Local News for Friday 1st April 2016

Hydro shops to close
There’s been more bad news for the town centre and for island jobs, as SSE announced yesterday that its Stornoway and Lochboisdale shops were among the 37 remaining branches to be closed. A total of 119 jobs are being lost nationwide, with up to six believed to be in the Western Isles. Branches at Ullapool and Portree are also closing. SSE said the ‘Hydro’ shops were making a loss, with more shoppers making electrical purchases online. In Stornoway it will mean another empty unit on Cromwell Street. SSE said the decision to close the stores had been ‘difficult’ and that employees will be offered help with redeployment within the company.

Winning name for new Harris centre
The new community centre in Harris is to be named Talla Na Mara, it’s been announced by the West Harris Trust. The name was suggested by Alex Passmore, a pupil at Leverhulme Memorial School, winning him a £100 voucher to spend in the café restaurant when it opens later this summer. The Community Enterprise Centre Talla Na Mara is at Nisabost in West Harris, and as well as a café will offer hook-ups for motor caravans, business spaces and a performance hall. There are also to be two greenhouses for community growing projects.
Weather disruption to ferries
Forecast strong winds today mean that the 08am sailing from Castlebay and the 1:40pm sailing from Oban have been cancelled. The Sound of Harris services between Berneray and Leverburgh have been placed on amber alert. We’ll bring you updates this morning as we receive them.
‘Fastest run’ deadline approaches
The Pentland Road 5k and 10k Run is coming up in just two weeks’ time and the deadline for registration is almost here. Billed as the ‘fastest run in the Western Isles’, the course takes in the whole of the Pentland Road with a gradual downhill gradient, leading to record finishing times. It’s also known as a sociable race, run on Friday evening and finishing with a barbecue for entrant and supporters. The race is sponsored by Macleod and Macleod Butchers, and is also the Club Championship race for Stornoway Running and Athletics Club. Entries are strictly limited to 80 for the 10k and 40 for the 5k race, and entrants must be over 14. The entry must be made online via the SRAC website and entries close a week today, Friday April 8th.
Lots of Easter activities
With school Easter holidays beginning today, there’s lots of activity for youngsters being offered to fill the holidays with excitement. At Lewis Sports Centre the Easter Motiv8 programme includes Book Bug session for three and four-year-olds, multisports, football, rugby and fun sessions in the pool. In Harris there are also multisports and other activities, and for secondary age pupils there will be rugby, football and mountain-biking sessions. For full timetables go to the Comhairle’s website or pick up a leaflet at sports centres.
Shinty away
Lewis Camanachd are away to Strathspey tomorrow, for a big match at Grantown Grammar School, where both teams are looking for their first points of the season. Throw-up is at 1.30pm.