Local News for Wednesday 21st June 2017

Iolaire remembrance events discussed
The commemoration of 100 years since the Great War will culminate at the end of next year with events to mark the centenary of the Iolaire disaster, and preparations for anniversary are already well underway. The passenger yacht Iolaire was wrecked on the Beasts of Holm in the early hours of January 1st 1919, while bringing returning servicemen home to Lewis and Harris after the end of the war. The Scottish Commemorations Panel has indicated that the remembrance of the HMY Iolaire disaster will be the culmination of the official programme of commemorative events, with Comhairle nan Eilean Siar asked to host a civic remembrance event on 31 December 2018 into 1 January 2019. There is a proposal for a new sculpture, a project being led by An Lanntair. There could also be a second sculpture in Stornoway town centre and some communities wish to place a smaller version of the final sculpture in each community which suffered losses. Today’s policy and resources committee is to look at these proposals, and at other works including reinstatement of the path to the existing memorial.

Fire tragedies spur review
Tragic house fires which have led to the deaths of elderly people have led the Comhairle's Audit and Scrutiny Committee to look at a review of alarms and telecare equipment across the Western Isles. About 900 alarms are in place around the islands, some 700 of these in Lewis and Harris. They include door sensors, chair and under-carpet sensors as well as call-for-help buttons, all designed to help keep people safe in their homes. Committee chair Cllr Angus Morrison said: "Although our systems have worked as expected, this is an opportunity for the review of processes across the Western Isles, particularly in relation to installation, maintenance and testing of equipment on a consistent basis. The role and use of Telecare has substantially grown and we want to ensure that people feel as safe as possible in their homes. We are very aware that these alarms play a big part in that."

Call for action on Stornoway Primary
Primary and nursery children will end up ‘crammed in’ to inadequate accommodation at Stornoway Primary School, due to a lack of planning ahead, according to Councillor Rae Mackenzie. At last week’s education committee Cllr Mackenzie asked for a report on the provision of Primary and Nursery accommodation, highlighting overcrowding, the lack of a proper gym, too few classrooms and no decent sports pitch among the problems at Stornoway Primary. Building of new social housing would lead to greater problems in the future, he said. Cllr Mackenzie said: “When Sandwickhill School was closed and there were 300 pupils in Stornoway Primary, all sorts of promises were made to the Sandwick community that the pupils would be going to better facilities. This was not true. The pupil numbers are expected to rise to 460. In addition the nursery has 122 children registered, but with the increase in childcare hours from the Scottish government in 2020, this will substantially increase. Where are these children going to go? Are they going to be crammed into an already over-crowded school? The staff are fantastic but they are working under circumstances that are getting more cramped by the day. Urgent action needs to be taken.”

Summer solstice yoga
Hebrides Dance and Wellbeing Studio are celebrating the Summer Solstice today with a special yoga session. They say that the Summer Solstice is a perfect opportunity to celebrate the summer, the sunlight and the longest day of the year with yoga. A sun salutation is followed by a "mandala" or circle of poses to celebrate the sun. The class is on at the studio at Stornoway Golf Club from 6.45 - 8pm and will include a short meditation after a strong and powerful, energetic class creating lots of heat in the body. A few spaces are still available

Ladies shinty open try-out
Camanachd Leodhais (Lewis Camanachd) are holding an open ‘come and try’ session for ladies today from 5-7pm at Stornoway Primary pitch. This ladies only session is being run by Katie Drain, Development Officer for the Camanachd Association and is free of charge. All equipment is provided so ladies can just drop in at any time to have a try out at the sport.