From Glasgow to Benbecula via Stornoway

Providing funding across all of Scotland means we get to experience how funding can help people at a local level. In February 2016 we were in Eilean Siar, delivering outreach in Stornoway and Balivanich.

Helen Curry and Peter Watson joined me on this and here is a summary of our trip.

Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, Tuesday 16 February 2016

The day started with taxi pick-ups. Peter was first at 5.20am before getting me and then Helen. We arrived at Glasgow Airport roughly one hour before our 7am flight. While on the plane, the captain informed us there will be 40-60mph winds and to expect turbulence! It was all good though and we got there safely.

After a morning meeting with Third Sector Hebrides we were onto the meet the funder roadshow in Lews Castle. Some examples of projects we talked about were providing facilities across northern Lewis, whale watching and reducing isolation when living in a rural area.

Our funding information table in Lews Castle

We finished at 7.30pm. Following a lift back to the town centre, we enjoyed the food and evening on the Isle of Lewis. If like me you forget to bring a toothbrush and are wandering around the town centre at 10.45pm, a supermarket is open until midnight.

Balivanich, Benbecula, Wednesday 17 February 2016

Our taxi picked us up at the hotel at 7.45am to get us to Stornoway Airport. The 9am flight to Benbecula takes 20 minutes and is a stunning experience. Flying at around 19,000 feet, you can see over Lewis, Harris and North Uist. Prior to the funding event we took advantage of Benbecula’s natural beauty.

The stunning beach in Benbecula

Its tropical looking sea and beach made it was easy to forget we were still in the UK. That was of course other than a never ending wind!

Still with some sand on our shoes, we went to in Balivanich Community Centre, which was funded by Big Lottery Fund. Organisations we met with explained their projects and activities. Helping older people, organising a community festival and opportunities for people with disabilities were of particular note.

This event also finished at 7.30pm. On our way out of the community centre we were told a fire was about to take place! It was actually a fire drill involving dummies. Helen, Peter and I thought we were about to become props.

On the journey back to the hotel in Liniclate, our now regular taxi driver gave us a summary of Hercules the Bear’s time on the island. After a Hebridean breakfast the next morning, we arrived back in Glasgow on the Thursday afternoon.

What’s next

This month there are events in Perth and Kinross, Moray, North Lanarkshire and South Lanarkshire.

Overall, keep an eye on our blog and Twitter for where else we will be. We provide funding across all 32 local authority areas so hopefully we will get to meet you soon.


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