Hebrides Today

News from the Western Isles

Island enterprises encouraged to apply for new funding

Posted by Editor On February - 26 - 2009

Social enterprises across Lewis and South Uist are being encouraged to take advantage of a new £30m investment fund.


The Scottish Investment Fund (SIF) will provide funding for services that benefit the local community.


To promote the initiative, managers from Social Investment Scotland (the body which administers the fund) will attend meetings of the Lewis and South Uist Social Enterprise Partnerships this week.


SIF administrator Social Investment Scotland is aiming to make awards to around 60 to 80 organisations over the next three years. Prime areas for investment include: social care; environmental projects; employment training; disability services and health equality initiatives.


Investment from the fund is tailored to the requirements of individual organisations and will comprise a combination of loans at affordable fixed rates as well as ‘patient capital’ and non-repayable funding.


The first stage for those who wish to find out more is a simple on-line process. In less than 15 minutes groups will know whether or not they meet the basic eligibility criteria.


Scott Anderson, Chief Executive of Social Investment Scotland, said: “The Scottish Investment Fund marks a new way forward for social enterprises. It will give an added commercial focus to the sector and help organisations across regions such as the Western Isles develop revenue generating initiatives.


“SIF offers an additional means of attracting funding for social enterprises with real growth potential. For those who qualify, the fund will give them the capital they need to help them succeed and enable them to make an enhanced contribution to Scotland’s economy."


“Whilst we have already received a number of approaches, we are looking for more at present. I would encourage any individuals running social enterprises that have the scope for growth to consider the benefits of SIF and contact us to see if they are eligible.”


For further details visit: www.scottishinvestmentfund.co.uk

Hebridean conference will focus on emigration from the Islands

Posted by Editor On February - 19 - 2009

The Island Book Trust’s big event of 2009, to mark Scotland’s Year of Homecoming will be a three-day conference from Thursday September 10 to Saturday, September 12 at Leverburgh Community Hall in South Harris.


This year’s conference will focus on the families who left the Outer Hebrides over the last 250 years for places such as Canada, the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Patagonia.


The event will bring together speakers, local people and visitors, and as well as the formal programme will include films of emigration, an exhibition of emigration by genealogist Bill Lawson, with visits to places in Harris where emigrants left to travel to a new life.


The keynote address to start the conference will be given by Professor Tom Devine of Edinburgh University, an eminent authority on Scottish emigration.  He will be followed by an array of other speakers covering different aspects of Hebridean emigration.   


For more about the conference log on to: www.theislandsbooktrust.com

Piping comes home

Posted by Editor On February - 9 - 2009

Stornoway CastleIn August Stornoway is set to play host to some of the world's greatest pipers who will be travelling to the Western Isles to take part in ‘Tattoo Hebrides’, comprising of at least eight pipe bands, including the 78th Fraser Highlanders from Ontario; the Mauchline and District Caledonia Pipe Band led by Pipe Major Gordon Walker and the Strathaven and District Pipe Band led by Pipe Major Chris Mackenzie who is originally from Point in Lewis.


The Homecoming event, organised by Stornoway Amenity Trust, will also include Lewis Pipe Band, Eilean an Fhroaich, Uist and Skye Pipe Bands, Liniclate Junior Band.


The Tattoo will be the first such event to be held in Lewis since 1966 and will take place on Lews Castle Green on August 7 at 7pm.


For further information about the event see: www.stornowayamenitytrust.co.uk