Local News for Thursday 11th October 2018

The chance to chat with professionals about your child’s development is on offer as the NHS Western Isles (NHSWI) Allied Health Professional (AHP) team invite all to a series of free and informal Child Development Drop-In sessions.
The service has been created for parents and carers who wish to seek advice regarding their child’s development, and has been set up to give parents improved access to professional advice and early intervention.
Families may want to ask about their child’s general development, their child’s behaviours, the way their child moves, or their communication and language development. At these informal sessions, where no appointment is required, parents will have the opportunity to speak to a Physiotherapist, Occupational Therapist and a Speech and Language Therapist about their child’s development.
Providing general information, advice, support and helpful tips, the AHP Child Development Drop-In sessions are held from 10.30am to 12.30am in the Soft Play Area at Lewis Sports Centre, Stornoway.

Read more: Local News for Thursday 11th October 2018

Local News for Wednesday 10th October 2018

The announcement of the preliminary rounds of the National Gaelic Schools Debate competition has been made and the 2018 competition looks set to be another excellent year. The first two rounds will be held at the Town Hall in Stornoway, on Tuesday 6th and Wednesday 7th of November 2018.

Last year, for the first time ever the first rounds from Stornoway were available online, through e-Sgoil’s You Tube channel and the Committee will be making sure that this year’s first round will also be live streamed to a potentially global audience.
Sixteen teams from fourteen schools are due to compete in the 2018 competition. Following on from the positive feedback received from the new competition format, all the schools will participate in debates over the two days, with the four teams with the highest points, across the two days, progressing to the final stages which will be held in Edinburgh on Tuesday and Wednesday the 27th and 28th of November 2018. The Committee welcome Agnes Rennie and Boyd Robertson who will join Iain Stephen Morrison as judges.

Read more: Local News for Wednesday 10th October 2018

Local News for Tuesday 9th October 2018

Putting local communities in the driving seat of shaping future services is the aim of the SNP Group at the Comhairle. The Comhairle is currently preparing its response to the Review of Local Governance being conducted by the Scottish Government and COSLA. A report with a draft final submission will come before councillors in December.

Recently, the full Comhairle backed an amendment by SNP Group Leader Gordon Murray on this matter.
Cllr Murray also called for the final Comhairle submission to introduce ‘the widest possible flexible and home-working arrangements to meet the needs of the Comhairle and the needs of an increasingly ageing workforce.

The amendment included a point on the re-introduction of the provision for itinerant music/art teachers to be considered through the community conversations.
Comhairle Leader Roddie Mackay indicated he would accept the amendment with the omission of that particular point.

Highlands & Islands Labour Regional MSP Rhoda Grant has commented on the RBS recent independent review on rural area bank closures, she said;
‘Out of the 62 earmarked for closure by RBS only two have been reprieved. This highlights what we all knew and that was that they were merely getting a stay of execution.

Read more: Local News for Tuesday 9th October 2018

Local News for Monday 8th October 2018

SNP MSP Alasdair Allan raised the issue of social security assessments in island communities recently during a sitting of the Scottish Parliament.
The islands MSP was questioning new Cabinet Secretary for Social Security Shirley-Anne Somerville about how assessments will be delivered in island and other rural areas to meet their distinctive needs.
Certain powers on social security are now devolved to the Scottish Parliament, with legislation being passed earlier this year to set out how 11 benefits, such as Winter Fuel Payments and Personal Independence Payments, will be delivered.
Commenting, Alasdair Allan MSP said: “It is vitally important that Scotland’s new social security agency avoids the mistakes of the UK Government and recognises the challenges that face people in island communities. The UK Government’s approach to welfare has been truly horrific. It is unfortunate that 85% of social security payments will still be controlled by Westminster, but I hope Scotland is able to put dignity and respect at the heart of delivering the limited welfare benefits we now have control of.’

Read more: Local News for Monday 8th October 2018

Local News for Tuesday 25th September 2018

The Scottish Parliament has renewed its commitment to Gaelic with the publication of its new Gaelic Language plan. The plan sets out how the Scottish Parliament will promote and support the language over the next five years.
The Parliament's Presiding Officer, Ken Macintosh MSP, said the plan demonstrates the value and respect Holyrood has for the Gaelic language.
Mr Macintosh said:
‘For more than a decade, Scots law has recognised the cultural and historic significance of Gaelic, and the vital part it plays in our nation's age-old story and identity. As someone born in the Highlands and the son of a native Gaelic speaker, I was proud to be one of those who voted to pass the Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005.
‘In this our third language plan, our focus is on public services and activities in Gaelic that provide a clear offer to the public, staff and MSPs alike. When it comes to Gaelic at the Parliament, we want people to see it, hear it, and use it.’

Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) is asking Scotland’s consumers to take part in a national survey on issues relating to food - including cost, choice, and access.
It comes as CAS publishes new research showing that one third of Scots sometimes go without food because they can’t afford it. And two thirds of those who are worried about Brexit cite the cost of food and other essentials as their main concern.
CAS Chief Executive Derek Mitchell says,
‘CAS clients often tell us how hard it is for them to put food on the table. Cost is certainly a major concern.
With the Scottish Government pledging a new Food programme recently, we thought this would be an excellent time to give Scots a chance to talk about their experience as shoppers and consumers of food.
Maintaining a healthy balanced diet should be easily attainable for Scots, and quality food should be available at affordable prices whatever your location. This is clearly not the case and we need to fix that.
We want everyone to complete this short survey. It only takes a few minutes and you don’t have to give your name. The Food on the Table survey can be completed online at www.cas.org.uk/foodonthetable. People can also get a paper copy from the local CAS office in Stornoway.

A ban on the dredging of seaweed around Scotland’s coastline may have become more likely after a Holyrood committee recently voted in favour of a Green MSP’s amendment to the Scottish Crown Estate Bill.
The amendment from Mark Ruskell, the Scottish Greens’ environment spokesperson, will outlaw any form of kelp harvesting which prevents the plant from re-growing, if voted on at Stage 3.
Marine Biopolymers, is bidding to dredge for wild seaweed off the west coast by using what they call Norwegian “harvesting vessels” that will then travel to a processing plant in Mallaig.
Mark Ruskell says his amendment will stop dredging and prevent a “devastating impact” on many species of fish that live in kelp forests.