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      Stornoway, Broadbay & Lochs news

The Western Isles Sensory Centre in Stornoway, which closed in March, is set to reopen next month after the signing of a contract with Highland Blindcraft.

It is anticipated the centre will open its doors again on Monday, June 10.

In addition to two Sensory Centre–based support staff, two new Sensory Support Rehabilitation Officers have been employed, and they will be available to carry out home assessments throughout the Western Isles.

The centre in Esplanade Court will be open Monday to Friday from 10 am to 2 pm, offering information and advice, equipment and hearing aid battery replacement. 

Supporting the Islands-wide sensory loss partnership is a new multi-agency umbrella forum called ‘Western Isles See Hear Improvement Group’.

The group membership includes the Comhairle, NHS Western Isles (Audiology) Third Sector Interface, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, Department of Work and Pensions, Highland Blindcraft and ‘DHALIAS’  (Deaf and Hearing Loss Isles Associated Support), the newly established voluntary support group.
Graeme Miller, the Comhairle’s  Health and Social Care Commissioning Services Manager, commented: “We are pleased that we have been able to reinstate support services for people with low vision or hearing loss, with as little disruption as possible. From a safety perspective, I very much welcome the direct involvement of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service in installing emergency smoke sensors in people’s homes.”

Deirdre Aitken, Chief Executive Officer at Highland Blindcraft Sensory Services, added: “Highland Blind Craft Sensory Services are delighted to have negotiated with stakeholders in the Western Isles to deliver dual sensory services from the Hub in Stornoway and outlying areas. We are looking forward to working in partnership with the stakeholders, and a trained team of staff will deliver services to meet the needs of people with hearing and/or sight loss.”

At the end of March, Sight Action Sensory Services ceased its operation at the Western Isles Sensory Centre in Stornoway and also its outreach work throughout the Islands. The registered charity - which was based in Dingwall – was the subject of a winding-up petition on March 8 and this came into effect when it was officially gazetted on March 19. The charity was previously rescued in 2020 when the Scottish Government intervened.