Local News for Wednesday 30th March 2016

Emergency communication centres plan
Better communication between emergency co-ordinators and the public is the aim of a new agreement to use Fire Stations as communication hubs during emergencies. Fire stations in the Western Isles will open their doors during power and communication outages, with the Western Isles emergency co-ordinating group using it as a base to provide emergency communications, information to the community, and a location for welfare vehicles. Local Senior Officer for the Western Isles, Billy Wilson, said: “This plan formalises already close working relationships within our communities and it is hoped that this additional tool for response will prove useful in decision-making when faced with challenging situations.” The plan’s been welcomed by SSEPD and other agencies, who will all be involved in future emergencies such as experienced during the storms of winter 2014 to 15.

Polling cards all out
Poll Cards have been issued to all registered electors in the Na h-Eileanan an Iar Scottish Parliamentary Constituency, showing the location of your polling station or, if you are a postal voter, the address to which your Postal Pack will be sent. If you have not received a Poll Card there is still time to register as an elector. Applications to register must be made by Monday 18th  April to be effective for the Scottish Parliamentary Election. Any elector wishing to apply for a postal vote or amend existing postal or proxy arrangements must do so by 5pm on Tuesday 19th  April. The deadline for appointing a proxy, who is someone you trust to vote on your behalf, is 5pm on Tuesday 26th April. To register as an elector or apply for a postal/proxy vote, you should contact the Electoral Registration, at 42 Point Street, Stornoway or phone 01851 706262.
Declan’s bald bid for funds
A Stornoway school pupil is shaving his head for charity to raise finds for sick children at Yorkhill Children’s Hospital. 13-year-old Declan Cunningham, a Nicolson Institute pupil,  was a patient at the Glasgow-based hospital over two years, getting treatment for a hip condition. Declan's mother Anne-Marie Cunningham said his eyes were opened when he saw what other kids had to endure. She said:  “It was quite daunting at times, seeing the other sick children, and I think it put things into perspective for him. He told me he wished we could help them, and then he came out with the idea of getting sponsored to shave his head.” Declan says he’s not nervous at the idea of going bald for a good cause, but pleased to be able to do something in return for the care he received at Yorkhill. He said: “I was really well looked after and the staff were really nice, but I just felt sad seeing the other kids, so I thought I'd like to raise money for new equipment.” He’s already raised £150 and is hoping to raise more via donation buckets. His sponsor form is available to sign up and support him, in Cearns Community Shop.
Norwegians join Scots in St Kilda design team
Skye-based architects Dualchas, along with Norwegian partners Reuilf Ramstad Architects (RRA) of Oslo, have been selected to provide the design master plan for the proposed Ionad Hiort/St Kilda Centre in Uig. Iain Buchanan, chairman of Ionad Hiort Ltd – the charitable company formed to take the project forward – said:  “The vision presented by Dualchas and RRA was outstanding and we are confident that we have people of the highest calibre developing every aspect of the project, in close consultation with local interests”. Neil Stephen, director of Dualchas, said: “Our connection to the Hebridean islands and experience of development in rural communities on the west of Norway should give us a specific insight into what is required. This has to be a true collaboration which gives the wider community of the Western Isles a sense of ownership. With careful thought, ambition and flair, the centre will emerge not only as a celebration of these magical islands but as a world-class hub that is a driver of investment and change”.