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Newcomers Julie and John to stand for SIC

Lerwick North council hopeful John Fraser. Photo: Shetland News/Neil Riddell

A WOMAN from Scalloway who will place education and care for the elderly at the heart of her agenda is to stand in May’s council elections, while a former manager of the Lerwick Health Centre is also throwing his hat into the ring.

Julie Buchan, who was an HR/payroll manager at Lerwick Fish Traders Ltd before taking voluntary redundancy in 2014, will put herself forward for the Shetland Central ward for the first time.

John Fraser announced at last Monday’s Lerwick Community Council meeting that he also intends to be standing for election. 

Buchan, a mother of two, has lived in Scalloway since 1979 and she will be an independent candidate.

“I have considered standing in the past, but until now I’ve never had the time needed to make a true commitment to such an important job,” she said.

“Being new to all this I’m really looking forward to entering into this process with an open mind, finding out what is important to the people of this ward, and making sure that if folk put their trust in me I will do my very best for them.

“As a mum, I know what a great place Shetland can be to bring up a family, and equally a great place to grow old. With funding being cut every year, I want to make sure that the services families rely upon are protected.

“That includes maintaining our great schools and also safeguarding our care for the elderly and vulnerable, getting good value for our ferries, and ensuring there is enough affordable housing in Shetland Central, especially for young families.”

Fraser will be standing in Lerwick North and he said he would strive to secure services for the “more vulnerable within our wonderful community” if elected.

Central ward candidate Julie Buchan.

He said Shetland Charitable Trust was responsible for shepherding £220 million of community oil funds, and was unhappy with the lack of accountability caused by having mostly appointed trustees. 

Fraser has vowed to campaign for an independent trust with “a majority of directly elected trustees in order to close the democratic deficit in the management of about half of Shetland’s oil money.”

After coming through bouts of self-medicating illness with alcohol, he said he hopes to repay the “phenomenal” support he has received from the community and see people who may be in a similar situation receive proper care.

If elected he will press for a full review of Lerwick Health Centre to “highlight areas of strength and identify solutions where public provision falls short of reasonable expectations”.

“I’ve always had a keen interest in local politics, and my involvement with the Anderson High School parent council and Lerwick Community Council in the last few years has done nothing to diminish that,” Fraser said.

“I’ve had a deep affection for my hometown Lerwick, and Shetland as a whole, and if I can play even a small part in securing its future prosperity I wouldn’t regard that as being a chore – I would regard that as a privilege.

“I understand that we have financial restrictions as we enter a further period of austerity, but we have an ageing population and I believe we have a duty of care to look after them. 

“I’m concerned that provision is not adequately in place, for example if we were to close to the Ronas Ward. I understand the financial restrictions, but we must ensure that community-based services are in place, robust and fit-for-purpose, with provisions in place for regular, transparent reviews. 

“From a personal point of view, I’ve suffered from depressive illness and have periodically self-medicated with alcohol. I would like to ensure that suitable provision is in place to address these issues and that those who are facing the challenges that I have faced are being addressed.

“My local community has supported me phenomenally and I can see light at the end of the tunnel. I see this as an opportunity to pay back a little of what has been granted to me.”

Scottish Parliament election, 6 May 2021