Local News for Monday 24th December 2018

UISTWIND NEARING TARGET OF £350,000 FOR TURBINES

The fundraising campaign to build a community-owned wind farm in North Uist has just around £5,000 to go to reach the minimum target.
UistWind needs to raise £350,000 by the end of this month in order to be able to build its two 900kW turbines at Criongrabhal, near Clachan-na-Luib, as planned in 2019 and return a decent amount of money back to the community for investing in good causes.

The project is being driven by North Uist Development Company (Trading), which is raising the money through a Community Share Offer and a newly-launched Crowdfunder.

Under the share offer, there are a range of benefits including a target return of four per cent on investment. The Crowdfunder offers smaller rewards in exchange for donations – but has no set minimum for investment, unlike the share offer, which begins at £250.

Financial close for the project is 31 December 2018 and the share offer and crowdfunding campaign will both remain open until then.

UistWind has full planning permission and a license to sell its electricity to the National Grid. There is also space reserved on the current cable for its power to be exported to the mainland.

For more information, visit www.uistwind.com. To view the Crowdfunder, visit https://crowdfunder.co.uk/uistwind.


VISUALISING THE IOLAIRE 100 YEARS ON

Researchers have created a digital visualisation revealing the untold stories of those who died following the sinking of HMY Iolaire 100 years ago.

To mark the 100th anniversary of this tragedy, researchers from both Abertay & Highlands and Islands Universities have developed an online application, Visualising the Iolaire, which provides a virtual map of the disaster. It details those that died, identifies the communities directly and indirectly impacted, while also documenting how people have been memorialised on the island.

The app can be accessed via https://iolaire.itch.io/the-iolaire

Dr Iain Donald from Abertay University said:
‘The original aim of the project was to look at how the impact of a single event can transform a community.

‘The story of the Iolaire is especially poignant as it occurred after the war was over and was bringing sailors home to be with friends and family for New Year in 1919.’

The project was produced in partnership with the Kinloch Historical Society, Sandwick Community Council and Museum nan Eilean – which is the Heritage Service of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.


MSP HIGHLIGHTS SOARING COST OF PRIVATE RENTING

The cost of private rented housing in the Highlands and Islands has soared, official statistics show. People are being hit with average monthly rents increasing substantially over the last year in many areas.

Recent figures released by the Scottish Government show huge increases across the Highlands and Islands, over the past eight years such as:

One bedroom rentals in Highlands and Islands increased by 13.4% from 2010 to 2018
Two bedroom properties by 15.8%, a 1.3% rise in 2017/2018
Three bedroom properties by 19.3%, 2.5% rise in 2017/2018
Four bedroom properties by 17.5%, a 6.5% rise in 2017/18

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP Rhoda Grant said it was clear that a radical change was needed to end Scotland’s housing crisis. She said: ‘Almost half of all people made homeless last year due to rent arrears fell into debt with a private landlord’.