Local News for Tuesday 11th July 2017

Islands minister on tour
With the Scottish Parliament in recess, MSPs are on tour, and Islands Minister Humza Yousaf is the latest to visit Lewis on a round of site visits and meetings. He will chair a meeting of the Islands Strategic Group today today with Minister for Local Government and Housing Kevin Stewart, who has also opened phase three of the new social housing development in Sandwick. The meeting at Breasclete Community Centre will include discussions on the Islands (Scotland) Bill, which was introduced to Parliament last month, along with the development of a National Islands Plan. Mr Yousaf will also visit BASF Pharma and the Callanish Stones, Hebridean Seaweed, Harris Tweed Hebrides and the Galson Estate over the two days. Mr Yousaf said: “Scotland’s islands are fantastic places to live and work and this is a great opportunity to support our work on the first ever Islands Bill, which will meet the unique needs of Scotland’s islands now and in the future I will also be meeting with the new Islands Strategic Group, which includes all six Council areas in Scotland with responsibility for island communities, to ensure the voices of all Scotland’s island communities are being heard.”

Cash for young fishermen
Seven young local fishing skippers and first-time vessel owners across the Outer Hebrides have been recommended for loans totalling over £300,000 from Comhairle nan Eilean Siar's Fisheries Investment Scheme (FIS). All are aged below 40, most under 30 years old, with three based in North Uist; one each in Benbecula and Barra; and two from Lewis. They’re at various stages of the application process, with formal decisions still to be taken once they’ve completed their applications. Councillor Donald Crichton, Chair of the Comhairle's Sustainable Development Committee said: "It is extremely heartening to witness so many young, first-time owner/ skippers across these islands bringing forward projects which support the continued development of the Outer Hebrides' fishing fleet. The FIS has proven to be remarkably successful. Close to £1m has been invested by the Comhairle, over the past five years, in the modernisation of the local fishing fleet. This is a significant and important investment in local communities and in a critical sector of our local economy.”

Technology for independence
Helpful technology which can help people live more independently is being showcased at an open day at the Grianan Centre in Stornoway on Friday 28th July. It will give people a chance to see and try the latest technologies, and even to take devices away to test themselves. The purpose-designed assistive technology centre at Westview Terrace was developed between NHS Western Isles, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and third sector organisations. It’s been open for a year as a ‘real life’ house with rooms designed to showcase health and care technology to help people live more independently in their own homes. Emelin Collier, NHS Western Isles Head of Planning and Development, said “The idea behind the centre is not only to show how far telecare has come but for people to see that there is a way for people to live safely and independently in their own homes. You don’t always have to change your surroundings to make them fit your lifestyle - instead you adapt the devices to fit the surroundings. Choose what’s best for you, what works for you and what will work in the future."