Category Archives: Latest Stories

New Chief Executive for Argyll Charity Body

Argyll and Bute Third Sector Interface (TSI) has announced the appointment of its new Chief Executive, Takki Sulaiman.

Peter McDill, Chair of Trustees, said,

“Takki is a local man who demonstrated to the Board a strong understanding of both Argyll and Bute and of the third sector. Since 2015 he has served as a trustee of the Friends of St.Conan’s Kirk in Lochawe, and since 2018 he has been a trustee with the UK wide domestic violence prevention and training charity, SafeLives. Takki has a strong track record in partnership working, most recently in a local authority setting where he successfully steered a new approach to working with the voluntary sector through coproduction – ensuring the expertise, vision and values of the third sector were at the heart of commissioning local services. The board of the TSI is confident that Takki is the right person to lead Argyll and Bute TSI in the next phase of its development.”

Incoming Chief Executive Takki Sulaiman says,

“We moved as a family to Argyll in 2015 but I commuted to work in Aberdeen and then to Greenwich in London. It is a real honour to be given the opportunity to work with such a dynamic network where I live, and now work. I am fully committed to building upon the strong foundation put in place at the TSi over the past three years”

Sea Change Touring Programme 2021

Supported by the Film Hub Scotland BFI FAN Exhibition Fund. The Sea Change Festival curated by Screen Argyll brings a season of international films directed by women online and in cinemas.

Our screenings in venues will resume once they can, in the meantime here are some ways to join us online.

“2020 was an amazing year for releases by female directors, many of these titles will be in the critics top ten for the year and deservedly feature in the awards season. This tour gives audiences another chance to see them at their best, on the big screen.” Jen Skinner, Director, Sea Change Film Festival

FREE SCREENING in partnership with North East Arts Touring and Driftwood Cinema MISBEHAVIOUR (12A) Sunday 7th March, 7pm.

Online film screening of MISBEHAVIOUR followed by a post film Zoom Panel discussion with the film’s director – Philippa Lowthorpe Sign up here: https:// www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/ misbehaviour-free-onlinescreening-for-iwd-2021- tickets-142130266453

‘There’s a very British sort of wackiness to this bizarre and farcical true story from the annals of pop culture, told here with charm and fun’ The Guardian Join us to support celebrate International Women’s Day and watch along together the 2020 film MISBEHAVIOUR about a group of women who hatch a plan to disrupt the 1970 Miss World beauty competition in London. Then join our panel discussion on Zoom with Director: Philippa Lowthorpe to discuss the film. The film is based on the true events of the 1970 Miss World pageant in London, when a global audience witnessed the patriarchy driven from the stage and the Western ideal of beauty turned on its head.

‘Director Philippa Lowthorpe and screenwriters Rebecca Frayn and Gaby Chiappe keep it light and likable: the story of people who aren’t exactly keeping calm, but carrying on all the same’ The Guardian

Join us with your own Misbehaviour cocktail creation! Tweet or share on Instagram @screenargyll

2021 Feminista Tour available here throughout March:

http:// screenargyll.co.uk/sea-changetouring-programme-2021/

We are thrilled to announce the films selected for the 2021 Feminista Film Festival & Tour. From musical pursuits to outdoor challenges, these women are change makers and trail blazers. You’ll definitely be inspired to turn up the music and start planning your next adventure!

Council Tax Freeze and Investment For The Future

Argyll and Bute Council has set a budget that freezes council tax in 2021/22 and invests millions in helping local people, businesses and the area as a whole to move on from the impact of covid-19.

Council Leader, Councillor Robin Currie said: “We are investing nearly £6.8 million to help Argyll and Bute keep going and keep growing. This budget takes on the unprecedented day-to-day and longer term challenges of living through a worldwide pandemic. We are investing in help for young people struggling to cope with life under covid restrictions. We are increasing support for families and others struggling financially. Investment in our road network, and digital connectivity, will help keep people and businesses connected. We will grab every opportunity for Argyll and Bute’s economic recovery, so are investing in action to bring the benefits of staycation tourism to the area. And longer term, we are investing in creating a sustainable future through climate-friendly initiatives, and progressing the area’s rural growth deal to action. This budget is about taking Argyll and Bute through challenge to a successful, sustainable future.”

