I came to Shetland with my wife Linda and our daughter Lindsay in 2001.
I was Head Teacher of Burravoe Primary School before joining the Education Management Team as a Education Development Officer. I was promoted to Senior Education officer and later Quality Improvement Manager (QIM).
From 2009 until September 2011 I was seconded as Chair of the Skills and Learning Partnership. As part of the Council’s cut-backs my post as a QIM was disestablished last year.
I am a fully qualified mediator, work I greatly enjoy, so I am trying to resist full-time retirement!
Linda and I live in Muckle Roe with our two dogs and we are both enjoy being a part of a wonderfully vibrant community.
I feel very strongly that, despite all the gloom and doom we have heard over the past few years, we are in a strong position to plan for the future and develop a stronger and more diverse economy that will encourage growth across Shetland.
Of course times are hard just now, but that is a world-wide situation, not one that is unique to Shetland. We will have to make difficult decisions, and decisions that will not be universally popular in the short term – but I earnestly believe that if we elect Councillors who will work as a team, listen as well as talk, demonstrate absolute commitment to their constituents and be open, honest and transparent, then the people of Shetland will support them.
My policies are based on my belief that we have a common duty to take care of each other, particularly those in our community who are vulnerable or challenged in any way.
The waiting list for housing in Lerwick is approaching four figures! The more we move services and jobs into the area, the worse the situation will get. We need to ensure that affordable housing development, Council services, jobs and opportunities for businesses are spread across Shetland.
Care in the community
The closure of the Freefield Centre to save £80,000 per year is unacceptable, given that we spend £17,000,000 on central administration! Care at Home, Day-care and Meals on Wheels are vital services for those who need not just a nourishing meal, but also opportunities to mix socially or even simple human contact. We must not simply cut services to save money – instead we need to make the services more efficient.
A fiercely debated issue, not only due to the size of the proposed wind-farm but also the governance of the project. I am absolutely convinced that Shetland needs to develop alternative forms of renewable energy – wave, wind and tidal, as well as new technologies such as the Pure Energy project – but that it should be for the benefit of Shetland and Shetlanders, not companies and shareholders.
Communities are quite frankly, fed up with the consultation process that has gone on through Best Value, Best Value (Part 2) and the ongoing Blueprint for Education.
To me the issues are quite simple – what model delivers the best outcomes for our young people, not only in school but from Nursery to College and University?
School closures are an incredibly emotive issue – I have taught in two schools that have been closed – but should never be predicated on finance alone. If something costs too much, you do not automatically discard it – you try to make it more efficient.
It is time to make decisions that will stand our education system in good stead for the next 20 to 30 years! Some small schools will have to amalgamate and consideration must be given to what a new Anderson High School should look like – certainly the traditional six year secondary school has had its time, and we should be considering how the Senior Phase links to our further and higher education opportunities.
The Charitable Trust
I think that ideally the Trust should be a democratically elected body independent of Shetland Islands Council – failing that it should certainly be outwith Council control.
Shetland needs affordable housing for young people, first time buyers and the general workforce – and we need to stimulate rural economies by building away from Lerwick and the Central belt.
Recent workshops have highlighted the need for a more comprehensive public transport service in order for people to travel to work at peak times but also to access social and learning opportunities on a regular basis. It should be fairly straightforward to find out what people want and to co-ordinate air, ferry and bus timetables.
Phone: 01806 522888
Mobile: 07824 636854