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At the start of the pandemic in March we took the decision to make online access to our news free of charge by taking down our paywall. At a time where accurate information about Covid-19 was vital to our community, this was the right decision – even though it meant a drop in our income. In order to help safeguard the future of our journalism, the time has now come to reinstate our paywall.
However, rest assured that access to all Covid related news will still remain free.
To access all other news will require a subscription, as it did pre-pandemic.
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We value our content and access to our full site is only available on subscription. Your subscription entitles you to 7-day-a-week access to our website, plus a full digital copy of that week’s paper to read on your pc/mac or mobile device In addition your subscription includes access to digital archive copies from 2006 onwards.
Shedding light on matters
I have been receiving a large number of messages from justifiably concerned constituents about the number of faulty streetlights from all corners of my council ward, from the islands to the mainland.
As I have said so many times before, our hardworking roads men do not have an easy time trying to meet growing demands with limited budgets. That said as we head into winter the need for regularly repaired streetlights becomes all the more important.
Our nights are drawing in and for safety reasons alone we cannot have large sections of our villages left in darkness.
I have been very active in bringing all malfunctioning streetlights to the attention of our roads and street-lighting department. I will also continue to lobby relentlessly for more infrastructure investment for every corner of my council ward.
Councillor Alastair Redman – Kintyre and Islands ward
Plea for pets
The Covid-19 pandemic continues to be exceptionally difficult for all of us, but has also led to crisis levels of ‘pet poverty’ in the UK.
PDSA is a charity that provides free and low cost vet care for those who struggle to pay treatment costs for their sick and injured pets.
Since the first UK lockdown began, we’ve seen an overwhelming number of additional enquiries from pet owners who have hit hard times. In the first three months of lockdown alone, we carried out more than 6,400 operations and 15,000 x-rays for pets in need.
On average, we’re providing 2,300 phone appointments every day to desperate pet owners. We predict there will be as many as 50,000 more pets eligible for our services over the months ahead, as a direct result of the economic hardship caused by the pandemic.
For many sick and injured pets, whose owners are struggling financially, PDSA is their only emergency service.
For more information on PDSA and the pet care crisis and how you can help, please visit PDSA.org.uk/whywematter
Paul Manktelow – PDSA Vet
Speak out, stay safe
Volunteers and staff from our NSPCC school service aren’t able to deliver our free Speak Out, Stay Safe assemblies in person at the moment, because of restrictions in place to reduce the spread of Covid-19.
But, so that we can continue to work alongside staff in primary schools to help children know what to do and who to speak to if something is worrying or upsetting them, we have launched a virtual programme. We have teamed up with Ant and Dec to produce a virtual assembly, which can be shown in primary schools across the country.
The assembly, which features our mascot Buddy, helps children to understand how to recognise different forms of abuse and identify a trusted adult should they ever have a concern.
Since May, the monthly number of referrals from the NSPCC helpline to agencies in Scotland, because of concerns about the wellbeing of a child, has been more than a third higher than pre-lockdown levels.
By signing up to the free virtual assemblies with the supporting teaching materials, which are also available in British Sign Language (BSL), primary schools across this region can help us to protect children.
To sign up visit nspcc.org.uk/speakout
Alan Stewart – Schools Service manager for NSPCC Scotland