The Council’s £6.8 million investment will be split across five themes:

• Investing in Argyll and Bute’s opportunities – £830,000 to deliver benefits from staycation, camping and campervan tourism. This will include for example waste disposal facilities and wardens to promote responsible camping.

• Keeping Argyll and Bute connected – £3,113,000 to improve the area’s network of roads, footpaths and pavements. This brings the overall Roads Reconstruction Budget to £10 million for 2021/22, and investment in green transport and travel to £900,000

• Sustaining Argyll and Bute’s future – £1,702,000 to set up a Recovery and Renewal Fund for recovery initiatives and future covid-19 financial pressures, to reduce the council’s carbon emissions and progress the rural growth deal.

• Improving opportunities for people and communities – £1,042,000 to boost the mental health and wellbeing of our young people, set up a Tackling Digital Exclusion Top Up Fund, increase welfare support, and encourage shopping local at Christmas.

• Supporting Argyll and Bute’s culture – £96,700 to develop Gaelic, culture, heritage and arts as drivers for economic recovery.

Councillor Gary Mulvaney, Policy Lead for Financial Services thanked the public for their contribution to the budget planning process: “We continue to dedicate the majority of our budget to supporting our young people and caring for our vulnerable residents, through our education services and the Health and Social Care Partnership. We know that this year many families’ budgets are especially stretched so have frozen council tax. Councils unfortunately though don’t have enough funding to do everything people want us to do so there are always difficult decisions to make. Thank you to everyone who got involved with the budget planning process this year. What you told us helped us reach the right decisions for Argyll and Bute.”

The council tax freeze keeps council tax for a dwelling in Band “D” at £1,367.73

Tiree Wave Classic Update

To all Competitors, present and past and friends of the event, It is with sadness to inform that we have taken the decision not to proceed with the March 2021 Tiree Wave Classic Event at this time.

The risks presented by the novel Coronavirus are still too great to jeopardise the event, its competitors and the population of Tiree by proceeding with the event at this time and after extensive consultation with Argyll & Bute Councils Environmental Health Department, we feel that this is the only correct course of action at this time.

It is our intention to now look to bring the Tiree Wave Classic event back to its original calendar position in mid October, with a plan to run the 2021 Tiree Wave Classic from the 10th – 16th (Inc) October 2021!

Obviously Covid may still be a strong consideration in October but we intend now to turn all of our efforts to being able to deliver a covid proofed event, later this year.

We would ask registered competitors at this time to email us and let us know whether you prefer to roll over your entry to October, or whether you require a refund at this point. We hope that many of you will be able to consider attending in October, should we be in a position to go ahead with the event at that time. Yours sincerely,

William Maclean – TWC Event Host

Leader and Chief Executive sign council up to Household Recycling Charter

Argyll and Bute Council’s Leader, Councillor Robin Currie, and Chief Executive, Pippa Milne, have formally signed up to the Scottish Government’s Household Recycling Charter and Code of Practice on behalf of the council.

This continues the council’s strong commitment to reducing its carbon emissions and tackling climate change. Argyll and Bute already complies with the majority of the essential requirements outlined in the charter’s Code of Practice. Leader of the council, Councillor Robin Currie, said:

“This underlines the council’s commitment to tackling climate change. New legislation, such as the Deposit Return Scheme and the Landfill Ban, will bring the Code of Practice under review. By signing up to the Charter, the council will now play an active role in the consultation process of the review. This is important given that Argyll and Bute’s geography presents unique challenges when collecting and processing waste, across dispersed communities and multiple islands.”

Pippa Milne, Chief Executive, added:

“This is the right thing to do at this time. We are working hard to promote the ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ message in Argyll and Bute and we thank our communities for doing all they can to cut down on avoidable waste. Signing up to the Charter will make it possible to apply for practical and financial support from Zero Waste Scotland to help Argyll and Bute comply with future charter guidelines.”

