THE ILEACH :: THE INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPER FOR ISLAY + JURA

ISLAY & THE COVID-19 VIRUS: IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Last updated Thursday 25 June 2020

Prepared for the benefit of Islay residents, this downloadable PDF file offers general information along with details of the Islay Volunteer Network and the state of play with regard to local businesses and services. This will be updated regularly, so please check this page daily.

DOWNLOAD HERE

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In this week's issue:

Port Ellen Pontoons re-open to local sailors, SID receives grant to purchase Port Ellen Playing Fields, Busy Machrie Golf Links, How have the island's distilleries coped with social distancing on re-opening? Samantha MacArthur receives IHS Dux medal, Islay's musicians during lockdown, Loganair's plans for the Islay route, Jura Jottings, Jura's Amy Dunnachie's 'Aye for Aye' outdoor exhibition trail. Islay High School Awards.

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Excerpts from issue 47/18 20 June 2020

port ellen pontoons
A life on the ocean wave ... at last

With restrictions having been relaxed on outdoor activities as Scotland entered Phase 1 of lockdown, Port Ellen Pontoons once agained welcomed local boat owners to the facilities, albeit with strict rules.
Gus Newman of Port Ellen Harbour Association told the Ileach, "We have a notice on the pontoons stating that boat owners must stick to social distancing, must not travel more than five miles from the harbour, and should ensure that they inform somebody as to when and where they plan to go, and when they're due to return. We're insisting that they always carry a phone, VHF radio, or both, and to only sail with another person or persons from the same household.
"We have strictly forbidden any gatherings and banned crab fishing from the pontoons. Any children present must be supervised at all times and there is hand sanitiser available for general use. The pontoons will not be open to visitors until further notice.

Local boat owner, John Connor, expressed his thanks to the Harbour Association for the work they've put in to make the facilities available once more. "It's been great to get out on the boat again after a long winter. And under the present circumstances, it's given me something positive to focus on."

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SID buys Port Ellen Playing Fields
port ellen playing fields

South Islay Development (SID) has been awarded £110,200 to buy Port Ellen Playing Fields, which they plan to upgrade into an activity park with an adjacent campsite.
Local Development Officer at SID, Alyson MacGillivray, said, "We at SID are delighted to hear that the community of south Islay, after a challenging process, will soon become the official owners of the Port Ellen Playing Fields. The community, with assistance and guidance from South Islay Development, are looking forward to developing this historic outdoor space for future generations."
SID board director, Emma McGeachy said, "This funding is a game changer. It is the difference between moving forward into an exciting new future for the Playing Fields, or remaining stuck firmly in the past."
And Islay's close neighbours at Colonsay's Community Development Company have received £214,000 in order to purchase a Baptist manse in Upper Kilchattan so that they can develop it as short-term accommodation for families and key workers.
Rosalind Jewell, Project Co-ordinator, Colonsay Community Development Company, said, "It is vitally important that fragile communities such as ours look towards being sustainable without the need for external funding. The only way to secure this is to manage assets, which can generate long-term income for the community and provide jobs and housing. This funding from the Scottish Land Fund has helped the Development Company to secure such an asset and is a huge boost for the community."
Funding for both these projects on Islay and Colonsay totals £324,000, and has been awarded in the latest round of grants from the Scottish Land Fund. The programme is funded by the Scottish Government and delivered by the National Lottery Community Fund and Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).
Minister, Cabinet Secretary for Land Reform Roseanna Cunningham said, "The Covid-19 pandemic has been an unprecedented global crisis which has fundamentally changed every aspect of our lives, and will do so for some time to come. Communities across the country, whilst impacted in so many ways by the lockdown, are playing a vital role in responding to the crisis and maintaining our resilience, our sense of spirit and local support network.
"As we plan our recovery from coronavirus, we have a chance to re-imagine the Scotland around us, and to begin building a greener, fairer and more equal society and economy. Communities must be right at the heart of this process, and the funding announced will support a wide range of projects to achieve just this, driving long-lasting benefits and empowerment to local communities."

Sandra Holmes, Head of Community Assets at HIE, said, "These successful projects are all great examples of people taking control of local resources for the long-term benefit of their communities."

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Green party

Manager of The Machrie Hotel, Iain Hamilton, told the Ileach that, after re-opening the golf course earlier this month, the number of golfers playing over one day, had peaked at 41. Considering only two golfers are allowed to play together, with 20 minutes between each start time, pent-up demand over the past ten or so weeks has become quite palpable.
According to one club member, "Considering the very dry weather and the greatly reduced number of greenkeeping staff, the course is in remarkably good condition.
"The greens have not been cut as low as normal, so are somewhat slow, but very true - you just have to remember not to touch the flagsticks.
"Social distancing is easy, as we are restricted to playing with only one other person coupled with the gap between starts. The course is so big there is very little chance of straying near anyone else."

He continued, "One extra hazard is the feral goats who are attempting to expand their range from the Oa.
"On a personal note, my first round was terrible, but my second was one of the best I've had in years, so maybe I like slow greens."

In common with many island events, Cross Week will not take place this year, but many local members have expressed their gratitude to The Machrie for delaying the start of their membership year to 1 June for locals. Country memberships will begin whenever they are permitted to come here.
Sadly, operating even a closed hotel single-handedly, Iain hasn't had time for a round himself.

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Still here

The Ileach is now in its 47th year and has weathered more than just a few economic downturns in its time, local, national and global. However, the current situation is unprecedented in our lifetimes.
With every intention of heading towards forty eight years and beyond, we will continue to produce the newspaper for as long as is practical and possible. And just as in previous times of difficulty, we would appreciate your support in making this happen.
Although the office in Main Street, Bowmore is closed to the public, there will still be staff in the office Monday - Friday, 10am - 1pm. If you have stories to tell, articles to submit or need to advertise your services, please call on 01496 810 355, or e-mail theileach@ileach.co.uk
To keep up to date with important local information, please check our twitter feed @theileach or check this page regularly.
If you're staying at home and unable to pick up a paper copy, why not consider a PDF subscription? Annual cost is £27. We thank you and appreciate your continued support.
Stay safe.

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NEXT ISSUE ON SALE, Saturday 4 July 2020

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