Local News for Tuesday 18th September 2018

VisitScotland, in partnership with Outer Hebrides Tourism, has recently announced a new approach in the delivery of visitor information in the Outer Hebrides.
A formal agreement has been reached which will ensure that visitors to the Outer Hebrides have a varied, convenient and co-ordinated range of channels to obtain information – encouraging them to stay longer, spend more and spread the benefits of tourism across the Outer Hebrides all year round.
Plans are now being put in place to enhance the current iCentre in Stornoway; create a new year-round information partnership in Tarbert with a retail business; develop new and enhanced information partnerships in the Uists, supported by a dedicated member of staff based seasonally in one partnership outlet; and develop a stronger presence on Barra with the local tourism industry for the 2019 season.
In line with its plan to improve connectivity for visitors, Outer Hebrides Tourism also hopes to roll out Wi-Fi across various partnership locations throughout the islands.
In addition, the new approach seeks to provide an appropriate presence for the Outer Hebrides in mainland VisitScotland iCentres such as Ullapool, Oban, Portree and Inverness.

Read more: Local News for Tuesday 18th September 2018

Local News for Monday 17th September 2018

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan has voiced his hopes for the future of the Arnish yard in the Isle of Lewis.
The islands MSP was speaking after meeting with Sean Power, Vice President for Business Development of DF Barnes, to discuss the company’s vision for the future of Arnish.
DF Barnes acquired BiFab – the company operating Arnish - earlier this year in a deal brokered by the Scottish Government.
Commenting, Alasdair Allan MSP said: ‘I am very encouraged by the commitment shown by the company in their efforts to bring work back to Arnish. There does seem to be a recognition of the huge asset now at the company’s disposal, in terms of the skills and attributes of the local workforce’.
Dr Allan concluded: ‘As the local MSP for the area, I have continued to stress that Arnish is uniquely placed to capitalise on future manufacturing opportunities in the expanding Scottish renewables sector. There is now every reason to be optimistic for the future and for jobs to return.’

Read more: Local News for Monday 17th September 2018

Local News for Friday 14th September 2018

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP, Rhoda Grant raised the question of the funding deal struck by the Government and CMAL for the MV Loch Seaforth directly with the newly appointed Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands, Paul Wheelhouse in the Scottish Parliament recently.
Mrs Grant asked the Minister, " To ask the Scottish Government whether it plans to investigate the financing of the Calmac vessel, MV Loch Seaforth, which is now owned by Lloyds Banking Group, after a lease deal was agreed at a reported cost to the public purse of £53 million. The Minister responded by saying a “tender process for a lease was undertaken by that Caledonian Maritime Assests Ltd” he went on to say “Audit Scotland did not raise anything of concern regarding the procurement of the MV Loch Seaforth. The Scottish Government therefore has no plans to investigate the financing of the MV Loch Seaforth.”
The MSP concluded, ‘This fight is far from over as funding, late ferry replacement, capacity, lifeline services, tourism and ordinary island life is being treated with no consideration whatsoever by this Government as the ageing threadbare fleet of CMAL fails to cope.’

Read more: Local News for Friday 14th September 2018

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.

Read more: Local News for Thursday 13th September 2018

Local News for Tuesday 11th September 2018

The NHS Western Isles (NHSWI) Patient Centred Care Programme team are delighted with the success of the first video conferencing (VC) haematology patient appointment which took place in the newly established NHS ‘Near Me’ dedicated VC room at Western Isles Hospital recently.
NHS ‘Near Me’ was first pioneered by NHS Highland and is now a collaborative programme between NHS Highland and NHS Western Isles. It uses the very popular and robust ‘Attend Anywhere’ video conferencing system which has a virtual waiting room environment, making it as close to a traditional consultation as possible.
The new NHSWI service has been developed to provide health care as close as possible to patients’ homes by offering appointments with consultants and other specialists via video link.

Read more: Local News for Tuesday 11th September 2018