Adrian Bond, Recycling Programme Manager, Zero Waste Scotland, said:

“Argyll and Bute’s decision to sign up to the Household Recycling Charter is extremely welcome and an important step forward for the Charter nationally. It’s also welcome that Argyll and Bute will contribute to the review of the Charter, as, with a significant rural area to cover, the council will have an important contribution to make around delivering recycling services in areas with a more dispersed population. “Overall, this is another important demonstration of continued strong joint working as we all aim to increase the quantity and quality of recycling and make further progress towards Scotland’s national recycling targets.”

Policy Lead welcomes HMIE report on remote learning

Argyll and Bute Council’s Policy Lead for Education has welcomed a report from HM Inspectors of Education (HMIE) which provides a national overview of remote learning across Scotland. This report was developed to learn what is working well, identify challenges, and look at what further assistance is required to continue to improve the delivery of remote learning to young people.

Councillor Yvonne McNeilly said: “The HMI report acknowledges the sheer amount of hard work that local authorities have carried out to ensure that our children and young people can continue their education at home during these difficult times. “It recognises the many different challenges faced by both rural and urban communities, and is a clear endorsement of the plans we have developed to meet the needs of our individual schools and pupils. “Our teachers know their learners best, so it is really encouraging to read about the dedication our staff have shown to doing things differently and creating opportunities for new ways of working. “It’s great to see the council’s digital learning teams acknowledged too. They have worked hard to deliver training to staff in the use of digital learning platforms and, with support of colleagues from corporate IT, have enabled a significant number of devices to be delivered to learners to ensure they can effectively access remote learning.

“We put our children and young people at the heart of everything we do and I would like to take this opportunity to thank our schools staff for their creative thinking and always putting the education of our pupils first.”

Tyree Gin Spreads Festive Cheer

A Hebridean distiller is set to spread some festive cheer this December by giving a free miniature bottle of local gin to every islander on their native Tiree.

Tiree residents over the age of 18 will be treated to a free miniature of Tyree Gin or Hebridean Pink Gin in the run up to Christmas as distillery bosses add some unexpected joy to what has been a difficult year.

Rather than coming down locals’ chimneys, owners Ian Smith and Alain Campbell have teamed up with the island’s local shop, Buth a’ Bhaile, so that lucky residents can collect their miniatures from the store in Crossapol on the island. Ian Smith, owner of Tiree Whisky Company, said:

“2020 has been a challenging year for most people so we wanted to inject a bit of festive cheer into the lives of everyone in Tiree and give them a small gift. “We’ll be taking orders and delivering to Buth a’ Bhaile from today until 23rd December. Together, as a community, we can reflect on 2020 and raise a glass to the New Year.”

Islanders over the age of 18 among Tiree’s population of 650 people can apply for their gift by filling out a form on the Tyree Gin website.

The Isle of Tiree has a fascinating distilling heritage which Tiree Whisky Company Ltd has resurrected in recent years. Their distillery is the first on the island in over 217 years.

The company’s first product, Tyree Gin, was launched at Tiree Music Festival 2017. This product reflects the landscape in which it is distilled, incorporating kelp harvested from the icy waters, coastal salty flavours and a range of botanicals from the machair ground inland from the shore. Earlier this year, the small spirits’ producer launched Hebridean Pink Gin, which comes in a striking pink bottle and is distilled using juniper berries, raspberries and sweet peels.

Despite the challenges of 2020, the company also recently invested in new stills and equipment for future production planned for 2021 as they look ahead to a positive year.

“Seal of Approval” From Local Volunteers

Sunday evening, all cooried in for the night and a call comes through. “We are just heading to check out a seal at Balevullin, meet you there.”

It’s that time of year here on Tiree, the wind that attracts all those who love watersports is pretty constant and it’s been a bit rough all day. By the time I arrive Louise Reid and Margaret Worsley, two Marine Mammal Medics with BDMLR, have already assessed the seal and are on the phone to control.

