Good neighbours are looking out for each other throughout the Western Isles, as the full implications of self-isolation and social distancing begin to be realised.

Individuals, villages and districts are getting organised to help people out with the practicalities, and the loneliness, of enforced isolation over a long period.

And, as Comhairle nan Eilean Siar commented today (Thursday 19 March) “The communities of the Western Isles have a rich history of pulling together in times of need. This is one such time, and we need to be there for each other.”

Offers of help to neighbours are being notified to us including:

  • Groups and individuals in Upper Bayble, Portvoller, Flesherin and Keose who have been contacting neighbours, with notes due to drop through people’s doors carrying phone numbers and offers of help.
  • Community associations in Berneray, Grimsay, Carloway and Tong who are turning to active community support as village halls and community centres close their doors
  • Businesses including Bernera Post Office and the Veggie Box who are prepared to arrange for deliveries of additional items to customers in their area.
  • New community response groups, such as the one in South Harris (at https://www.facebook.com/groups/230441011481701/?hc_location=ufi) offering help to anyone who needs it in the area from Lickisto and Luskentyre south to Leverburgh.

See our linked article under community information for latest updates on who is offering to help.

Meanwhile some islanders who have seen business fall away with the Coronavirus lockdown are turning their talents to positive support.

Lewis band Astrid (Willie Campbell and Charlie Clark), who have seen summer concert bookings cancelled, are planning a live stream concert tomorrow (Friday 20 March) from Willie’s kitchen in Tolsta. Requests and money pledges will be taken in aid of the Eilean Siar Foodbank. More details of that are available via the band’s facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Astridbanduk/

Online stationery seller Janet Ross Jordan is offering a free pack of writing paper, to help people brighten up the day for those on their own.

She said: “Maybe I should call it 'isolation pack' but I didn't want people to think it included toilet roll! I wanted to make some free packs for anyone who needed them. It’s not much, but I do think sending cards and letters will really help someone who isn’t seeing human beings in person.” Find it at https://cardsandgiftwrap.co.uk/shop/stationery/cards-and-letterwriting/letterwriting/coronavirus-correspondence