Local News for Thursday 13th September 2018

September is officially Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and Stornoway Rugby Club (SRC) has joined forces with NHS Western Isles to tackle the stigma associated with suicide and raise awareness of local and national support groups.
The Club – both male and female teams – intend to fundraise for local mental health charities at forthcoming September & October games.
Chris Adams, a Winger for SRC, who also works as a local Ambulance Technician, said:
"Both local rugby teams want to highlight the importance of talking to someone, be it a family member, a friend, the Samaritans, or even a stranger. We want to get across the message that suicide is preventable and we encourage everyone to come along to the matches to show their support."
Members of the public are encouraged to attend the upcoming rugby games where the Club will also be wearing armbands depicting the colour of the mental health charity it is fundraising for that week. Charity wristbands will also be available for sale, as well as useful information on how individuals can help to reduce the stigma associated to suicide prevention.

For further information on how you can become involved in suicide prevention, please visit Choose Life at: www.chooselife.net or contact the Samaritans by telephoning 116 123 or visiting samaritans.org

Labour in the Western Isles has demanded an urgent statement from Transport Minister Michael Matheson on the “current shambles of island ferry services”
Alison MacCorquodale, the party’s prospective Parliamentary candidate, called on Mr Matheson to explain what plans – if any – the Scottish Government has to relieve the present situation.
She said: ‘recently again, the islands have suffered massive disruption and loss of business due to CalMac break-downs and diversions. It should be clear even in Edinburgh that the existing fleet is not up to the challenges it faces.
“With the recent news of further delays to the delivery of a new vessel for the Tarbert-Uig-Lochmaddy routes, it must be accepted that immediate measures are required. At least one vessel must be leased in order to provide back-up and to ease the pressure.
“Much of this stems from the failure of the Scottish Government to plan for anticipated demand, to pursue a reliable procurement policy and to react with any sense of urgency as the problems developed”
She also called for an islands summit on ferry services to which the MSP and MP should be invited with “empty chairs” if required.

Police Scotland has officially launched "Trauma Teddies" in the Highlands & Islands with partners from the charity ‘Safe, Strong and Free’.
It follows the generous donation of more than 800 teddies, which have been hand knitted and crocheted.

The little bears will be sent throughout the division and used to provide comfort to children who come into contact with police officers in traumatic circumstances.
The initiative has been organised in the Highlands & Islands in partnership with local children's charity Safe, Strong and Free.

Inspector Judy Hill said: "We have been completely overwhelmed by the generosity of everyone who has given their time to knitting Trauma Teddies.
"Teddies will be kept at police stations and in vehicles and officers will now have the option of giving a child one in the hope that it can provide a little comfort in what would be a difficult or upsetting situation.

In addition to the new ‘Safer Strangers’ book; the teddies will also come with a postcard which provides contact details for Parentline, Children 1st’s helpline and online family support service.