Local News for Thursday 17th November 2016

Energy row pits community against Comhairle
A row has broken out over renewable energy projects in the islands, after a statement released by Cllr Angus McCormack this week accused the Comhairle of ‘consistently ignoring’ community windfarm projects. Cllr McCormack, who is chair of Point and Sandwick Trust, urged colleagues at Comhairle nan Eilean Siar to "start backing the community energy movement" and to “stop putting all their eggs in one basket” by supporting larger projects under development. In his statement, he said:  "Neither LWP nor The Stornoway Trust has built a single turbine in 13 years of trying. Meanwhile the communities have invested nearly £30million, built 15 turbines from Barra to Ness and are distributing £2million per year in community benefit. By any measure, this is a real success story.” Comhairle nan Eilean Siar have strongly refuted his claims. Comhairle Leader Angus Campbell said: "Over the recent past the Comhairle has invested £1.5m in community renewable projects the length and breadth of the Outer Hebrides.  In the course of this year to date Community Energy Scotland have assisted some 40 community organisations.  It would not have been possible for then to deliver this support and advice to potential community generators were it not for the assistance of the Comhairle.  Ironically one of the supported community organisations was Point and Sandwick Trust”. Cllr Campbell went on to say that arguments between community and commercial wind farm companies were irrelevant. He said: "There is no such thing as a community or commercial inter-connector – there is simply the need for a proper robust grid connection to the National Grid.  The case that the Comhairle is making for the inter-connector is just as much about ensuring connections for new community organisations as it is for large scale projects.  The more positive way is to work together to achieve the big renewables win that the Outer Hebrides public deserves.”

Fishy diet for Uist pupils
Over 260 Pupils from Benbecula and Barra will take part in the Seafood in Schools roadshow this week. On Thursday Benbecula secondary school pupils from Sgoil Lionacleit will be joined by primary pupils from Iochdar, Balivanich, Sgoil Uibhist a Tuath and Daliburgh at workshops to learn where seafood comes from, how it gets to their plates, and why eating seafood is an important part of a healthy diet. The same workshops will be delivered for Bara pupils at Castlebay Community School on Friday.  Pupils will also be able to see and handle a variety of fresh and live species including crab, lobster, langoustine, cod and squid. In Benbecula, Calum MacDonald, manager of the Cheesebay Marine Harvest site, will talk pupils through the life cycle of a salmon, whilst in Barra, Christina MacNeil from BarraAtlantic will lend a hand for the day. Shellfish and fish have been provided by Kallin Seafoods from Grimsay and BarraAtlantic. Samples of ready to eat oil-rich fish supplied by local fishmonger, The Hebridean Smokehouse will also be available for tasting.
Local charity asks for votes
The Leanne Fund is asking for island votes to help expand their successful ‘Get Active’ service to even more Cystic Fibrosis patients. Voting for local charity contenders is currently open in the Aviva Community Fund, but votes have to be in by noon this Friday. To give your vote to The Leanne Fund visit www.community-fund.aviva.co.uk and search for the Leanne Fund

Youth club AGM
The Lewis and Harris Youth Clubs Association will be holding their Annual General Meeting on Thursday at 7pm in the Bayhead Bridge Centre, Stornoway.  All are welcome to attend,

This Saturday sees the Hebridean Men’s Cancer Support Men’s 5k walk and jog - for men and boys aged over 12, to raise awareness of male cancers. All money raised goes to support the excellent work of this group. It doesn’t matter if you’re a couch potato or a marathon elite, walk, jog or run, you can help raise funds to fight male cancers. You can also support the event by being a volunteer for the day. Forms are available from Lewis Sports Centre and are to be returned by Thursday no later than 12noon.
This Saturday also sees a swimming gala at Lewis Sports Centre in conjunction with the Lewis and Harris Sports Council and Swim Western Isles. Events for all ages from under 10s to adults start at 4.30pm and the event should be finished by 8pm. For more information get in touch with Steven Munro, Community Sports Development Officer on 01851 822785.