A typical day's news bulletin will have 3 or 4 stories of local relevance plus local sporting fixtures/results.

Support is on offer for community services facing increased costs

The North Highland Initiative has announced an Energy Support Programme aimed at helping its communities meet the current, and still developing, energy and cost of living crisis. It says that many community and voluntary groups will be facing increased charges for meeting spaces, food larders or meal services, and it believes these services are vital to keep our communities vibrant, to sustain our young, elderly, or vulnerable, and to support well-being programmes and combat loneliness

It is offering grants of up to £1,000 pounds to community groups and services in need. The fund has a simple application form and promises that the decision making will be swift. NHI operates across Caithness, Sutherland and Ross & Cromarty, and it aims to help grow the potential of North Highland’s natural resources and talent to encourage economic stability and build diverse resilient communities.

NHI’s Community Support Programme has distributed almost £200,000 pounds of small grants to over 120 community led projects in the last two years, and it is also still open for applications. Details for both grant funding programmes are on the NHI website.

A Wester Ross community garden reports generous support from the public

The Sitooterie Wildlife Observation Garden in Pier Road, Gairloch currently holds Keep Scotland Beautiful’s highest award of “Outstanding” under the “It’s your Neighbourhood” scheme as well as a Certificate of Distinction for constant improvements. It introduced outdoor donation boxes four years ago to encourage visitor donations, and has announced that by this week the total raised from the boxes exceeded £4,000 pounds. 

Sitooterie Coordinator, David Carruthers says that he is delighted at the news of the contributions to maintenance and development of the garden funded by visitor donations. He added that this support for the Sitooterie has been vital in helping with the growth of the garden and all its improvements, and would continue to help the Sitooterie to prosper in the future.

Highland suicide rates are above the Scottish national average

A report from National Records of Scotland shows the Highland Council area and NHS board area is second highest for probable suicides in terms. Across NHS Highland there were 49 suspected suicides in 2021 and, although this represents a higher rate than the average for Scotland as a whole, it was a decrease of around six per cent compared with the previous year.

A Little Lochbroom entrepreneur has been shortlisted for recognition

Linda Celis of Pancake Barn Tearoom has been shortlisted as a finalist in the “Women of Inspiration” category of the Highland Business Women Awards 2022. Highland Business Women is a networking club for women in the Highlands who are business owners, in employment, self-employed or retired. The 2022 Highland Business Women Awards will be held in Inverness on August 25th. The Pancake Barn Tearoom is in Durnamuck on Little Lochbroom, and is also a winner of a 2022 Traveller Review Awards on travel site Booking.com.

A local care home is looking for new visitors to add variety to life for residents

Strathburn House in Gairloch is looking for volunteers to go into the home to support its residents with new activities or entertainment. It invites anyone with a hobby or talent that they could share with the residents and could spare some time to get in touch with Donna Miller at the home. Donna says becoming a volunteer visitor to the home is easy, and the home will cover the cost of the required PVG certification.

A local event celebrating our dark skies is planned

The Wester Ross Biosphere is proposing to hold a Dark Skies Festival in November to take advantage not only of the shortening days, but also the slightly better weather than would be expected later in the depths of winter. As well as promoting understanding of Highland’s dark skies and the benefits of spending time in the dark, it also plans to encourage fringe events, inviting local businesses, individuals and groups to host activities under the banner of the festival.

The Biosphere says this could include activities such as photography or art classes, walks, or exercise sessions, in addition to dark skies-related training for various ages. It hopes the festival will provide an opportunity for local people and visitors to try out new activities and for local businesses or practitioners to trial new services. It also invites any other suggestions for activities to be included.

A Scottish crime writer is visiting Ullapool tomorrow

Scottish crime writer G R Halliday, will be visiting Ullapool Bookshop tomorrow to meet readers and sign copies of his novels in the DI Monica Kennedy series, after the recent release of his latest title, Under the Marsh. Mr Halliday now lives outside Inverness, where he is able to pursue his favourite pastimes of mountain climbing and sea swimming.

In the weekend football...

Ross County was beaten three-one at home by Celtic, and remains without a win so far in the Premiership. The match was level at one each with just six minutes of normal time to go but Celtic scored twice in the final minutes to win the game. In the Championship, Inverness Caley Thistle drew nil-nil away from home with Arbroath, and also has yet to win its first league match of the season.