Local News for Wednesday 15th November 2017

1500 shoeboxes for Blythswood
Over 1500 shoeboxes filled with gifts, toiletries and good wishes will leave Lewis today bound for Romania, in a record year for the Blythswood shoebox appeal. DR Macleod have donated transport to take the boxes from Stornoway to Blythswood’s headquarters in Evanton, from where they’ll go on to deprived communities in Romania. Scheme co-ordinator Cllr Charlie Nicolson called the response from the islands ‘tremendous’ and thanked individuals, churches, schools and groups in Lewis and Harris for their contributions to the 2017 appeal. He said: “Over 1500 Shoeboxes were donated and will be leaving the Island on Wednesday. The local Blythswood Support Group would like to acknowledge the amazing volunteers that helped throughout the Island and at the Appeal Centre in Stornoway, including students from the UHI, senior pupils from the Nicolson Institute and adult volunteers.” The local Shoebox Support Team also included Dorothy Kennedy, Christopher Martin and DJ Macleod.

Read more: Local News for Wednesday 15th November 2017

Local News for Monday 13th November 2017

“Massive blow” if BiFab folds
There’s serious fear for the jobs of 160 workers at Arnish, with weekend reports that Burntisland Fabrications (BiFab) is set to go into administration. The company, which has yards at Arnish in Lewis and in Fife, has reportedly cited cash-flow problems resulting from a huge contract to construct 26 jacket sub-structures for a windfarm development in the Moray Firth. Two support structures for the same project were constructed by BiFab when it was in its experimental stage. At the time the project was the deepest offshore wind installation in the world. BiFab expanded their work in that sector and became one of the leading suppliers of jacket support structures for offshore wind turbines in Europe. But reports at the weekend said they were set to call in administrators with papers already lodged in court to begin the process. Western Isles MP Angus MacNeil called on Saturday for all agencies to work together urgently to help solve the situation. He said: “This is a massive blow for the workforce at Arnish and their families who will undoubtedly be very worried. It is imperative that all agencies come together to save these jobs. I have tonight contacted Fergus Ewing MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy.”

Read more: Local News for Monday 13th November 2017

Local News for Friday 10th November 2017

Island Trad nominees need votes!
The annual Scots Traditional Music awards shortlist has been announced, and the nominees include island musicians. The Trads, organised by Hands Up for Trad and sponsored by MG Alba, are a public vote award, and people have until November 24th to vote for one, or all of the categories. Among islanders nominated are Josie Duncan, who is in the shortlist for best folk band with her singing partner Pablo Lafuente, and who is also nominated as part of best up and coming band Inyal. The lively band Hò-Ro, featuring Stornoway musicians Keith Morrison and DC Macmillan, has also been nominated for best up and coming band and Skipinnish, with lead singer Norrie Tago Maciver from Carloway, is in the running as live act of the year. Nominated as venue of the year for its support of traditional music is An Lanntair. You can place your votes using the link on the Isles FM Facebook page. Winners in all categories will be announced at Na Trads in Paisley on December 2nd.

Read more: Local News for Friday 10th November 2017

Local News for Thursday 9th November 2017

Loch Seaforth returns to service
The Stornoway Ullapool ferry, MV Loch Seaforth, is returning to service after her annual refit at Leith, where she was held back for a couple of days while sea trials were carried out. She was due to start back on the service on Tuesday, but will now be back on the route from today. Services between Castlebay and Oban have meanwhile been disrupted both by weather conditions and by technical problems with the replacement vessel MV Isle of Arran, which stood in for Isle of Lewis while she was serving the Stornoway route. The next island service to be affected during the annual dry dock schedule will be the Sound of Barra route, with MV Loch Alainn being replaced by MV Loch Bhrusda from December 4th for two weeks.

Read more: Local News for Thursday 9th November 2017

Local News for Wednesday 8th November 2017

Living wage call backed by builders
Lewis Builders have become the latest Western Isles company to sign up for the Scottish living wage rate of £8.75 per hour. They were visited this week by Isles MSP Alasdair Allan, who congratulated them on their commitment to the living wage. The Scottish Living Wage, calculated to meet the cost of living, is reviewed every year based on living standards. Dr Allan said: “I would like to thank Lewis Builders and their staff for today’s very informative visit, as well as their commitment to fair pay and showing leadership on this issue within the local business community. I would encourage all organisations in the Isles, regardless of size or sector to recognise the benefits of paying ensuring all staff receive a fair level of pay.” Ewen MacLean from Lewis Builders commented: “It was great having Dr Allan in to our office today. He took a very keen interest in what we had to say and the commitment we are making to our staff.”

Read more: Local News for Wednesday 8th November 2017