Saturday 13 July 2024
 12.6°C   NNE Moderate Breeze
Ocean Kinetics - The Engineering Experts

Letters / The best experiences cost nothing

I write in response to the publicised claim at the Lerwick Community Council this week that children in Lerwick have nothing to do in the summer months (Concern over lack of things for children to do; SN, 06/02/2018).

It was asked “What can be done for the bairns and the families that can’t afford to leave Shetland in the summer time, what can we offer our bairns that is fun?”

Bairns in Lerwick already have wonderful amenities provided in places like the Clickimin, Mareel and community centres on their doorstep. These places can cost a pretty penny for a family to visit, so may not be a viable regular option for everyone.

Accessible to all, there are numerous play parks, a skate park, the Lerwick Museum, the library, and direct access to coast and superb beaches, burns and green areas that are free to visit and explore. In comparison to the UK mainland prices, all of these cost little or no money.

There are plenty of activities that nurture a love for nature and the environment, while teaching valuable life skills like a couple of hours delving in rock pools at Sands of Sound or bird spotting along Cunningham way, picnics at the play parks, a day at the library, bike rides, fishing or crabby lining off the pier, walks around Clickimin Loch, or a history lesson at the broch.

Then there is always a fantastic and inexpensive bus service to explore other nearby areas and amenities such as Scalloway play parks and museum, the Burland Croft trail, the Outpost and beautiful beaches at Burra.

When my bairns were small, our summers were Shetland summers. Days were spent hocking in a burn, stream scrambling or exploring in the ebb, catching crabs, fishing or setting creels, visits to play parks or days out organised with friends, whale watching or beach combing.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

 

For a number of years in Scalloway, a group of us parents got together and ran our own summer play scheme, not expecting the council to provide volunteers to look after the bairns for us. We organised buses and went on trips all over the isles. We organised craft days with visiting artists. Some of the bairns, now young adults, have said these were they best holidays of their lives.

What young minds really need is encouragement to get out and about, get mucky, get wet, catch mini beasts, and see wildlife and experiment with the world around them. They need the very people they watch and learn from every day to not only allow them the freedom but also show them how to do this.

In a time where everyone is quick to condemn the young for having too much digital time it is ultimately the responsibility of the parents and carers to set an example, get out and involve bairns in activities that require no screens and cost no money while improving physical and mental health.

Just now in Lerwick there is a group of parents with very young children organising themselves into an outdoor playgroup (Peerie Explorers), organising activities that are free and open to all, even throughout the winter months.

A mum in Scalloway is taking the initiative and organising a walking group for bairns and buggies (Walk Scalloway) to get out and about and get healthy. This is what needs to be encouraged and can be easily modelled all over Shetland.

These are simple activities provide priceless examples to bairns at a cost of nothing. Maybe those that have expressed concern in Lerwick could look to these successful ventures to plan ahead now for the coming summer and have activities planned among themselves for the short six weeks that bairns are free during the holidays. No doubt the Shetland weather will always be a factor, but as the saying goes ‘there is no bad weather, only bad clothes’ and what bairn doesn’t love jumping in muddy puddles?

Shetland bairns are blessed with a wonderful environment, teach them to use it well and respect what they have in abundance. Teach them the best experiences cost nothing and help them appreciate being part of a community.

Carina Newell
Scalloway

Become a supporter of Shetland News

Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.

Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.

Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has  over 600 supporters  who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.

Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -

  • Bring you the headlines as they happen;
  • Stay editorially independent;
  • Give a voice to the community;
  • Grow site traffic further;
  • Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.

If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.

 
Categories

Newsletters

Subscribe to a selection of different newsletters from Shetland News, varying from breaking news delivered on the minute, to a weekly round-up of the opinion posts. All delivered straight to your inbox.

Daily Briefing Newsletter Weekly Highlights Newsletter Opinion Newsletter Life in Shetland Newsletter

JavaScript Required

We're sorry, but Shetland News isn't fully functional without JavaScript enabled.
Head over to the help page for instructions on how to enable JavaScript on your browser.

Your Privacy

We use cookies on our site to improve your experience.
By using our service, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.

Browser is out-of-date

Shetland News isn't fully functional with this version of .
Head over to the help page for instructions on updating your browser for more security, improved speed and the best overall experience on this site.

Interested in Notifications?

Get notifications from Shetland News for important and breaking news.
You can unsubscribe at any time.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

We're committed to ensuring everyone has equitable access to impartial, open and quality local journalism that benefits all residents.

By supporting Shetland News, you play a vital role in ensuring we remain a pivotal resource in supporting the community.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.