Talks confirm elderly care a priority for Galson Estate

The Galson Estate Community Trust have already held informal discussions with both the Comhairle and Western Isles Health Board as the community looks to the future and its pledge to tackle the community concern over elderly care in the district.

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 21st January 2017, 7:04 am

Community feedback has identified three clear priorities for the Estate in elderly care; tourism and crofting and land use.

But the care of the elderly throughout  56,000-acre community-owned estate is perhaps the biggest concern for residents and the Galson Estate themselves.

Lisa Maclean, Commercial Development Manager, told the Gazette they are already looking at options in regards to elderly care.

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She said: “We undertook this large consultation over most of 2016. We went out in an outreach mode meeting with groups throughout the district, sitting down with them in their environment to find out what the issues were. It became apparent really quickly there were several issues.

“Not always what people would assume that we need a care home. That’s not the only answer, it is much more complex than that and that is probably what the next step will be about, as we study all the options.

“A lot of people do want to stay in their own homes and that requires working with various partners like the Comhairle and WIHB to work out how we can all fit into this together to have the best possible product that works.”

She continued: “We have had informal discussions with both the council and the health board already and we will be seeing how things progress.

“On the softer side of things we are working with Befriending Hebrides and they have their Befriending Lewis initiative under way and we want to make sure that has the biggest impact possible in our area.

“We will also undertake training in this building, hopefully have Befrienders here, so we are starting at the lower level, but we still realise there are larger infrastructure and capital projects on the other side of that as well. We can’t neglect smaller things that have a big social impact as well.”

Improving and insulating some of the older housing stock across the estate is another project Lisa hopes that can be tackled sooner rather than later.

“Our housing stock is older houses and there are a lot of organisations helping to tackle that, which we are working alongside, to hopefully start an energy efficiency project in April,” she said. “providing we get some funding levered in for that.

“Hopefully there are things we can do in the short term, medium term while not losing sight of the long term vision we have set as well.

“It is satisfying to see money going back into the community now but it can be daunting as well.

“We have moved from being head down get on with it, resource intensive organisation, to where we are now being transformed from one kind of organisation to something completely different.”