The effects of the Covid-19 pandemic have been far reaching and impacted communities across the world.

Now Lews Castle College UHI is launching a new project to assess how the pandemic has particularly impacted on how people in rural and remote areas in Scotland seek help for physical symptoms.

It is already well established that seeking help for health reasons can take longer and be more complicated in remote areas such as the Outer Hebrides.

There is now growing concern that because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be an increase in the number of deaths that can be avoided from things like cancer or heart disease, and that this could impact on those living in remote in rural communities.

Researchers from LCC UHI want to understand what influences help-seeking for new physical health symptoms, and to understand what people feel are barriers to seeking help. Knowing this will help to inform public health messages and help design better access to healthcare services.

Project leader Dr Gareth Davies said: “At LCC UHI our research and innovation activity is centered in our communities and we use our expertise to collaborate and engage with national and international projects and initiatives. It is essential that our work reflects the needs of our local communities.

This project seeks to understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the way people seek helps for physical symptoms. This can affect peoples’ health and their ability work and contribute to the local and regional economy.”

NHS Western Isles Research & Development Lead, Martin Malcolm, said: “The Western Isles in common with areas across the country have seen reductions in people accessing services during the pandemic for variety of reasons.  It's important to understand these as we seek to encourage people to continue to come forward with concerning health complaints.

“This study is greatly welcome and will complement our NHS data to help us understand the factors involved, particularly in our remote and rural communities. 

"NHS Western Isles is committed to collaborating with local research that addresses the particular challenges around health among our remote island communities.”

We are currently looking for people to take part in our research. Find out more on the research project and how you can take part here -

Join Lews Castle College UHI Music and the Environment Students for a live debate on - ‘What will the music industry look like post Covid’.


Facebook Live stream on LCC UHI –

Two teams of students will debate this key issue affecting the current music industry in front of three guest judges from the Music Industry.

Drawing upon research undertaken as part of the MA Core Module Sustainable Creative Endeavour in Contemporary Society (SCECS) the MA students will explore this highly topical and hugely significant question relating to the musical ecosystem they will be finding their niche within.

They will be judged by a panel of experts from the Scottish Music Industry 

To find out more about our Music and the Environment course - visit our website

Sustainable development lecturer Rebecca Smith tells us about her innovative new project to address textile waste.

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Rebecca Smith at The Bayble Exchange project

After ten years of teaching on the Sustainable Development programmes, I felt it was time to put theory into action, and the offer to have the use of an old historic shop in Bayble presented a perfect opportunity. The initial consultation stage was funded through a development grant from Scotland’s Climate Challenge Fund, Keep Scotland Beautiful, and I named the Community Interest Company that emerged from this ‘Roots for Low Impact Living C.I.C.’.

The Old Shop in Bayble first opened its doors in August 2020, with a focus on the exchange of clothes, books, toys, and other household items, in a bid to slow down the environmental impact of our collective consumer habits. We have since started selling a range of plastic-free/zero-waste everyday household items such as bamboo toothbrushes, shaving kits and cleaning alternatives to plastic brushes, as well as supporting the production and sale of locally made crafts. I was aware, however, that the modest interest in acquiring second-hand children’s and adult’s clothes would be far outstripped by the desire to donate volumes of no-longer-needed garments. To tackle this imbalance, the ‘Bayble Exchange’ project was born.

The project aims to take the excess clothes and textiles that are donated to the Old Shop in Bayble and turn them into desirable new products. During March 2021 we are looking to set up a creative team for repurposing this valuable but underused resource. With generous funding from the Crown Estates, we are delighted to be able to support three 30-week temporary contracts relating to the reworking, repairing, and reuse of unwanted textiles, and to provide an exciting opportunity for a designer, textile assistant and marketing media specialist to develop their skills. We hope this will result in a range of new, contemporary garments and other items, and to start off a conversation for how we might encourage greater sustainable textile use to the creative benefit of our island communities.

You can find out more about these contracts here (closing 22 March 2021):

Find out more about studying Sustainable development at LCC UHI here - Sustainable Development BSC (HONS)Sustainable Rural Development MSC