Isles FM News in association with Hebrides News - Tuesday 30th June 2020


The Scottish Government’s, Coronavirus Business Support Scheme, has paid out nearly £8 million to businesses in the Western Isles. The government has brought forward the deadline for submission of applications to 10 July 2020.
Eligible businesses must ensure that applications are submitted before this date.
The 3 categories of grant are aimed at supporting businesses, through protecting jobs, preventing closure and assisting with recovery:
Small Business – grants of up to £10,000 are available to businesses in receipt of specific categories of rates relief.
Retail, Hospitality and Leisure – grants of up to £25,000 for businesses with properties in these sectors and with Rateable Values in a specified range.
A recent change to the scheme has extended the grants to tenants of ratepayers of business properties, where they can show that a lease is in place, staff are employed and that they have a business bank account.


Patients in the Western Isles are now able to see their optometrists, at R.Doig Optometrists and Claire Whyman Optometrist

The Optometrists have re-opened for face-to-face emergency and essential eye care consultations. Both practices can meet the requirements, to operate safely in the context of COVID-19, and have received PPE supplies.

The move to reinstate emergency and essential eye care in the community, forms part of NHS Western Isles’ phased remobilisation of services and is in line with the Scottish Government’s route map.

A service has been provided in Stornoway and Benbecula throughout the lockdown. This service has been supported by NHS remote appointments and video links to Ophthalmology in Raigmore Hospital, which has been very successful in reducing the need for patients to travel to Inverness.



The charity Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland, continue to provide services in Lewis and Harris. Volunteers, have been keeping in touch with members, via video link, telephone calls and newsletters!

One supporter Pat MacAskill and her family from Gravir, are taking the lead on a CHSS fundraiser by walking "5K A DAY" throughout the month of July.
Pat MacAskill commented “We have all been affected by conditions supported by CHSS, through family and friends. There is a need for Support Services now, more than ever. We wish to challenge other families to help with this fundraiser. They can walk (take the dog!), run, hike or cycle - anything that gets us all moving, healthy and happier during uncertain times. If your family would like to take part, T-shirts are available on request, from local Co-ordinator Sonja MacLeod.



The arts centre Taigh Chearsbhagh in Lochmaddy, have been awarded funding by SNH, as part of Plunge In!, Year of Coasts and Water 2020.
The outcome will be Tide Lines, a moving image work, in collaboration with Uist Film and the local communities. A short film, will respond directly to the waters of North Uist and the threat of an encroaching tide-line, to its community.
Andy MacKinnon of Uist Film commented “ Low lying Uist has been identified as one of the most vulnerable communities, to the effects of climate change, sea level rise, storm surges, marine overtopping, inland flooding and coastal erosion, as a current and imminent threat to the community.
Filming will begin late summer or early autumn covid-19 dependant. Members of the public wishing to participate, can contact me This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

There will be a public call out, in the next month or so. We aim to screen Tide Lines at climate related events at Taigh Chearsabhagh and during COP26 UN Climate Summit (now scheduled for late in 2021)


The Calanais Stones Visitor Centre, is celebrating 25 years today. The Visitor Centre welcomes over 50,000 visitors into the building each year.
Although the facility is currently closed, due to current restrictions, there is a virtual celebration, on their website and social media, featuring a video and pictures, contributed by visitors from all over the world.
Centre management and staff are currently planning for opening, and working towards implementing government guidelines, for visitor attractions.



Comhairle nan Eilean Siar have announced that bus time tables, will be available today on the Comhairle website today.
There will be a booking number, for each timetable.
The bookable bus service for the general public will begin tomorrow Wed 1st July.
Within Phase 2 of the easing of lockdown, it is essential to book the bus, due to the restricted passenger numbers, because of two metre social distancing measures.
Face coverings are mandatory and passengers need to supply their own.