News - Naidheachdan

ISLANDS MSP BECOMES LATEST WESTERN ISLES LIFESTYLE LOTTERY PLAYER

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan met with the Team of the Western Isles Lifestyle Lottery (WILL) this week to learn more about the Lottery’s success and how proceeds have already benefitted every age group across his Constituency. The local MSP also became the latest islander to sign up for regular tickets via the Lottery website www.westernisleslottery.co.uk.

Since its launch in August 2017, support has steadily increased and an average of 1,650 tickets are currently purchased for each Saturday night draw. The more supporters who join in, the higher the weekly Prize Pot rises and the more that can be returned to their area. In just 10 months, a total of £53,765 has been raised to date, with £15,300 having been shared out in Weekly Prizes and £38,500 having been returned to the Community.

The Lottery is on target to raise an amazing £65,000 within its first year of operation. With more Supporters joining in with just £1 per week via the website www.westernisleslottery.co.uk, there is no limit to the amount that can be raised and distributed.

Ensuring a fair distribution of raised funds was important to the Team and a postcode system was devised whereby proceeds of any ticket purchased in a particular area was directly returned there. Six established groups across the Western Isles take responsibility for ensuring their funds are utilised as effectively as possible in their own respective Communities.

Commenting, Alasdair Allan MSP said:

“It’s great to see such a fantastic local initiative take off and flourish.

“With the Western Isles Lifestyle Lottery, people can be sure the proceeds are kept within the islands and that local causes will be supported. A number of groups right across the length of the Western Isles have already benefited.

“I warmly congratulate the Lifestyle Lottery team on the amount raised so far and I look forward to seeing if I have won in Saturday’s draw!”

Emma Fraser, on behalf of the Lottery Team, commented:

“We can only continue to work hard at developing the Lottery which, in turn, can only be successful with continued public support. The more Supporters who sign up, the higher the weekly Prize Pot will go – giving more incentive to others to also join. Our motto is ‘Where There’s a Will There’s a Way’ – and we have already shown how beneficial a home grown Lottery can be to our Islands”.

Loss of mobile phone signal is causing major disruption for residents of Uig, Isle of Lewis and local politicians are calling on the mobile phone operator to take urgent action to resolve the situation.

Angus MacNeil MP and Alasdair Allan MSP have been in regular contact with EE over recent days and weeks after many constituents contacted them to report repeated disruption to the network in the Uig area.

The poor signal for EE customers is caused by ongoing works to upgrade the mast to a 4G service, however Mr MacNeil said customers have not been kept well informed and are becoming increasingly frustrated.

He said: “This situation with EE has been ongoing for several months now and my constituents are fed up by the lack of communication from the mobile phone operator.

“I understand that progress is expected to be made this week but I will be maintaining pressure on EE to sort this out and inform their customers.

“The mobile phone signal is so important to communities, particularly in the busy tourist season, and at the moment these communities are not getting the service they deserve and indeed the service which customers are paying for.”

Alasdair Allan MSP said: “To go a month without any mobile reception and to be given no clear idea of what the problem is or when it will be fixed is an intolerable situation to place Uig residents into, especially as we approach the height of the tourist season.

“EE need to update their customers in Uig and get this problem resolved as quickly as possible.”

John Maciver, Chair of Uig Community Council said: “The situation in Uig is nothing short of a shambles. We have had no mobile signal for almost a month without any information from EE to customers. At a peak time in the tourist season, we are very vulnerable should there be an emergency in such a remote community.”

ISLANDS MSP LENDS A HAND AS PART OF VOLUNTEERS’ WEEK 2018

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan visited Eilean Siar foodbank on Monday to lend a hand as part of Volunteers’ Week 2018.

The islands MSP saw first-hand the work that goes in to processing food donations and preparing them for collection.

Foodbank usage in the Western Isles has increased year-on-year since Eilean Siar foodbank was opened in 2013. In the last year there were 470 three-day emergency food supplies given to people facing crisis.

Commenting, Alasdair Allan MSP said:

“The foodbank volunteers in Stornoway do hugely valuable work helping those most in need.

