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News round-up / First festival of care, new education appointment for Budge, food festival this weekend, environment committee visit

Left to right: Councillor George Smith with Lauren, Aylesha, young Aydon and Julia, who have all experienced care, and Sian Wild of Who Cares? Scotland hold up the flag that was designed to recognise the journey of young people in Shetland who have experienced care. Photo: SIC

SHETLAND’s first Festival of Care is being held this week to allow care experienced children and young people to celebrate their achievements.

The festival aims to bring together young people and their friends, carers and professionals to increase awareness and understanding about experience of care, and to challenging myths and stereotypes.

It launched on Wednesday and is due to run through to Saturday (23 November).

It will include a number of local workshops and events for professionals and carers to connect with care experience from a young person’s perspective.

Chairman of Shetland Islands Council’s education and families committee and Shetland’s corporate parent board George Smith said: “As a corporate parent, the council does everything that it can to support young people in care.

“I’m pleased to see this first festival of care taking place in Shetland, recognising the important contribution of care experienced young people. This four-day festival will champion their achievements and share knowledge so that we can provide even better support in the future.”


SHETLAND Islands Council’s director of children’s services Helen Budge has been appointed as the lead officer for education collaboration Northern Alliance.

Helen Budge.

She will be supported in leading the organisation by a quality improvement manager, working with councils across the north of Scotland such as Shetland, Orkney, Aberdeen and Moray.

There are currently 10 practitioners working on research and collaboration activities on behalf of the Northern Alliance, many of whom are seconded on a part-time basis to share best practice from their substantive posts within the various local authorities.

Former primary school teacher Budge, who has lead the children’s services department at the council for eight years, said: “I am passionate about learning and teaching and about the value of working together towards shared goals.

“Making the time for discussion, taking up professional learning opportunities and listening to the best practice shared by others is invaluable for teachers and practitioners regardless of whether you’re in Lerwick or Lochgilphead.​“


SHETLAND’s annual Taste of Shetland food festival will get under way under Saturday morning at the Islesburgh Community Centre in Lerwick.

The event will be opened by newly elected MSP Beatrice Wishart. The festival will be open on Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 5pm.

On Saturday evening doors open at 6pm for the main event, the Muckle Bites cooking competition final and a Haltadans concert which runs until 11pm.

New events at this year’s festival include:

  • Launch of the Shetland Food and Drink Guide 2020
  • Launch of four Shetland Food and Drink short films for release in 2020
  • Product launches including Shetland kail seeds, Shetland Fudge Company ice cream and Thule Ventus dried fish products
  • A Saturday evening performance by Haltadans accompanied by bar provision from Shetland Distillery Company and Lerwick Brewery
  • Increased festival interactivity including workshops for adults and bairns

More information can be found at: www.facebook.com/tasteofshetland/


MEMBERS of the Scottish Parliament’s environment, climate change and land reform committee were in Shetland earlier this week as part of its inquiry into marine-related issues.

The committee met with a range of groups including representatives from Shetland Islands Council, Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), as well as fisheries and aquaculture representatives, community organisations, environmental groups and industry representatives.

Committee convenor Gillian Martin MSP said: “Safeguarding Scotland’s inshore waters is so important and we’re trying to better understand how marine planning partnerships currently do that.

“We’re also interested in how Shetland’s experiences can help inform the roll out of future marine planning partnerships in Scotland.”