News - Naidheachdan

SNP MSP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Alasdair Allan, has welcomed this morning’s announcement that the Scottish Government will provide additional funding to protect Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s Gaelic Development Officers Scheme.

Initially an additional £175,000 will be provided to Bòrd na Gàidhlig to maintain the development officer roles, with the development agency being asked by the Scottish Govenmernt to review the scheme in the meantime in order to provide a plan for its sustainable operation in future, including support and oversight of the community officers, to allow ministers to consider options for the scheme’s continued funding.

In February the future of the Gaelic Officers Scheme, which has been running for two years, was thrown into doubt. While Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s core funding remained steady for the 2024/25 budget, the funding uplift received by the agency in recent years had not been able to be renewed.

Commenting on today’s announcement, Alasdair Allan MSP said:

“The news of this additional funding, and commitment to ensure these jobs continue being protected for the long-term, will be a great relief to many. I thank the Education Secretary for her engagement on this issue and for identifying the necessary funding to extend the development officer contracts, especially at a time when budgets across the board are stretched to their limits.

“The loss of these jobs would have gone against the aims and principles of the new languages bill, and would have represented a significant local loss and step back in progress, particularly in rural communities. While the Scottish Government’s budget is under severe pressure – with the proportion of funding received in the block grant for this year from the UK Government at its lowest level ever – it is vital to highlight the critical stage at which the Gaelic language remains. If Gaelic is to continue being used as a community language, work to protect the language’s heartlands needs to be properly funded.

“I will be watching with interest in the coming weeks as the Education Committee in parliament begins its scrutiny of the Scottish Languages Bill, and in the meantime I hope today’s news will be of reassurance to those working so hard to promote the language and culture in their local communities.”

More information can be found here.

 

 

Alasdair Allan MSP has welcomed the announcement by the Scottish Government of a further £30 million of funding for two funds aimed at improving mental health and wellbeing in adults, children, and young people.

The Communities Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund for Adults has supported local community groups to deliver programmes focused on connecting people and providing peer support helping to tackle social isolation, loneliness, and mental health inequalities through activities such as sports, outdoor activities, and the arts.

The Children and Young People’s Community Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund supports local authorities to deliver community-based mental health and wellbeing support for young people aged five to 24 and their families including mentoring, art-based therapies, digital services, whole-family support, counselling, and sport of physical activities.

Commenting, the MSP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar said:

“The announcement of an additional £30 million in funding for community-based mental health and wellbeing projects will support adults, children, and young people across the Western Isles.

“This investment reflects the Scottish Government’s commitment to tackling mental health inequalities and providing essential support for adults, children, and young people across Scotland.

“The funds will enable grassroots initiatives to deliver vital programmes aimed at building resilience and addressing social isolation, through prevention and early intervention.”

 

Alasdair Allan, SNP MSP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, has welcomed new figures which show that 1,077 baby boxes have been delivered to support expectant parents across NHS Western Isles.

Over 292,000 baby boxes have been delivered to expectant parents across Scotland - providing them with around £420 worth of essential items for their newborn.

The SNP is committed to supporting Scotland's young people from birth to ensure that they have a secure and healthy start to life - a policy which is having a significant positive influence on the health outcomes of Scottish infants.

Commenting, SNP MSP Alasdair Allan said:

"1,077 baby boxes have now been delivered to support expectant parents across the Western Isles. This means roughly three baby boxes have been sent to the constituency every week since the policy’s roll out, providing a substantial £420 worth of items to support newborns from birth.

"The difference in priorities between the Government here in Holyrood and those fighting it out for Number 10 in Westminster could not be starker. The SNP is committed to ensuring every child has the nurturing care they need to have the best start in life and to fulfil their potential as we continue to prioritise reducing levels of child poverty.

“Whilst Labour and the Conservatives continue to support cutting budgets and upholding policies such as the bedroom tax, two child limit and the rape clause, analysis shows that the SNP Government's approach to supporting infants and young people is having significantly positive health outcomes – and this includes the 1,077 baby boxes delivered to the Western Isles."

ENDS

Alasdair Allan, MSP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar has welcomed the news that the mobile cinema project, Screen Machine has extended the lease of its current mobile cinema for an additional two years.

The new lease was made possible thanks to £350,000 from Screen Scotland; part of Creative Scotland, which raises its funding in part from the Scottish Government. This lease extension means the cinema will continue to serve communities across the Western Isles until at least April 2026.

Alasdair Allan commented:

“It’s fantastic to hear Screen Machine, a project which has brought the big screen experience to so many of my constituents for twenty-six years, is set to continue until at least 2026, in large part due to pressure from MSPs and their constituents.

“I am grateful to my constituents for getting in touch about the future of this project. I think it demonstrates just important having a means to access films and the arts means to island communities.

“Of course we should always be looking at new ways to showcase the latest releases to communities without a cinema, but there can be little doubt the Screen Machine has been and continues to be a much valued institution for many of my constituents.”

SNP MSP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Alasdair Allan, has welcomed today’s announcement that HHP’s 12-unit housing project in Leverburgh will go ahead, with work expected to commence this summer.

The local community has been consistently pushing for social housing to be built in the area. Despite a significant cost per unit, initially resulting in a large funding gap, efforts from the Scottish Government, the Comhairle, HHP, the preferred contractor, the landowner and the local community council have ensured that 12 new homes for rent will be built in Leverburgh.

Commenting, Alasdair Allan MSP said:

“I am delighted that the unwavering work of the local community to make the case for this development has been rewarded – having these extra homes will make an enormous business to the area. Harris is one of the areas in the Western Isles where housing is most in demand, yet Leverburgh has not, until now, benefited from any social housing locally.

“I am pleased that the Scottish Government recognised the importance of this project and agreed to provide the highest possible grant, despite the national budget being under such pressure at present. I hope that the remaining SHIP funding, provided by the Scottish Government, will be able to be fully utilised across the Western Isles, in rural as well as more populated areas, to help address the housing shortage.

“It is very encouraging to see local stakeholders working together to bring this project to fruition, and I look forward to seeing work commence on these vital new homes in the months ahead.”

SNP MSP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Alasdair Allan, welcomed increased funding from NatureScot for greylag goose management.

Several local goose management groups in the Western Isles will benefit from a significant rise in funding towards cull schemes aimed at controlling greylag goose population sizes in crofting areas. Geese can cause agricultural damage to crops and pasture land through feeding, trampling and fouling.

The local management group in Uist and Barra was awarded £20,000 in January 2024, representing a dramatic increase on the £7,500 provided in 2022/2023. £19,000 will be spent on culling greylag geese with £1,000 earmarked for population modelling.

Around 8,000 greylag geese have been counted in Uist over the past few years. The new funding will allow a cull scheme to reduce the population by a target number of 2,735 birds. An additional 1,200 greylags are also shot annually by gamekeepers employed by Stòras Uibhist, the community landlord in South Uist, and the landlord also makes funding directly available to township committees on the estate for goose scaring equipment and activities.

NatureScot recently completed a 5-year review into national goose policy. A formal goose management policy has been in place in Scotland since 1999.

Commenting, Alasdair Allan said:

“The significant increase in funding is very encouraging, and local management groups have indicated their confidence that it will allow them to reduce the greylag population to a much more manageable size in a matter of years.

“The support demonstrates the Scottish Government’s commitment to crofting by responding to calls for additional funding for culling schemes following a worrying upsurge in bird numbers. Not only will this assist groups in managing numbers, it will help in safeguarding machair biodiversity and traditional agriculture in areas like the Western Isles.”

 

 

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