Letters, September 3 2021


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Islay ferry service disruptions

Recent disruptions with our ferry service from Islay to the mainland have once again shown us just how much we depend on a fit-for-purpose service with reliable, newer vessels in operation.

Unfortunately this is currently not the case as our ferry fleet has been underfunded for many years, if not decades, as a result of decisions made by urban-centric central government.

Our frontline CalMac ferry crews and port staff are hardworking and are an asset to our island and mainland communities, however, they can only work with the tools they have at hand.

The 36-year-old MV Hebridean Isles is one of the oldest in the state-owned fleet and, while it was no doubt good in its day, that day has passed a long time ago.

Problems with our Islay ferry service have also been exacerbated with the continued poaching of one of our ferries in the summer months for other areas in which CalMac operates.

On numerous occasions in the past, distillers on Islay said they were facing major problems in transporting whisky over to the Scottish mainland because of a capacity crisis on the ferry links.

This simply cannot be allowed to continue. The feeling amongst many of my constituents is that it is we on Islay, Jura and Colonsay who always end up getting a raw deal.

Working as your local councillor, I have in the past and will continue to lobby for a fit-for-purpose ferry service to our islands.

Councillor Alastair Redman, Kintyre and the Islands.

Ending homelessness begins with mental health support

There is no question that the pandemic has had a real impact on people’s mental health right across the country.

We’ve had the anxiety and uncertainty around the virus itself coupled with isolating, being separated from loved ones and missing out on the daily interactions we probably took for granted before.

For people experiencing homelessness, all this has come on top of having nowhere to call home.

Working as part of a team of clinical psychologists at Crisis, I see at first-hand how disproportionately people facing homelessness are affected by mental health issues.

Many of these issues are linked to previous and devastating trauma and are only made worse by the circumstances they are forced to live in.

Part of our work at Crisis is to ensure our clients have the psychological support they need to establish a life away from homelessness.

Keeping this going through the pandemic has been a real challenge and Crisis staff have been finding all sorts of creative solutions.

Whether in person or online, all our work is only made possible by the fantastic people and organisations who support us, meaning we can continue to help people across the country to leave homelessness behind for good.

On behalf of Crisis and the thousands of people we support each year, we would particularly like to thank the players of People’s Postcode Lottery, across Scotland and elsewhere, who have helped fund the vital work of our clinical psychologists in such difficult times.

Peter Oakes, lead clinical psychologist at Crisis.