The seal is a young Common and it looks exhausted. The waves are crashing in at Balevullin and it’s obvious this one has had a bit of a time of it. The decision is made and the wee one is going to head to the vets for the night to get some fluids and rest. However, how to get it there? After a bit of a discussion, the seal is wrapped up in a make shift stretcher, Louise’s Barbour coat, with its head in a sleeve so it doesn’t bite and after struggling across the sand we get it into a holdall to transport it to the vets. However, I hear the zips coming undone as we drive along and sure enough its head is poking out the bag when we arrive.

The next day was full of excitement as the seal decided it wasn’t happy being at the vets after a night’s rest and it was agreed to release it as soon as possible. A couple of fish boxes tied together were used to transport it this time and the seal was off like a rocket when it arrived back on the beach. We were all ecstatic but also discussed how we could improve on our rescues in the future. Being a volunteer team and based on an island it has always been a case of make do. I used to work for a wildlife hospital on the mainland and knew there was equipment we could use but it is expensive. One of the key items was a seal stretcher which would make carrying the seals along the beaches and rocky shoreline a lot easier. Now seal stretchers are specialist bits of kit and hard to come by so I spoke to 1-2-1 Animal Handling Products who make shark carriers for moving animals between aquariums. They were intrigued by our request and offered us one of their carriers at a discounted price. So that evening we put the story out about the seal rescue along with a link to a Just Giving page and a target of £500.

Within an hour of the page being set up I got a message from Frazer MacInnes. Frazer co-runs Tiree Sea Tours which take folk out looking for dolphins, whales, seals and basking sharks. Tiree Sea Tours wanted to pay for the stretcher! In Fraz’s words “Our business relies on the wildlife in our seas around Tiree and it’s important that we also help to look after them”. I let the team know and by the next day we were buzzing as not only had we had this great news, we had exceeded our fundraising target to £695. Our new stretcher arrived last week and the team have had a chance to practice with it and it’s all ready to go. We are also in the process of ordering some other essential pieces of kits such as transport carriers to keep the seals safe on their journeys off the island into rehab. If required.

We are incredibly grateful to Tiree Sea Tours, 1-2-1 Animal Handling Products and all the generous supporters of our appeal which will ensure the safety of rescued seals and cetaceans in the coming years on Tiree.

Yellow-bellied Flycatcher at Balephuil

On the morning of Tuesday 15 September 2020, a very rare bird was spotted in the gardens at Balephuil. This proved to be a young Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, a colourful migrant that breeds in the northern spruce forests of North America during the summer and winters in the tropical forests of Central America. This species has never been seen before in Europe, let along the UK, and had presumably been blown off course across the Atlantic by the fast-moving depression that hit the island on 13 September.

Knowing that such an exotic vagrant would attract much attention from other birders wishing to see it, and given the current Covid19 situation, we decided not to publicise the sighting. Unfortunately, one of the other birders present on the island at the time let the news slip to a friend of his and by midnight it was clear that the news had been broadcast widely. Together with Hayley Douglas, the Tiree Ranger, we therefore had no option but to manage the ensuing “twitch” following strict ScotGov Covid19 guidelines.

Some 120 people arrived over the following three days, car-parking was organised with help from neighbours, and a strict queuing system was put in place. Fortunately, everyone who came was well behaved and followed the advice given, such that they were all able to see the bird safely. Access to the gardens was closed on the Friday night to give everyone and the bird a rest.

A further 40 people arrived in much smaller groups over the following five days and most were able to view the bird from the adjacent track. After nine days of busily feeding up on insects, including many of our neighbours’ honey-bees, the bird finally departed on the night of 23 September. This was a cold clear night with a light northerly breeze, ideal for the bird to continue its journey south. Quite where it will end up is a mystery. Let’s hope it will refuel again in Spain and end up wintering in the tropical forests of sub-Saharan Africa.

As a thank-you gift, the visiting birders (and some who didn’t come) donated generously to the Tiree Community Trust via a bucket on the site and through a just-giving page. To date this has raised at least £1,800 so far for the island.

John Bowler & Hayley

Image courtesy of John Bowler

NEWS. Click below for Isle of Tiree coronavirus updates.

