Local News for Thursday 19th July 2018

Sponsors Support Essential For Hebcelt’s Success
Caroline Maclennan, Director of the Hebridean Celtic festival has spoken about how The success of HebCelt relies heavily on Sponsors support and the goodwill of the Community. ‘As a grassroots event almost entirely managed and produced by voluntary effort, that ongoing community support is vital. Such a major undertaking would be impossible without people, businesses and organisations giving their time and effort in kind when needed, sometimes unexpectedly.
‘We also need funding and we appreciate all the help we get from bodies such as Creative Scotland, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, who have been long-time supporters and help us fulfil our mission to promote traditional music, the Gaelic language and the wider island culture.
‘To supplement our core public funding, we lean on private sector support to ensure our programme is as strong and diverse as possible to appeal to all sections of the community.

“This week we will celebrate our long-standing and continuing partnership with CalMac. The Loch Seaforth, which will take thousands of festival-goers to and from Stornoway over the next few days, has been ‘renamed’ the HebCelt Ferry for the duration of the event. Loganair has offered discounted travel to help music fans get to HebCelt and also sponsored flights for members of Blazin’ Fiddles.
The Islands Stage has been sponsored for the fourth successive year by Lewis Wind Power and the acoustic stage is again supported by Lews College UHI, both highlighting our strong relationships with local organisations.

Among those to play on the Islands Stage will be Iona Fyfe, the winner of HebCelt’s inaugural Next Steps young talent contest which was run in conjunction with Black Bay Studio in Great Bernera and which offered a free recording session as part of the winners’ prize. What do these sponsors and supporters get in return? HebCelt repays investors in many different ways. ‘Economically, it generates millions of pounds each year for the islands by attracting an international audience of some 16,000. That income cascades through Stornoway and beyond, affecting almost every local business’.
‘Culturally, it promotes and encourages traditional music and literally provides a stage for young talent to progress; it raises the profile of the indigenous Gaelic language. Environmentally, it is pioneering in encouraging green initiatives, such as this year’s ban on single use plastic.
‘And socially, the festival’s feel-good, family-friendly atmosphere helps the wider mission to promote the islands as a place to work, stay and visit which, in turn, can stimulate in-migration and inward investment. HebCelt offers something for everyone and by working together we all reap the rewards’

Spaceport selection ‘hugely disappointing’
Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP Angus MacNeil says it is ‘hugely disappointing’ that North Uist has missed out on selection as the site of the UK’s first spaceport. Mr MacNeil was involved in discussions on the proposal with the Scottish Government and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar earlier this year. He said: “It is hugely disappointing that North Uist has not been chosen as the site for the UK’s first spaceport. “Uist is an ideal site due to its location and also because of the expertise and experience already in place at the Hebrides Range.”