Point and Sandwick Trust will be giving £5,000 a year for the next five years to Lewis and Harris Auction Mart in Steinish – a donation which should help the cash-strapped mart carry out much-needed repairs and help offset its costs of bringing in the professional buyers for the sales.

Point and Sandwick Trust representatives Donald John MacSween and Gordon Mackay joined Kenny Macleod and Donald MacBain for a photograph as the deal was announced.

PST board member Gordon Mackay was particularly pleased with the Point and Sandwick Trust sponsorship deal because he knows – being a crofter himself, as well as a local postie – how much the help is needed.

Gordon, who lives in Knock, said: “It’s so good that Point and Sandwick Trust are supporting this. It will help them get funding for other things and crofting needs this kind of support.”

A total of 59 Stornoway-based employees of the broadband services provider TalkTalk were been given notice of redundancy on Wednesday January 30th.

Staff received the shock news that the Stornoway call centre is to close at the end of July, with all jobs moving to Manchester.  Staff have been offered a relocation package or enhanced redundancy.

TalkTalk has had a presence in the Western Isles at the Gleann Seileach Business park since 2005T and has been welcomed as a supportive employer, with staff benefits including an annual away-day, when island employees are flown out on a chartered plane to a different destination each year.

A new business service being launched on Wednesday January 9th seeks to match people looking for live music with the musicians who can make their event go with a swing.

Wee Studio Entertainment is the latest idea from musician and sound specialist Keith Morrison, continuing his quest to invigorate the island music scene while giving as many musicians as possible a chance to make their music work.

Keith has a few precious weeks before his next major booking – a month-long tour of the USA’s east coast with the band Heron Valley, which starts at the end of February. He’s chosen to fill the time setting up a service that fills a need he’s acutely aware of.

Stornoway blacksmith Calum Stealach Macleod is reviving the art of wrought ironwork for Stornoway town centre, using salvaged 19th century iron from the town itself.

Calum has returned to work at his workshop in Inaclete Road part-time, after a period of ill-health, and found himself with time on his hands and materials to spare.

“I don’t seem to be getting the wee jobs that I used to. I think people must think I have retired” said Calum, who is now in his eighth decade working at the forge. He began as his father’s apprentice before he was 10 years old, bringing the dray horses from the Co-op and other town businesses to his father’s smithy for shoeing.

Marc Burrows and Cornelius Kleynhans will be expanding into the construction industry starting in early 2019 with their new Western Isles Construction service.

Marc, originally from Lancashire, and South-Africa born Cornelius have been in the energy efficiency industry for over a decade and have been partners for four years.  Together, they have spent a year in the Western Isles insulating over 200 houses as part of the government-funded Energy Company Obligation Scheme (ECO).

"As soon as we landed in the Western Isles, we fell in love with the place," reveals Marc.  Based at 9 North Beach in Stornoway, the team offer free insulation from Lewis to South Uist.  "Initially, we found it difficult to work on the islands. We had to have haulage bring things over on the ferry.  Also, the weather impacted what we could get done," reveals Cornelius.  "Now, we are used to it – it's just like anywhere else, except you have to plan a bit further in advance!"