Island communities invited to make plans to weather the storms

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Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution (SHEPD) is offering support to communities across the Western Isles to draw up local plans to respond to extreme weather and other emergencies.

A series of 3 short introductory roadshows will be held next week at the Cabarfeidh Hotel in Stornoway on Monday; at Tarbert Community Centre on Tuesday and at the Dark Island Hotel in Liniclate on Wednesday – all from 7pm until 8:30pm. These will be followed up by workshops in a month’s time at which participating communities and groups will be helped to develop their own draft plans.

As well as putting local knowledge, skills and facilities at the heart of the emergency response delivered by SHEPD and other agencies, the sessions will help attendees to gain support via SHEPD’s Resilient Communities Fund, which will open to applications later in the year.

SHEPD Community Liaison Manager Mo Bates says: “Extreme weather seems to be affecting us more often and the islands are used to feeling the full force of it.

“Islanders have always been good at looking out for each other, but drawing up a simple emergency plan can still make a big difference when it comes to coordinating local efforts with the emergency response agencies.

“Our work with communities in recent years has delivered great results with a wide range of community groups and organisations getting involved – from local residents’ groups to radio stations.

“The events are completely free and fun to take part in. Most importantly, communities tell us they have made a big difference whether during winter storms, disruption to transport or other emergencies.

“I would urge everyone with an interest in helping their community stay safe to come along and find out more.”

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s Emergency Planning Manager Andy MacDonald added: “Engaging local communities and their knowledge in the emergency response can make a huge difference in critical situations.

“This process is absolutely not about replacing the duties of SHEPD, the Comhairle or emergency services.

“Community plans are designed to make sure the emergency response reflects local needs. They can improve communication and make sure support is delivered effectively when it matters most.

“It’s an added bonus that community plans will help those who want to apply to SHEPD’s Resilient Communities Fund to add to the skills, equipment and facilities available locally to assist in the response.”

Resilience Roadshow:

Monday 2 May 2016, 7pm – 8.30pm Cabarfeidh Hotel, Stornoway

Tuesday 3 May 2016, 7pm – 8.30pm Tarbert Community Centre, Tarbert.

Wednesday 4 May 2016, 7pm – 8.30pm Dark Island Hotel, Liniclate, Benbecula.

Community Resilience Workshop:

Monday 30 May 2016, 5pm – 9pm Cabarfeidh Hotel, Stornoway

Tuesday 31 May 2016, 5pm – 9pm Harris Hotel, Tarbert

Wednesday 1 June 2016, 5pm – 9pm Dark Island Hotel, Liniclate, Benbecula

Pictured are those who took part in a recent workshop.