Local News for Friday 17th May 2019


Last Saturday, 11th May, over 50 choir members from Sir E Scott (junior and senior choir), Laxdale Primary, Stornoway Primary and The Nicolson Institute came together at Studio Alba on Seaforth Road, Stornoway, to record the Dìleab EP which will be available to buy in the summer.
Evelyn Coull Macleod, Multimedia Manager at Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, said:
“The EP will feature many of the songs which were performed at the sold out Dìleab concert in December. We do, of course, hope that the community will support the work done by the pupils once again by buying the EP when it’s launched later this summer. Whilst it is fantastic to see the progression of Dìleab as a project, it is even more rewarding for us to follow the pupils’ development and this EP gives them another platform to showcase their considerable talents.
“This is just the start of Dìleab 2019 and we have lots of other exciting plans to follow on from last year’s success. Very soon we will be releasing more details about a special gig in November 2019 involving our young people and top class bands.”
The Dìleab EP will feature local artist Willie Campbell, who wrote all the songs, along with other musicians from the community.

Read more: Local News for Friday 17th May 2019

Local News for Thursday 16th May 2019


The Croft Woodland project in the Western Isles is to be extended for a further five-years following a successful first phase, resulting in 100,000 trees being planted in 51 villages across the islands with the support of Point and Sandwick Trust (P.S.T.)

The community wind farm charity will fund a second phase with a budget of £400,000 over five years. A total of 103 schemes have been planted so far and the 51 villages which have taken part are spread across five islands – Lewis, Harris, Barra, South Uist, Benbecula, North Uist.

Former MP Calum MacDonald who piloted the first Crofter Forestry Act through Parliament in the 1990s before turning community wind farm developer is delighted at the new wave of crofter forestry in the islands supported by the Trust.

He said: “It’s obvious that there is a huge amount of pent-up demand in the islands and that’s why we’ve decided now that we shall renew the scheme and confirmed the funding for the next five years – but eventually we are probably talking about a 20-year commitment, that will have a transformative effect on the biodiversity and the landscape of the Western Isles and the amenity for the communities.”

Read more: Local News for Thursday 16th May 2019

Local News for Tuesday 14th May 2019


Western Isles SNP MSP Alasdair Allan recently questioned the Scottish Government on how proposals for a Deposit Return Scheme will apply to island communities like the Western Isles.
Deposit return schemes, are a way of reducing litter and increasing recycling, where consumers pay a small deposit that is fully refundable once the empty bottle is returned.
The islands MSP was questioning Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham MSP during a Ministerial statement in the Scottish Parliament outlining how Scotland’s new Deposit Return Scheme will work. It will include aluminium and steel cans as well as drinks containers made of glass and Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic with a 20p deposit as part of plans to combat climate change.
Commenting, Alasdair Allan MSP said:
‘Deposit return schemes will have an important role to play in curbing litter.
‘It is important the scheme into account people in island communities who may have to travel long distances to the nearest shop. It was therefore welcome to hear the Cabinet Secretary’s confirmation that there will be scope within the scheme for communal return points to be set up, at community centres or schools for example, to make it easier for people to return items.
‘Keeping our local environment litter-free is especially important in the islands, given the natural beauty of our landscape.’

Read more: Local News for Tuesday 14th May 2019

Local News for Wednesday 15th May 2019


Isles SNP MSP Alasdair Allan has called for the UK Government to abandon its planned cuts to Pension Credit during a Scottish Parliament debate on the subject.

Pension Credit is a benefit designed to help low-income Pensioner households.

But, from today, 15th May, onwards, newly retired Pensioners will be barred from claiming Pension Credit if they have a younger partner, and will instead be forced onto Universal Credit. There are estimates that the impact of these changes on the average claimant will be in the region of between £5,000 and £6,000 per year.

Speaking in the Scottish Parliament, Alasdair Allan MSP said: ‘It is clear that changes to Pension Credit are going to have a significant impact on mixed-age Pensioner households. For the UK Government to penalise people simply for having a younger partner is completely unacceptable.

‘This is a benefit designed for some of our poorest Pensioners, and they should not be forced to pay the price for the Tories’ ideologically driven cuts to welfare.

‘The Tories must urgently reverse this attack on low-income pensioners.’

Read more: Local News for Wednesday 15th May 2019

Local News for Monday 13th May 2019


A project to get more women standing for political office is running two workshops in the Western Isles this month. Sponsored by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, a ‘Women in Politics’ workshops will run in both Stornoway and Balivanich.
The Parliament Project is a non-partisan initiative that seeks to inspire, empower and encourage women to run for political office in the UK. It runs information and skills building events and offers peer networking to support women to get elected. Since summer 2016, the Parliament Project has delivered workshops to over 3000 women in Scotland and England many of whom have gone on to stand for election.
The Women into Politics workshops will focus on allowing women to share their political ambitions, get information on different political roles available to them, hear from a previous female Councillor about her experiences and explore barriers to entry that are unique to the Western Isles. These events are open to all women.
The Stornoway workshop ‘Women into Politics’ will take place at Caladh Inn, 11 James Street, Stornoway, on May 30th from 6.30pm to 8.30pm. and will feature former Western Isles councillor Catriona Stewart.
The Benbecula workshop will take place at 6:30pm to 8:30pm on May 31st at An Caladh, East Camp, Balivanich, and the featured speaker is former Western Isles councillor Mairi Bremner. The workshops will be delivered by Lee Chalmers, Parliament Project Founder and Co-Director and Katie Brown, Parliament Project Lead for Scotland.

Read more: Local News for Monday 13th May 2019