“While I regard it as a scandal that in 2018 people are struggling to the extent foodbanks are necessary, we should cherish the fact that our community has such dedicated and selfless people willing to give up their time to act as a safety net and last-resort for those living in poverty.

“I learned a lot from my visit and it was amazing how much we were able to do in the space of just an hour. Anyone can help out and I am told there is always a need for volunteers. I would encourage anyone who is thinking of volunteering to get in touch with Volunteer Centre Western Isles on 01851 700366 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..”

ISLANDS MSP BACKS SUPPORT FOR CARERS AHEAD OF CARERS WEEK

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan has pledged his backing for Carers Week which begins next Monday, by committing to support local carers across the Western Isles.

Alasdair Allan has signed up to the Carers Week pledge to take carer friendly action – highlighting the tireless work of the 6.5 million unpaid carers across the UK and offering them any support they need. There are an estimated 788,000 unpaid carers across Scotland – with 44,000 of them under the age of 18.

The Scottish Government has taken decisive action to support unpaid carers – investing over £135 million in a range of programmes and initiatives to support carers and young carers, as well as passing a new Carers Act, which has come into force this year, which extends the rights of carers and ensures better support.

Commenting, Alasdair Allan MSP said:

“We have a significant number of carers in the Western Isles and I am always delighted to have the opportunity to support the wonderful work that they do.

“Across Scotland, there are an estimated 788,000 unpaid carers, with tens of thousands of them being under the age of 18. It is our duty to support them in whatever way we can.

“The Scottish Government has been leading the way in providing this support for unpaid carers – investing over £135 million, as well as passing the new Carers Act in 2016, which came into force this year. And through the new Social Security Agency, the Scottish Government plans to increase Carers Allowance to the level of Job Seeker’s Allowance.

“Carers Week gives us all the chance to show our support and appreciation for the work carers do in our local communities – and I am committed to playing a positive role in this inspiring annual event.”

ISLANDS MSP WELCOMES EXTENTION OF EQUITY LOAN SCHEME

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan has welcomed the extension of the Scottish Government’s HEEPS Equity Loan scheme to the Western Isles.

The pilot scheme allows homeowners on low incomes to borrow up to £40,000 for energy efficiency improvements and essential repairs, including the installation of a new boiler, double glazing or repairs to reduce heat loss – which will be repaid when they sell their home or transfer ownership.

The scheme was launched in January 2017 in three local authority areas and has now been extended to include Inverclyde, Renfrewshire, Stirling, Dundee and the Western Isles until March 2019.

Commenting, Alasdair Allan MSP said:

“Here in the Western Isles housing is a key issue with a lack of affordable housing, an ageing housing stock and many houses poorly equipped to retain heat. I hope that this new scheme will not only keep people in the islands warmer, but also prevent houses from needing bigger repairs in the future.

“The extension of this Scottish Government scheme will allow homeowners in the Western Isles more options in how they can help improve their home’s energy efficiency rating and should be particularly beneficial to those on low incomes or those facing large repair bills.”

LOCAL MSP WELCOMES DELIVERY OF KEY MANIFESTO PLEDGE

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan has welcomed the passage of the Islands (Scotland) Bill in the Scottish Parliament.

The Bill was introduced to the Scottish Parliament last summer and the key provisions of the Bill enjoyed widespread public support.

Commenting, Alasdair Allan MSP said:

“This historic legislation seeks to meet the unique needs of Scotland’s islands now and in the future, helping to create the right environment for sustainable growth and empowering communities.

“The measures included in the bill, along with the Scottish Government’s existing work in areas like transport, digital, housing and health, will contribute to the right conditions for island communities to grow and thrive. The legislation also seeks to “island proof” future policies to make sure that policies are workable in the islands, and to create an islands plan where the government has to set out its priorities for island communities.

“This is the first ever legislation for Scotland’s islands and fulfils a key manifesto pledge the SNP stood on in the Scottish Parliament elections in 2016. I was very happy to see this piece of legislation pass this afternoon.”

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