Local News for Wednesday 25th October 2017

Celebrating the ultimate in books
The Hebridean Book Festival, Faclan, begins today, with a programme celebrating the ancient idea of Ultima Thule, the place beyond the borders of the known world. A four-day programme of film, lectures, book launches and events for children will open up this mysterious world, bringing ghostly happenings to the autumn evenings, and discovery of all kinds of extreme environments, from mountain tops to lost worlds. Today’s programme opens with two films, one exploring the mysterious inner world of South Uist grass-weaver Angus MacPhee, and the second Werner Herzog’s masterpiece, Aguirre: The Wrath of God, following a band of conquistadors as they search for El Dorado. Later this evening Western Isles writers’ group launches their new anthology, Beyond Words, and there’s a discussion of the place of photography in the work of Stornoway-based publishers Acair, who celebrate their 40th anniversary this year. For a full programme of the next four days, go to An Lanntair’s website and look for Faclan.

Carloway ask for votes
Carloway Community Association are asking for help to win funds from a community grant scheme set up by Aviva Insurance. The community centre in Carloway needs new and refurbished kitchen equipment and to sand down, reline and seal the flooring in the community hall. A community association spokesman said: “These are simple but essential improvements but they are costly, and will enable the association to deliver a better catering service to local people from our cafe, and allow more extensive use of the hall for sports activities and functions.” The decision on who gets Aviva funding is made by public vote, and voting opened yesterday, with a one-week slot to muster all the votes needed to go through to the next round. To vote follow the link here https://community-fund.aviva.co.uk/voting/project/view/17-5850

Group surgery innovations
Group Medical Practice has introduced a number of updates at the health centre on Springfield Road, and via their Habost surgery in Ness, including an automated telephone service which allows patients to book their appointments out of hours. Jennifer Ellis, Practice Manager, said, “Our new automated phone service on 703145 means patients won’t have to wait until the practice opens at 08.30am or in a queue to speak to a receptionist. The automated service will also help us to release extra appointments in the evening and early in the morning.” New patients are being urged to attend a patient health check and it’s also flu vaccination season, with appointments available over the next couple of months. To order repeat prescriptions you can now use email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., as well as telephoning the Practice’s dedicated prescription line, 701687. Group Medical Practice will be issuing double prescriptions between 20th November and 3rd December, so patients have enough medication whilst surgeries are closed for the public holidays on 25th and 26th December and 1st and 2nd January. The Stornoway surgery also features a new Health Check Machine in its waiting area, free to use and giving a print-out of height, weight, BMI and blood pressure.