Local News for Wednesday 17th May 2017

Council chiefs
Uig Councillor Norman ‘Dokus’ Macdonald has been elected as the Convenor of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar for a second term, receiving 20 of the 31 councillors’ votes at yesterday morning’s full meeting of council. The role of convenor of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar includes diplomatic and practical duties, such as hosting civic receptions and other events in the Western Isles, and representing the islands at functions on the mainland. At the same meeting, Stornoway North Councillor Roddy Mackay was elected to the more political role of council leader, succeeding Angus Campbell, who stood down at the recent election. Cllr Mackay received 18 votes against Cllr Donald Manford’s 13. Further committee chairmanships and other roles were also decided yesterday, and will be settled today at the last of this round of council meetings.

School fun day cancelled
Stornoway primary school parent council announced yesterday that a fun day planned at the school for Saturday June 10th would not go ahead due to lack of volunteers. An open meeting for volunteers on Monday evening attracted only eight parents, with the parent council saying at least 50 volunteers are needed on the day. The parent council said on their Facebook page: “The decision has been made that the Fun Day cannot go ahead due to lack of volunteers. As far as we're aware, this is the first time this event has had to be cancelled”.
Defibrillators at salmon sites
The Scottish Salmon Company has installed defibrillators at every site in the Western Isles,  after an employee suffered a cardiac arrest while at work in Argyll last summer. The actions of quick-thinking colleagues saved the man’s life using CPR and an onsite defibrillator. Now the company has installed defibrillators at all 60 of its sites across the West Coast of Scotland and the Hebrides. There are 220 SSC staff in the Outer Hebrides, all of whom will receive specialist training on how to use the defibrillators in the event of any life-threatening emergency situations.  Craig Anderson, Chief Executive said: “With many of our sites located in remote rural areas it’s vital we have the necessary equipment in place in the event of an emergency. We have also reviewed our first aid kits and procedures to ensure the 220 SSC staff members throughout the Outer Hebrides are fully equipped.”
Top up tourism cash – candidate
Scottish Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Na h-Eileanan an Iar in next month’s General Election is calling for a special tourism top-up fund for the islands to improve facilities for visitors. Ealasaid MacDonald said that the islands make a ‘unique contribution’ to the national tourism industry, with every Scottish tourism brochure featuring island hills, beaches and especially the Barra Airport landing strip. Mrs MacDonald said: “Those working in the tourism sector in the islands should benefit directly from government investment. As we seek to address the imminent issue of depopulation it is essential our islands are given additional resources and investment which will allow our young people to flourish and our vulnerable to be protected.”
Also standing for the Western Isles constituency are John Cormack for the Scottish Christian party, Scottish Conservative and Unionist candidate Daniel McCroskrie, Scottish Lib Dem candidate James Paterson and Scottish National Party candidate Angus Brendan MacNeil.
Baby bank for families in need
Stornoway’s Salvation Army branch are to launch a ‘Baby Bank’ in response to requests for help from families who are struggling with the costs of having a child. Commanding officer Lieutenant Emma Newton said difficulty in getting baby clothes, toiletries and equipment in the islands, coupled with the high cost of such items, meant island families were struggling financially. The baby bank will support families of children from birth to three years old, relying heavily on donors giving good quality items including clothes, nursery equipment, nappies, wipes and toiletries.  Lt. Emma said: ”Our donations so far have come from parents whose children have outgrown clothes which have barely been worn, and from others who have added a packet of nappies or bottle of baby shampoo to their shopping baskets each week.” The Salvation Army intend that the Baby Bank will operate like the food bank, open from 10am-12pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays, to accept donations and to provide assistance. During opening hours there will be tea, coffee and biscuits available as well as a safe place for children to play. Lt. Emma said “If you or anyone you know in the Western Isles could benefit from this then please do not hesitate or be embarrassed to contact us. Talk to your health visitor if you prefer, but please don’t struggle. We already have items to distribute and are willing to pass them out to anyone who needs them across the Western Isles.”