Bringing you the latest and the best information from the entire range of sources that we currently have access to. We will update these pages as soon as any new information becomes available.

Coronavirus (Covid-19) Updates

Image result for coronavirus image

Tiree Medical Practice Update 25th April

Due to the COVID 19 outbreak we are now offering video consultations using ‘Near Me’. This will help us continue to provide appointments in a safe way, minimise face to face contact and hopefully keep infection rates low. 
Over the next few weeks we will continue to offer the same telephone consultations and face to face appointments if required but when we call you back we might offer you a video consultation. 
I thought it would be a good idea to post this video to explain a bit more about it.
Some hospitals are now using this as an option rather than offering you a face to face appointment on the mainland.
We are keen for all Tiree patients to get in touch if you are not feeling well. We are open for business as usual but are trying to consult in as safe a way as possible. 
Please click on this link if you want to find out more.

https://bit.ly/nearmetiree
Thanks again for all the support

Tiree Medical Practice

Notice from Tiree Coastguard

April 17, 2020 

Lachie Brown, Officer in Charge of Tiree Coastguards has asked people to stay out of the sea during the lock-down in case there are accidents at a time when the emergency services are so stretched. Some in this country have argued that surfing, windsurfing or sailing count as their permitted daily exercise. However, lifeboat crews were called out last week in Devon to incidents involving a kayaker and dinghy sailor. The RNLI has made this statement: ‘While you are allowed out for daily exercise, we do not recommend that this exercise is in or on the sea. ‘Swim England have consulted with Public health England. They say that ‘Open Water Swimming is an activity that is not currently permitted. 

Update from the Medical Practice 31st March 2020

Things have changed a lot for everyone since our last message.  It is great to see the effort being made on Tiree to follow advice and keep as distant as possible from one another.  

Probably the hardest place for everyone to keep their distance from those around them is the COOP, but we all need to eat.  We are really grateful to all the staff at the COOP for their continued efforts to make distancing possible whilst shopping.  

At the surgery, we are doing as many consultations as we possibly can by telephone.  We are grateful for your co-operation with this and with the new arrangements for picking up medication.  We now have a temporary Assessment Room beside the Dentists Surgery, which will be for assessing people with symptoms that could be Covid-19.  This will allow us to prevent the virus being passed on to patients or staff at the surgery building. 

We have prepared a temporary ward at Baugh Church.  This will allow us to look after anyone unwell with the virus, who cannot manage at home.  We hope we do not have to use it, but we need to be prepared.  We will be contacting those who have volunteered to be staff at the ward this week. 

We have heard more about the ambulance services arrangements for anyone who needs to be evacuated with Covid-19.  There will now be an air ambulance service using the fixed wing aircraft.

We are seeing a few people with cough and fever symptoms, but as time goes by, it is becoming clearer that some people with coronavirus do not always have both of these.  If you feel unwell and have any cold, cough or fever type symptoms, please let us know.  We may not always need to see you face to face, but we would like to hear from you please.  

You have probably heard talk of Covid-19 testing in the news.  Unfortunately, we still do not have access to testing except for front line health care workers, in order to get them back to work if they are suspected of having the virus.

There is a huge amount of effort going in from people across the community, be it helping move equipment, building partitions for the Ward at Baugh Church, making uniforms for volunteers at the Ward, plumbing and electrics installation for the Assessment Room, helping those more vulnerable to Covid-19 infection to isolate by doing their shopping or administrative and organisational work.  It’s a long list and we are really grateful to everyone who is helping to hold back the spread of the virus, and make preparations for whatever it may bring.

