Local News for Wednesday 17th October 2018

The seas around the Hebrides are a global hotspot for cetaceans and basking sharks, and need better protection, said the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust as it released a new marine atlas capturing key discoveries made over the past 15 years.
The first Hebridean Marine Mammal Atlas showcases findings by the charity’s scientists and citizen science volunteers during annual research expeditions on its specialized yacht Silurian.
Television presenter Liz Bonnin, patron of the trust, said: “It is increasingly clear that the Hebrides is a truly special place for cetaceans and basking sharks, and that we need to do far more to protect them and their environment. I had the great pleasure of sailing on Silurian and I am thrilled to be able to lend my support to such an outstanding organisation which works directly towards these goals.”

So far, 23 cetacean species – a quarter of all known globally – have been recorded in the Hebrides. The research has also established that the Hebrides supports the UK’s only resident population of killer whales or orca. The Hebridean Marine Mammal Atlas can be downloaded at hwdt.org/hebridean-marine-mammal-atlas.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar MP Angus MacNeil has welcomed a funding boost for local charities.
Each year, Corra Foundation distributes just under £1 million through its Henry Duncan Grants programme to grassroots charities working in their local communities.
Hebrides Alpha Project has been awarded a £4,000 grant towards the costs of travel and insurance and Volunteering Hebrides has been awarded a grant of £7,000 towards the Volunteer expenses of the befriending project.
Commenting, Mr MacNeil said:
“I am delighted these grassroots charities are receiving these funds, enabling them to continue their great work in my constituency. Many of the Corra Foundation Henry Duncan Grants go on staff and running costs like this, meaning they are a lifeline for local charities in this tough financial climate.”
Applications can be made every two months to the Henry Duncan Grants. If charities are interested in applying they can find out more on the Corra Foundation website or by calling Corra Foundation on 0131 444 4020.

The University of the Highlands and Islands has announced its 2018 Student of the Year winners, with Crisdean Saunders from Lews Castle College UHI named the Further Education Student of the Year.

Crisdean Saunders (27) from Stornoway has completed a horticultural programme at Lews Castle College UHI. He was nominated for the Further Education Student of the Year award by his tutor, David Bell.

David explained: ‘Crisdean approached us in 2016 as he was looking for something to do following a period of inactivity. He decided to join the horticulture course. Crisdean proved to have a great interest in horticulture, always asking questions to further his knowledge. He would take in seeds and cuttings and grow them with great success and was happy to help others and take on leadership roles. He has now secured a job setting up allotments in a village not far from where he stays and helping older people to grow vegetables - a fantastic achievement!’

Crisdean commented: “When I was told I won this award I was very surprised. I started the course as something to do and didn’t expect to find a job or to win any awards.”