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West Side parents asked to provide packed lunches for children

The Happyhansel Primary School is currently being reworked ahead of the childcare expansion. Photo: Malcolmson Architects

PARENTS at two primary schools on the west side of Shetland have been asked to temporarily provide packed lunches for their children due to a canteen vacancy.

SIC children’s services director Helen Budge confirmed that a vacant post in the kitchen at Happyhansel in Walls, which also provides meals for pupils in nearby Sandness, meant school meals were unable to be provided.

Budge said it was a regrettable matter and she hoped it would be a “very interim measure”, and “all different avenues have been explored thoroughly” as the local authority continues efforts to fill the vacancy.

“It is not a situation we would want to see continue beyond a very minimum amount of time,” she told councillors at the start of Monday’s meeting of the education and families committee. “It’s really disappointing and vexing for parents.”

Budge said the meals were normally made at Happyhansel for both schools and then transported to Sandness.

“We’ve had a resignation so we have been advertising for staff for the canteen to provide the meals, and unfortunately we’ve been unsuccessful in recruiting,” she said.

The schools service looked at whether meals could be brought in from other schools but there were “concerns about keeping the food hot travelling that kind of distance”.

Later in the meeting, North Mainland councillor Emma Macdonald was assured that any parents whose children receive free school meals would receive a payment to cover the cost of providing a packed lunch.

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