 For up to date information regarding COVID-19 in the community visit www.tireetrust.org.uk/covid-19

Louise Reid

Admin Assistant

Tiree Community Development Trust

Update from Tiree Medical Practice: COVID19

24th March 2020

Many of you may have noticed activity around Baugh Church. 
Whilst we hope we never have to use it we have set up Baugh Church as a potential ward ( not hospital) so that we can look after a number of unwell people at a time if we needed to do so.
The church now has a couple of hospital beds and is equipped with supportive treatment such as oxygen, fluids and medicines.
As you are all very well aware we have limited medical staff and we are hoping to make a list of potential volunteers who might be able to help us keep the ward going. In particular we are looking for people who may have had carer or nursing backgrounds but we are basically keen for anyone that thinks they might be able to help. Volunteers could not be in an ‘at risk’ group.
To give an update on the current situation on Tiree: we have a few families self isolating but this has not increased a huge amount over the past few days. Please let us know if you think you have symptoms and are self isolating as it will help us get an idea of levels of the virus on the island.
Thanks so much to everyone for paying attention to all the advice regarding self isolating and social distancing we really hope it will pay off so keep it up!
Also thanks to all our amazing volunteers who are helping with prescription deliveries and with shopping please contact Rona if you need assistance with this.

Doctors :

Mike,Linds,Ali and Andy

22/03/2020

CalMac state ferry travel across Scotland must be for essential travel only

The First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced today, Sunday 22 March 2020, that ferry travel across Scotland must be for essential travel only.

From now on ferries will be for those who live on our islands, who have an essential need to travel to or from the mainland, and for essential supplies or business.  Nothing else. The return of non-residents from islands back to the mainland will also be deemed essential travel. 

If you have already bought or booked a ticket but your travel is not essential, then you should not be travelling, and you must contact us for a refund. We expect the travelling public will listen to this new guidance to keep everyone of us as safe as possible

Glasgow-Tiree Air Service Public Service Obligation (PSO)

Tiree Community Council and Tiree Transport Forum are in dialogue with the Aviation Sector of Transport Scotland on our Glasgow to Tiree PSO through the COVID 19 health crisis which is seriously impacting on the numbers using the Glasgow flights, Michael Bratcher, Aviation Department, Transport Scotland has responded to us this week as follows;
There are no immediate plans to change the network further but things are moving quickly so that may change’

Update on Glasgow-Tiree Air Service

Michael Bratcher, Transport Scotland, Aviation Dept. 23 March 2020

As you may be aware, capacity is being scaled back on the Tiree-Glasgow service at present in light of the significantly reduced demand. This will initially involve doubling up the Campbeltown and Tiree service using the existing Twin Otters. I think there may have been a misunderstanding that the Saabs were getting brought in to increase capacity but, in fact, the opposite is the case. I’m sure you’ll agree that it makes little sense to fly empty or near empty planes so a capacity cut in the short term is inevitable. Things are moving pretty quickly so it may be the case that capacity is cut further if demand continues to remain at these very low levels. I am of course conscious of the need for connectivity to be maintained so that residents and supplies can get on and off the island where necessary.

One issue to note is that the Twin Otter aircraft may be needed by the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) to augment the existing air ambulance capacity. The Twin Otters can be fitted out to carry stretchers and are capable of landing at airstrips that other aircraft are not. If a Twin Otter aircraft is not available then a Saab may operate but please note that this would only be because the Twin Otter was not available and not due to any capacity requirement. It is anticipated that passenger levels will remain very low for some time to come.

Covid-19 CalMac prioritisation of goods for transport-statement

Information is from Elizabeth Ferguson, CalMac Community Board Member

As the situation around the Covid:19 outbreak develops, it is critical that essential goods are transported to where they are required.  At CalMac, we have a key part to play in this supply chain.  To assist everyone during these challenging times, a list of goods which are deemed priority has been created.  Any vehicle – be that an articulated vehicle, van, car with or without a trailer, involved in the transportation of these goods will be given priority on all routes and on all sailings.  They include: 

·         Vehicles carrying food and other goods for supermarkets and shops

·         Vehicles carrying drugs and other medical supplies

·         Vehicles carrying medical oxygen

·         Vehicles carrying items required by the emergency services, in particular medical items related to the current Covid-19 outbreak

·         Vehicles carrying fuel

·         Vehicles carrying livestock.

As you will understand, this may result in vehicles with non-urgent goods that may or may not have a booking being moved to a later sailing. In the current situation, this is unavoidable, and  we will do our best to clearly communicate the reason for any booking being moved to a later sailing.

