A warm welcome awaits the local community in South Uist and beyond as new Cnoc Soilleir building opens its doors on Monday 13 June.

Situated in the heart of Daliburgh, Cnoc Soilleir is a new home for UHI Outer Hebrides and Ceòlas.

Meaning “the bright hill” the building has been purpose-built to offer facilities to meet the needs of both UHI Outer Hebrides’s educational programmes, and Ceòlas’ community-led activities and artistic programme.

The building hosts a bespoke recording studio, a library, exhibition space, and flexible communal space at the heart of the building that will be suitable for events with an audience of up to 60 people.

The Open Day on Monday June 13 will welcome the local community, schools and businesses to come and view the space and find out more how they can enjoy and utilise this fantastic new facility.

Mairi MacInnes, Chair of Cnoc Soilleir encourages people to come along, “Getting Cnoc Soilleir Phase 1 built during lockdown has been a tremendous achievement and this has been possible because we contracted a local construction company.

"Great credit is due to our staff , the design team and MacInnes Bros for rising to the unprecedented challenges of Covid. Ceòlas is excited about holding the July Summer School in Cnoc Soilleir - the first since 2019.

"A warm welcome awaits everyone who drops in for the Open Day and perhaps a song will be sung and a reel or two will be danced!”

Sue Macfarlane, Principal of UHI Outer Hebrides said, “We are very much looking forward to welcoming the local community to the new Cnoc Soilleir building. We invite everyone to come to see this fantastic new building, meet our staff and find out more about what UHI Outer Hebrides will be offering. This is more than just an attractive new venue for the College – together with Ceòlas, we have created a fantastic community asset where we hope to develop new, jointly delivered programmes and activities which will attract people to study and which will meet the needs of the area”.

"Many thanks to the generosity of Scottish Government, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Highlands & Islands Enterprise and Bòrd na Gaidhlig for project funding, and a special mention to the local community for their continued support. It is a momentous moment for Cnoc Soilleir Limited to deliver Phase 1 of the project and look forward to progressing with Phase 2 in the near-future."

Cnoc Soilleir is a joint venture between Ceòlas Uibhist and UHI Outer Hebrides, formerly Lews Castle College. Located in the Gaelic heartland of South Uist, Cnoc Soilleir will promote and celebrate the community’s cultural heritage.  Cnoc Soillier’s facilities have been designed to meet the needs of both UHI Outer Hebrides’ music, archaeology and Gaelic educational programmes as well as its online offer, and Ceòlas’ community-led activities around Gaelic music, and dance, language learning, heritage and culture.

To mark Mental Health Awareness Week, Module Leader Child & Adolescent Mental Health Hereward Proops shares his story.

see full size image

Hereward Proops is a LCC UHI lecturer who teaches on a variety of courses including our CPD Award in Child & Adolescent Mental Health 

We all know about the benefits of healthy living. From an early age, we are taught about the importance of exercise, a balanced diet and good hygiene. We know that if we look after our bodies, we reduce the risk of illness and we feel better in ourselves. People are not threatened by the word “health” and most people are willing to talk about it. However, place the word “mental” in front of it, and people may be much less willing to open up and share their experiences. 

Perhaps the word “mental” has negative connotations. As a child, I recall myself and my contemporaries using it as an adjective to describe something that was unreasoning, unreasonable, out-of-control or just plain crazy. Nobody wants to be seen as “mental” and this stigma is perhaps what is making it so difficult to engage in sensible, open discussion about “mental health”.

The reality is, mental health affects every single one of us. The word “mental” simply refers to aspects or functions of the mind. Very few people would claim that they don’t have a mind, so why should we feel unable to discuss it? 

 

see full size image

“As soon as I started that course I knew it was the right field for me,” explains Ealasaid Nicleòid, aged 27, who is currently in her 4th year of a BEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering at Lews Castle College UHI.

For years women have been underrepresented in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) university courses and careers. This is a trend that is starting to change though. According the recent UCAS data, 35% of STEM students in higher education in the UK are women.

Lews Castle College UHI are celebrating these figures with a 6 year on year growth in STEM enrolment and dedication projects to promote this continued growth.