ABBA night fun – but a warning over Bethesda future

​It was a suitably glitzy and fun-filled affair with those in attendance fully embracing their inner ABBA to dance the night away to the classic hits in the environs of the Lews Castle ballroom.
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​Yet behind the fun and games lay an important function - this was a fund-raiser for the Bethesda Hospice in Stornoway who are increasingly facing a challenging financial time.

Joanne Ferguson, Bethesda fund-raising manager, said that while the ABBA night was a success in itself, the continual effort to find enough support to maintain a crucial service remains a serious burden.

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She said: “We have to raise £450,000 from the community every year - that’s after the health board contribution - and it’s becoming harder and harder. Really if we don’t get an uplift in statutory funding we’re not going to be able to continue.

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“'The hospice is currently running at a loss. NHS Western Isles are unwilling to negotiate any additional funding and if we do not receive a substantial uplift in our current funding, it is at a real risk of closure.The community here is incredibly generous but we can’t just keep asking them for money, with the costs of everything going up.

“We need to look at different ways and that’s what the ABBA night was about: finding ways to raise funds that gives people something back as well, rather than just always asking them for money.”

In terms of the ABBA night, she said: “It was really successful, we raised £7845 but it wouldn’t have been possible without sponsor OMac who funded the costs of hosting it.”

More photos available from Sandie Photos.