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In brief for 29 September 2010

Cash for training

SHETLAND Islands Council is setting up a new grant scheme to help local businesses access funding to improve the skills of their workforce.

The new Shetland Business Growth Training Scheme will be set up by the council’s economic development unit with the help of £85,000 from the European Social Fund.

It will help part-fund short training courses and cover most economic sectors, according to SIC head of business development Douglas Irvine, who said it will fill a gap in the market.

“This scheme will enable businesses to access training opportunities which may not have been previously possible and encourage them to consider the benefits of a better skilled workforce.

“During the current economic climate, giving local businesses the opportunity to invest in skills development will also help them remain competitive and sustainable,” he said.

Interested businesses should contact the council’s Business Gateway service on 01595 745945.

More folk, less litter

THIS year’s annual spring clean of Shetland’s beaches and roadside verges saw 4,191 local people take part, at 19 per cent of the population its highest ever turnout.

Altogether 215 groups took part in Da Voar Redd Up from all over Shetland, including charities, community groups, businesses, families and individuals.

More good news was that the amount of rubbish collected had fallen by 10 tonnes to 44.8 tonnes, less than half the 90 tonnes collected in 2004 and 2006.

Shetland Amenity Trust chairman Brian Gregson thanked all the volunteers, saying: “Their efforts make a huge difference to the natural heritage of Shetland, by clearing the bruck left by the winter storms and thoughtless individuals, and by removing materials which present hazards to our wildlife.”

Short story prize

SHETLAND’S literary magazine The New Shetlander is holding a competition for the best short story up to 3,000 words in length as part of its Yule celebration.

Entries for the competition can be in English or Shetland dialect and should be submitted without the writer’s name by email or post to vas@shetland.org  or New Shetlander, Market House, 14 Market Street, Lerwick, no later than 28 October.

First prize is £100 with £50 going to the runner up, and the winning stories will be published in the Yule edition. The editors said they hoped for a good response.

Singing Kettle

MORE than 1,000 tickets have already been sold for the Singing Kettle’s Pirate Party at the Clickimin Leisure Complex next month.

The last few tickets for the 7 October performance by the popular children’s entertainers are on sale from the Clickimin or on 01595 745555.

The Pirate Party Show is billed as a one hour singalong for the whole family full of nautical nonsense and fantastic songs like “Drunken Sailor, Over the Irish Sea and Eelly Alley O”.

Serpentine drama

SERPENTINE Drama Group will perform six 10 minute plays at the Lerwick library on Tuesday 5 October. The plays, written by members of the cast, were originally presented at this year’s Wordplay event. 

The plays have now been collated into a book produced by Playback Productions. “Directions – short plays with Shetland roots” will be launched as part of the evening’s drama.

The library doors will open at 7pm and the performances will begin at 7.30pm.  Admission is free and the organisers have said they would love to see people attend.

Rugby delays ferry

FERRY operator NorthLink have said they will delay the northbound departure of the ferry on Saturday 27 November to accommodate islanders returning home after the Scotland v Samoa rugby test match being played at Aberdeen’s Pittodrie stadium.

The decision was taken after the company was approached by the Scottish Rugby Union and the Orkney Rugby Football Club and follows a similar approach taken two years ago when Scotland played Canada.

The match will end just after 4pm so NorthLink have extended the check in time by 45 minutes to 5.15pm. “Hopefully, that gives fans enough time to get across town and on board,” chief executive Bill Davidson said.

Forbes Hogg, president of Shetland RFC, said: “I see this agreement between the Scottish government, NorthLink Ferries, Scottish Rugby and the people of Shetland and Orkney as an inspired and enlightened approach to this unusual situation.

“In Shetland, rugby is still a growing sport, and giving us the chance to promote the game, to see an International match and still travel home the same night is a real boon, especially for the youngsters, “ he said.

Architect award

A PRIVATE house in Nesting has won a design award for Scalloway-based architects Redman and Sutherland.

Grunnabreck, built on the exact dimensions of a Viking longhouse looking out over the Bay of Skellister, won the new build category in Inverness Architectural Association (IAA) Design Awards for Orkney and Shetland.

The architects were also commended for their redevelopment of Anderson’s Buildings, on Scalloway’s Main Street, converting it into 11 flats and a crèche; and a new house at Upper Sound, in Lerwick.

Also commended were Jim Sutherland and Bernie Redman’s former employer Richard Gibson Architects for the renovation of Harbour House and the new public yoilets in Lerwick town centre.

Grunnabreck will now go into the regional final to be held in November where the best projects from the highlands and islands will be entered.

The public are being invited to submit their nominations to awards@highlandarchitects.org .

Litter fishing

THE FISHING for Litter campaign which began life in Lerwick harbour is now to be brought in to all north east Atlantic countries.

The OSPAR Commission for the Protection of the Marine Environment has adopted the Fishing for Litter programme where fishing boats bring in to port any sea borne rubbish they collect in their nets.

The scheme has already been implemented throughout Scotland, the south west of England and the Netherlands.

However a move to set a target for a 40 per cent reduction in marine litter by 2020 was deferred for two years after being blocked by environment ministers from the UK, Spain, Denmark and Iceland.

Power plans

SCOTLAND will produce as much power from renewable sources as it consumes by 2025, according to first minister Alex Salmond.

Addressing the Scottish Low Carbon Investment conference on Tuesday, Mr Salmond also unveiled the renewables industry’s ‘route map’ for offshore wind.

“I’m confident that by 2025 we will produce at least 100 per cent of our electricity needs from renewables alone, and together with other sources it will enable us to become a net exporter of clean, green energy,” Mr Salmond said.

“Indeed, on the basis of the Offshore Valuation study, by 2050 we could be producing as much as seven times our domestic power needs through offshore renewables – positioning Scotland as the clean, green energy powerhouse of Europe.”

The conference was looking at how to secure an estimated £200 billion of private investment into offshore wind.

More information about the conference is available at http://www.slciconference.com/

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