Local News for Monday 24th September 2018

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has come out top of the total participation cohort for 16-19 year olds in the 2018 Annual Participation Measure Report released by Skills Development Scotland (SDS).
The Annual Participation Measure Report is used to inform policy, planning and service delivery, and to assess progress in the delivery of Opportunities for all, the Scottish Government’s commitment to offer a place in learning or training to every 16 to 19-year-old in Scotland not in employment, education or training.
For the Comhairle nan Eilean Siar area, the 2018 publication shows an increase in participation rates amongst young people aged 16 to 19 with the proportion of young people in education, training or employment increasing to 97.6% (compared to 91.8% nationally).
Cllr Angus McCormack, Chairman of the Comhairle’s Education, Sport and Children’s Services Committee, said: “This is very welcome and encouraging news. We remain committed to working with the Scottish Government and partner agencies in order to equip our young people with the necessary skills and education to benefit them for their working lives.”

Read more: Local News for Monday 24th September 2018

Local News for Friday 21st September 2018

The latest data published by sportscotland that Active Schools is going from strength to strength with national figures at an all-time high and 7.3 million participant sessions delivered in 2017/18, an increase of 6% from 2016/17.
Contributing to the national figures, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar ran 45,397 participant sessions in the last year, and 1,597 individual children and young people took part in a whole range of sports and physical activities in those sessions.
There has been a 2% increase overall in the percentage of the school roll now participating in Active Schools sessions nationally with 2,081 of those sessions delivered in the Western Isles.

Read more: Local News for Friday 21st September 2018

Local News for Thursday 20th September 2018

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP, Rhoda Grant has asked why it has taken so long for Paul Wheelhouse, Minister for the Islands is to address a Forum on the Western Isles Ferry provision.

Rhoda Grant, MSP said, ‘Whilst I welcome the news that Paul Wheelhouse will eventually address questions on this severe issue, I am perplexed as to why he did not address it during his recent visit.

This visit comes on the back of the sustained pressure from many stakeholder groups including Outer Hebrides Tourism, CNES, the Business community, Islanders and Scottish Labour. Only last week I challenged the Minister to be transparent on the funding fiasco surrounding the MV Loch Seaforth.’

Rhoda Grant, MSP concluded, “every time a new ferry is commissioned it results in millions of pounds being spent having to accommodate the design of the boats.

Against all opinion and advise SNP Ministers decided on a single large ferry for the Stornoway route rather than 2 smaller ferries which would have fitted the existing port facilities and provided resilience to other routes during planned maintenance. Surely if the advice had been heeded we would not find ourselves in this Perfect Storm.”

Read more: Local News for Thursday 20th September 2018

Local News for Wednesday 19th September 2018

Today is Scottish Housing Day. The purpose of the day is to raise awareness of the latest developments in housing and the different options available to people when deciding where to live.
There will be an information event at Lews Castle College today attended by local organisations Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar, Hebridean Housing Partnership (HHP), Western Isles Foyer and Tighean Innse Gall (TIG).
The Comhairle and HHP work with the Scottish Government to provide new affordable homes and support a range of choices for buying and renting.
As well as housing development and shared equity options, TIG offers advice and services over a range of activities including energy efficiency advice, adaptations and home safety.

Read more: Local News for Wednesday 19th September 2018

Local News for Tuesday 18th September 2018

VisitScotland, in partnership with Outer Hebrides Tourism, has recently announced a new approach in the delivery of visitor information in the Outer Hebrides.
A formal agreement has been reached which will ensure that visitors to the Outer Hebrides have a varied, convenient and co-ordinated range of channels to obtain information – encouraging them to stay longer, spend more and spread the benefits of tourism across the Outer Hebrides all year round.
Plans are now being put in place to enhance the current iCentre in Stornoway; create a new year-round information partnership in Tarbert with a retail business; develop new and enhanced information partnerships in the Uists, supported by a dedicated member of staff based seasonally in one partnership outlet; and develop a stronger presence on Barra with the local tourism industry for the 2019 season.
In line with its plan to improve connectivity for visitors, Outer Hebrides Tourism also hopes to roll out Wi-Fi across various partnership locations throughout the islands.
In addition, the new approach seeks to provide an appropriate presence for the Outer Hebrides in mainland VisitScotland iCentres such as Ullapool, Oban, Portree and Inverness.

Read more: Local News for Tuesday 18th September 2018