Isles FM News - Wednesday 3rd June 2020


The pupils of Sgoil Uibhist a Tuath, Sgoil Bhaile a' Mhanaich, Sgoil an Iochdair and Sgoil Dhalabroig , have been encouraged to write letters to people living in care homes.

As part of the National Literacy Trust, Dear New Friend initiative. The schools took the initiative one step further and focused on writing to a number of befriending networks already established in Uist, including Caraidean Uibhist, Tagsa and Cuimhne.

Executive Head of Uist Primary Schools Anne Graham said:“Inter-generational connections such as Armchair Athletics and Tagsa Sensory Garden project, are something the Uist Primary Schools have developed over the last few years. We know that the receiving of a letter can really give someone a huge lift in their period of confinement and we endeavour to promote the skills of letter writing in every child.

A Sgoil Bhaile a' Mhanaich pupil became aware of a Benbecula lady, Mrs MacSween, stranded in Australia. She was due home in April but is unable to travel due to restrictions. Due to her situation, Shonnie in PG4 decided to write a Gaelic letter to her knowing that this may be of a comfort to her to receive a letter in her mother tongue whilst away from home.”



The Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) has submitted views to the first part of the Crofting Agriculture Grant Scheme review, asking for it to be extended to all crops including trees.
This scheme provides grants for crofters to make improvements to their crofts and help to sustain their businesses. Funding can be used for capital projects, such as the construction or improvement of agricultural buildings.

Yvonne White, chair of the Crofters’ Federation. Commented “SCF’s view is that this scheme should help any croft land-based production. In the past it was perhaps easier to classify croft work as ‘agriculture’ and so call the scheme an agricultural grant scheme. SCF recommend that this be widened to include growing flowers and other ornamental plants. We also recommend the introduction of support to bee-keeping. In the same vein we would recommend the inclusion of forest products and aquaculture.”

Gentle Movement Exercises online NHS
Gentle Movement classes established before lockdown, are now being offered by NHS Western Isles, virtually, on Zoom.

The classes, provided by Marion Matheson, NHS Western Isles Health Improvement Practitioner, are all free to join and last approximately 45 minutes. Classes, which are open to anyone living within the Outer Hebrides, are held each Monday from 12noon, each Tuesday from 2pm and each Wednesday from 4pm.

“The classes can help someone who is recovering from medical treatment, or is inactive and provides benefits to those who may be feeling isolated during this time. We are also aware that the class has not only improved people’s mental and physical health, but has also established a support network and lasting friendships.”



Urras Oighreachd Ghabsainn has announcement that Habost Household Waste and Recycling Centre, will re-open as soon as is practical to do so.
An Urras will continue to follow guidance from Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and are preparing guidance on how the site will operate, ensuring staff and those visiting the site, are able to do so safely. Factors such as traffic to the site and the frequency of skips being uplifted ,be considered in the bid to re-open by mid-June




Scottish Fire and Rescue Service warn A 'very high' risk of wildfire remains in place across the islands Following several weeks of dry weather conditions,
(SFRS) Area Commander Bruce Farquharson has stressed that Scotland’s countryside is “vulnerable” to fire.We have had very little rain over the past two months, and a large volume of dead, bone-dry vegetation remains left over from last year – which essentially acts as a fuel for fire.“ As a result, there are currently vast areas which are tinder dry and vulnerable“We are asking the public to exercise extreme caution and think twice before using anything involving a naked flame, such as disposable barbecues or campfires.”




Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan has encouraged parents of children aged four to five to apply for the Scottish Government’s Best Start Grant.
A one-off £250 payment is currently open to eligible families, with a child who was born between 1st March 2015 and 29th February 2016, who will be starting primary school later this year.
The Scottish Government’s school age payment offers low income families, or those who receive support like Universal Credit, a £250 payment around the time children start at primary school.



Point and Sandwick Trust are inviting people living in villages in Point and Sandwick to take part in a photographic project, to capture the historic lockdown families at their doorstep
Sandie Maciver of SandiePhotos Photography has begun taking ‘doorstep photos’ to mark the moment. The portraits can literally be ‘on the doorstep’ or in the garden and can either be posed or show an outside activity such as gardening, to illustrate how people and families have been passing the time at home.
The project has been organised and funded by community wind farm organisation Point and Sandwick Trust, as a lighter aspect to its efforts to combat the Covid-19 crisis, and as part of its mission to enhance the cultural wellbeing of the area.

.Inviting households to get involved, Point and Sandwick Trust chair Norman Mackenzie explained the thinking behind the project.
“We are currently living through the most dangerous pandemic in living memory and whilst the ongoing contribution of PST and the reality of lockdown in terms of testing, social distancing, economic impact and so on are widely recorded, a lighthearted photographic record of how our community coped and pulled together to get through this period will be a significant contribution to the historic record.
“Hopefully, once Sandie has completed her work, we will be able to arrange a ‘virtual’ exhibition that will help to raise our spirits and boost our commitment to stick together through what we hope will be the final months of this very strange period.”

Sandie said the photos would be made available, free of charge, to anyone who took part in the project, with its aim of creating a historic record of people in lockdown. Anyone who takes part, giving consent for the photos to be used in an exhibition and on websites and social media, will get a downloadable link – which can also then be emailed to loved ones.
Sandie added: “I’ve got a long lens and it’s socially distanced….”
One family who have already taken part is the Smith family from Upper Bayble – mum Annice, dad David and children Lucas and Annie.
Annice has thoroughly enjoyed the time at home with the children and said it was “nice to have” their family portrait to mark the moment.
“It’s part of history,” she said. “The children, the memories they’re going to have, the experience of it all… you can’t describe it. It’s strange, surreal.
“We’ve been able to slow down and just breathe. But we’ve been fortunate on the island, in that it didn’t really hit us. The ones who had the virus have got better and it’s been contained.
“It is a different story up here.”
Anyone else interested in taking part in the portrait project, is asked to contact Sandie directly to make an arrangement. Contact her via email