SNP - Tom Wills

Praise for community learning

SHETLAND’s community learning and development has received a positive report following an inspection in March.

Education Scotland inspectors met with staff from Shetland Islands Council’s community planning/development and youth services departments as they focused on work in the south mainland, Lerwick and Bressay.

The inspectors also spoke to partners in the NHS and the voluntary sector, as well as community groups and the public, to see how national objectives such as closing the poverty-related attainment gap and reducing social isolation are tackled locally.

They found a “well-established culture of volunteering and community involvement”, while inspectors ruled that young people make a significant contribution to community life in the isles.

Shetland has a “rich and diverse” range of learning and development opportunities, they noted, while there are a number of programmes on offer meeting specific needs.

Areas of possible improvement included working with communities to develop a shared approach to addressing emerging needs.

A report on the inspection praised projects such as Bigton Community Enterprise, which runs the local shop and post office, and groups like Maddrim Media and Shetland Young Promoters, which help young people to develop skills.

Chair of the SIC’s education and families committee George Smith commented: “This report is extremely positive and recognises that we are making good progress in working together and providing effective support and learning opportunities for individuals and communities in Shetland.

“I know this makes a positive difference to improving many people’s lives and wellbeing.”

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