. We are currently discussing the contractual implications and solutions to this drop in revenue with Transport Scotland”.

 

THIRD SECTOR NEW WELLBEING FUND

Highlands and Islands Labour MSPs Rhoda Grant and David Stewart have urged Third Sector organisations, in the Highlands and Islands, to apply to the £10million Wellbeing Fund. This fund is for community and third sector organisations across Scotland.

Groups who meet the criteria of working with at risk groups, providing vital wellbeing support, on issues such as mental health and personal finances. Those organisations are urged to get applications in, by the deadline of Friday 22 May 2020.

Rhoda Grant, MSP added: “We are going to need Third Sector and Community Organisations more than ever, in the coming years. These organisations support some of the most vulnerable in our society. The strength of the Highlands and Islands communities are built on community organisations, and it is only right that Government’s provide them with as much support as they need, to help communities survive and recover from the effects of Covid 19.

 

RE CYCLING CENTRES

Household waste recycling centres, north of the border, are expected to open at the beginning of June, according to Cosla, the umbrella body for local government.
At the meeting of the, Leaders of Scotland’s local councils, it was agreed to plan for the reopening of recycling centres next month.
Spokesman Mr Heddle said “The intent behind this decision is to provide a level of coordination across Scotland, to avoid a disjointed approach which could lead to confusion, and to ensure access to household waste recycling sites is managed, to best ensure the safety of both staff and the public. We are working closely with the Scottish Government and partners on this and are drawing up the required guidance”.