On Saturday the 22nd of June, from 9.30am to 12noon, Blythswood Care will have a trailer at the Nicolson Institute car park on Smith Avenue, Stornoway, collecting donations for those in need. They are looking for clothes, bedding, shoes, toiletries and new bandages. A note of the contents should be marked on each donation bag.

If you would prefer to make a financial donation, these can be made direct to Blythwood - sort code: 80-91-26, account number: 10413664 - or into a donation bucket at the event.

Vehicles can drive into the bus park on the day, following the one-way system, drop donations at the back of the trailer and depart onto Smith Avenue. Stewards will be on duty throughout.

Blythwood would like to thank volunteers, community organisations, DFDS, CALMAC and CNES. For further information, see poster below. 


 

NHS Western Isles recently held a series of breast screenings across the islands, and are very keen to receive feedback from anyone who received an appointment letter - even if the appointment was not attended. They want to learn what went well with the screenings and what may need to be improved before the next sessions commence in 2026/2027. 

Do you have any items from the community equipment store that you no longer need? If so, please contact your local CES store on the numbers below to arrange free collection:

Lewis & Harris CES Store - 01851 70 3054

Uist & Barra CES Store - 01870 603 648

The Western Isles Rape Crisis Centre (WIRCC) is based in Stornoway and offers free, confidential support, information and advocacy to anyone - of any gender - over the age of 13, who has been affected by sexual violence. The service covers the whole of the Outer Hebrides including the southern isles, with specialist Survivors of Childhood Abuse support workers based in both Uist and Stornoway. Sexual violence is defined as any kind of sexual activity or act (including online or via phone) that is unwanted or involves any kind of pressure, manipulation, bullying, intimidation, threat, deception or force. In other words, any type of sexual activity that takes place without consent. 

WIRCC offers support in a number of different ways. Trained staff members can provide one-to-one support in a private, discreet setting, or by phone or video call. They are completely non-judgemental and will not urge people to talk about anything they don't wish to, or are not ready to, discuss. They can support survivors through an immediate crisis or longer term if required, and whether the abuse is taking place now or has happened at any point in the past. Support is also offered to anyone worried about a child, someone in their family or someone else they know. 

Through the National Advocacy Project, WIRCC can offer advocacy support at every stage of the criminal justice procedure, from thinking about reporting a sexual offence, right through to resolution of a court case. Their advocacy worker will never try to persuade someone to report or otherwise, but will support individuals whatever they decide to do. If a case does go ahead, WIRCC can help to get updates on its progress, provide information about special measures and may be able to attend court with a survivor.

There are also various women's groups taking place at WIRCC, for both support and well-being, such as creative arts, yoga and women's drop-in sessions. These are open to all women in the area, not just those accessing support services - the aim being to create safe spaces for women to come together, reduce social isolation and have the opportunity to find out more about available services. 

If you are looking for support, the WIRCC helpline is open from Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm: 01851 70 9965. If your call is not answered, please leave a message and someone will get back to you as soon as possible.

Outwith these times, the Rape Crisis Scotland helpline is open from 5pm to midnight, daily: 08088 01 03 02, or you can text 07537 410 027 for initial contact and signposting.

You can also email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

With International Women's Day just around the corner - on Friday the 8th of March - there are a number events taking place in the Outer Hebrides to mark the occasion.

Western Isles Rape Crisis Centre (WIRCC) are holding an Agency Drop-in Day on Friday, inviting all local agencies and partners to pop in between 12.30 and 3pm for an informal chat about the work they do, have a spot of lunch and a look around their centre. If you are interested in attending, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

On Saturday the 9th, Western Isles Women's Aid and the Western Isles Violence Against Women Partnership invite members of the community to join them for a short walk in the Castle Grounds  followed by hot drinks and cake at their centre in Bayhead. They will be setting off at 10am from the YM Bridge in Stornoway and the event will conclude at 11.30am.

Following this, there will be a Women's Open Day at WIRCC, in association with Safer Outer Hebrides, from 12 to 3pm. All women are invited to come along and enjoy a free taster massage, creative arts drop-in and a delicious light lunch. Crèche facilities are being provided free of charge (email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to book).

And in Barra, also on the 9th of March, there is an International Women's Day event taking place at Castlebay school from 9.30am to 4.15pm. Workshops include woodwork, yoga, zumba, meditation, fun singing and lots more! Free childcare will be provided on the day.

Acair Books are celebrating International Women's Day with the publication, on the 8th, of 'Women of the Hebrides, Ban-eileanaich Innse Gall - Stories of Strength and Courage', by Joni Buchanan, described by journalist and writer, Cathy Macdonald, as "A glorious account of the real 'influencers' of our shared island culture".  Available to order here: acairbooks.com.  A special launch event is taking place on Friday at 7pm in the Stornoway town hall, where Agnes Rennie and the author will discuss the book and her journey to write it.