If there are any issues or problems relating to this, please speak to the relevant Port Manager.

 END

Shop Safely on Tiree

As you know, coronavirus is circulating on Tiree. Keeping away from other people is an effective way to reduce the chance of you catching the disease and the chance of you passing it around our community.

We are really lucky to have the shops we have on Tiree. But with most meetings and gatherings cancelled, they are one of the few places left on the island where you might bump into someone else. Shopping safely has therefore become very important.

Here are some basic rules to follow:

· If you are at risk of getting a more severe illness from the virus – if you are over 70 or if you don’t keep in the best of health – consider asking someone else to shop for you (phone Rona Campbell on 01631 572975)

· Shop once week rather than every few days

· Shop on your own rather than in a group

· Stay at least 2 metres away from other shoppers from the moment you enter to the moment you leave. If the shop is crowded, wait in your car until there is more space. It is usually quiet early and late in the day

· Do not stop to chat. This goes against our very nature, but it’s important for the next few weeks!

· When you get home, wash your hands thoroughly, leave your shopping in the porch overnight and wipe down hard containers like milk bottles with hot, soapy water

The Coop on Tiree is now offering the time between 8 and 9 am that is dedicated to those over 60 and the carers of vulnerable people.

Dr John Holliday

HEALTH MATTERS

Number C.1

It has been a while since I put this series to bed, but I thought I would resuscitate it since we are officially in The Thick of It.

It is so important not to touch our faces at the moment. And so difficult! A study from New South Wales in 2015 filmed 26 medical students who had been told that they were under observation and that they should try to keep their hands under control. Despite this pressure, they touched their faces 23 times an hour on average. That is once every three minutes. Half the time this involved their eyes, nose and mouth, those little bits of us that are lined with sensitive membranes that viruses home in on.

So if you are stuck at home, wondering what family game to play, sit around the table for three minutes and try not to touch your face. Let me know how you get on!

Dr John Holliday 24/03/2020

THINK OF OUR POSTIES!

Most of us are all getting used to a new life tucked up at home, and a lot of us are spending more time in front of our screens. It is very tempting, when we can’t get out to the shops, to order stuff online. Please remember, though, that every order we make needs the attention of staff in some warehouse or other and a whole network of couriers including our own Tiree posties and delivery drivers. Every time a packet or box is handled and delivered to your door, there is a chance that it picks up the virus. We know that the virus can survive on cardboard for up to 24 hours. In the present circumstances, we depend more than ever on online shopping, but please think of all the people working in the supply chain. Don’t click unless you really need to!

Dr John Holliday, 24/03/2020

TIREE AND CORONAVIRUS

For a hundred years Tiree has welcomed visitors and won worldwide fame for its sunshine, its beaches and its welcome. The season to visit the island is upon us and we would normally expect to see over 20,000 people before the end of the year.

However, the current coronavirus epidemic is a once-in-a-century event. The virus is already circulating on the island. We know from past experience that epidemics have a particularly intense effect on our small, isolated community, which in winter numbers just 650 and contains a high number of elderly people. We need your help to get through the next few months as safely as we can.

The doctors and emergency services on Tiree are now at full stretch and working in very difficult circumstances. An increased workload from a large number of visitors is going to increase the strain.

We are trying to keep contact between people down to a bare minimum. Almost all meetings, church services and group activities have been cancelled. We are encouraging people to shop responsibly: that means a single person shopping just once a week with as little social contact inside the shop as possible. Many vulnerable and elderly islanders have retreated into their homes, and, often, would like to keep visitors to a minimum.

We would ask you to think carefully about your visit to Tiree at the moment. It is not that we are worried about you bringing coronavirus to the island. There is plenty here already. But we need to be able to work without distraction on the challenges we face: treating people and reducing the penetration of the disease into the community.

When coronavirus is all over and we are able to party again, normal service will be resumed!

We are grateful for your help and support.

Drs Mike McIver, Lindsay Kerr, Ali Ambrose and Andrew Clark, supported by Dr John Holliday and the members of Tiree Community Council

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