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Yesterday (Tuesday June 1) was Day 1 of Volunteers Week across the UK and in Stornoway there was a busy training evening for Stornoway Coastguard Rescue Team at Arnish Point.

Murdo Macaulay, the Coastguard Area Commander for Western Isles, Skye and Lochaber, said on Twitter: “We have almost 200 volunteer Coastguard Rescue Officers across this area who are #alwaysoncall as part-time emergency service professionals.”

Earlier, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar Leader, Councillor Roddie Mackay, took the opportunity to thank all the volunteers across the Western Isles for their exceptional efforts over the past year.

Councillor Mackay said: “Whilst it is impossible to name all the groups or to capture the range of support offered via voluntary groups across the islands over the past year, the service provided has been immeasurable.

“They have provided comfort, practical support and assistance and aid whenever required. It is also important to thank those who gave of their time without being linked to a specific group.

“Many in our communities helped those around them with phone calls, garden visits, shopping, meals and other practical support, and did this with no expectation of recognition.

“In April 2020 when the Comhairle first asked for volunteers to support those who were shielding, over 700 responded, both individuals and groups.  This huge response was across the island chain and ensured that there was support available in every community for those who needed it.  Many called the helpline for support with shopping, collection of medication and all were supported.

“The Foodbanks throughout the Islands have supported the communities, providing fresh fruit, dairy and bread as well as tinned and packet foods to ensure those in need have access to a full and healthy diet.

“Many of the local churches and community groups have also provided much needed support in their community, including the one at Kinloch.

“A huge thank you to all the volunteers across the islands who have done really exceptional work in support of our communities.”