Isles FM News in association with Hebrides News - Monday 20th July 2020
HIGH STUDENT SUCCESS RATE IN ISLES COLLEGE
More students at Lews Castle College UHI this year completed their courses and achieved their awards than last year, despite having their studies disrupted by Covid-19.
Although College buildings were closed in March, students were able to continue their studies using a range of innovative and tutor-supported digital approaches. Student services staff continued to offer high levels of learning support, guidance, and counselling during this time with increased attention to students’ mental health and wellbeing.
The College had already seen an increase in student retention and achievement in 2018/19, well above the national benchmark; and, together with high levels of student satisfaction, that trend has continued in 2019/20.
The College is currently recruiting for a range of full and part-time courses from National Certificate level to postgraduate degree level. The full range of courses starting from August and September can be found on the College website – www.lews.uhi.ac.uk
TRIBUTES TO PREVIOUS SPONSOR OF P/M DONALD MACLEOD MEMORIAL PIPING COMPETION
The Lewis and Harris Piping Society has paid tribute to the previous sponsor of its P/M Donald MacLeod Memorial Piping Competition – Robin
Fleming, who died recently aged 87.
Mr Fleming’s sponsorship of the competition ran for eight years before community wind farm organisation Point and Sandwick Trust took over in 2017, supporting the competition with £5,000 a year for five years. The creation of this arrangement secured the prestigious event in its home town at a time when its future had been very uncertain.
Mr Fleming attended the competition every year that he sponsored it and was awarded Honorary Life Membership of the Lewis and Harris
Piping Society in 2013.
CROFTERS & FARMERS LOAN SCHEME LAUNCHES
A loan scheme to support farmers and crofters through the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis has been announced by Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing.
With the additional uncertainty caused by Brexit, the National Basic Payment Support Scheme will maintain vital cash flow for farm and croft businesses by injecting up to £340 million into the rural economy.
The scheme will give farmers and crofters access to vital financial support up to three months earlier than the EU CAP payment period, helping them continue to operate during the crisis.
Mr Ewing said:
‘I would encourage anyone who would like to accept their loan offer to do so by email where they can, to allow us to process these important payments as quickly as possible.’
Loan offer letters will be sent to eligible farmers and crofters from the beginning of August, with the first payments due in September.
MSP PRAISED HEB CELT ONLINE EVENTS
Highlands and Islands Labour MSP, Rhoda Grant praised the creativity and community spirit of the Hebridean Celtic Festival last week when she lodged a motion in Scottish Parliament recognising the Festival’s online programme of events between 15 and 18 July.
The Festival, which should have been celebrating it’s 25th anniversary this year but was forced to postpone due to Covid 19, instead scheduled a programme of virtual events to celebrate the wealth of music and culture available in Scotland and simultaneously raise funds for the local hospice charity Bethesda.
The Hebridean Celtic Festival will now be holding its 25th anniversary celebrations in 2021, but in the meantime, hosted a number of online events including Julie Fowlis, Colin Macleod and a new recording of Runrig anthem ‘Only the Brave’.
TRANSITIONAL SUPPORT FUND ANNOUNCED
Scottish Government Funding of £11.2m is being made available to support childcare providers with the cost of safely reopening. The grants are expected to help with costs for:
increased cleaning, investment in additional equipment and developing outdoor space to enable more outdoor learning, adaptations to support the physical distancing of adults, such as changes to entrance and exit areas and additional signage.
More information as to how providers can access the Transitional Support Fund will be available by 31 July.