Local News for Wednesday 9th November 2016

Foodbank use soars
The Trussell Trust has reported a 22% increase in emergency food support distributed from the Eilean Siar foodbank, with 194 three-day supplies of emergency food given to people in crisis since April, compared to 159 at the same time last year. Isles MSP described the news as ‘simply shameful’ and said:  “I would like to commend those involved with the Western Isles foodbank for the work they do. While it is deeply regrettable that such a facility in needed, we can take great heart from the commitment and compassion of those who volunteer their time to help.”

Huge boost for Bethesda
Bethesda hospice and care home has received the first installment of their biggest pledged donation ever, as Point and Sandwick Trust handed over a cheque for £25,000 last week. The donation is the first installment of a promised £55,000 a year for 25 years and has been wholeheartedly welcomed by Bethesda fundraisers. Finance officer DR Macdonald, who collected the cheque from Point and Sandwick Trust, said: “They have pledged £55,000 for 25 years. We've had nothing like that since we opened. In the past, every year we just started from scratch. It's about a tenth of what we have to raise every year. We still have to raise over £200,000, but the good thing is we now have a cushion to start the year.”

Facelift for Tolsta memorial
North Tolsta war memorial is one of twelve memorials across Scotland promised a facelift after a grant from the War Memorials Trust, announced this week. The memorial, at the crossroads at North Tolsta,  commemorates losses in the First and Second World Wars, and during the Suez Crisis of 1951 to 56. Nearly £3,000 has been awarded to re-point the stonework and gently clean and protect the brass plaque which records the names of the dead.

Space comes to Stornoway
Lews Castle College UHI is heading for the outer limits with a frontier-pushing Space Week programme designed to showcase cutting-edge research in aerospace engineering at the Stornoway campus of UHI. The programme, from November 22nd to 24th, offers something to stimulate minds at every stage of education, from primary school to postgraduate. There will be talks from prominent researchers working for the European and British Space Agencies, and a practical day on Tuesday November 22nd when kids’ clubs and school pupils get the chance to build and test their own rocket car. The whole programme is available via the Lews Castle College UHI website at www.lews.uhi.ac.uk
Call for help to save ‘oldest building’
Lewis business BeSpoke Bicycles is calling for community support to help save one of Stornoway’s oldest buildings, Glen House in Lews Castle grounds.
The company has planned major restoration work since they leased the building in January, with plans for a bicycle repair and hire shop, and a café. Glen House was built around 1844, while it’s thought that there has been a house on the site since 1785. It’s now in a ruinous state and, despite work by BeSpoke, needs much more than they can afford to bring it into use again. You can find out more and support the crowdfunding at www.crowdfunder.co.uk

Louise crosses NY finish line
And Stornoway Police officer Louise Henderson is due home today after she made it across the finishing line of the New York Marathon on Sunday in five hours and 30 minutes. She’s also topped the £1,000 fundraising target she set herself when she set out to support the PC Nicola Hughes Memorial Fund. Louise said: “I had a great time – the atmosphere was fantastic and I loved every minute. I even had a day to do some sightseeing as my legs weren’t too sore the next day.”