Community / Offenders doing unpaid work pack Christmas cards for MRI Scanner appeal

Scott Goudie's Christmas scene of Lerwick's Market Cross is one of the 12 images chosen for the MRI Scanner appeal Christmas cards.

AS MANY as 36,000 Christmas cards in support of the MRI scanner appeal have now been delivered to local shops thanks to the input of four offenders sentenced to do unpaid work under the community payback scheme.

When tasked with the challenge of counting, folding and packing 36,000 cards and envelopes into 3,000 boxes, organiser Lisa Gray quickly realised that the job was too big to be completed by MRI scanner appeal volunteers in an evening or two.

Help was found from the council’s criminal justice unit who assigned a squad to assist with the Christmas card project.

Over four days Shane Odie, Dell Smith, India Lockyer and others, all placed on a community payback order imposed by Lerwick Sheriff Court, had the cards folded, packed, stacked and even delivered to the NHS headquarters at Montfield.

Unpaid work officer with the SIC’s criminal justice unit, Julie Halcrow, said charitable work was one of the main focuses of unpaid work alongside work for voluntary organisations and individuals who are infirm or elderly.


“The British Red Cross, Clan Charity shop and the Shetland Community Bike Project have been very accommodating in relation to community payback,” she said.

“They are always very pleased for the help received and in turn the participants enjoy the work they are tasked to do, with some going on to volunteer after their unpaid work hours are complete.”

A community payback order is the main community based sentence available to courts in Scotland. As part of the order, offenders can be told to carry out between 20 and 300 hours of unpaid work, and they can be imposed by a sheriff as an alternative to either a fine or a prison term.

Images from Margaret Clark (top), Aimee Sutherland (middle) and June Brown are also available as Christmas cards.

Become a supporter of Shetland News


Halcrow said: “Unpaid work not only benefits the community but also helps rehabilitate the individual, who will learn new knowledge and skills that can lead to paid employment and reduce further offending behaviour.”

She said on average around 35 individuals are being sentenced to carry out unpaid work every year. In 2018, 2,750 hours were completed across Shetland, ranging from painting and decorating churches and community halls to clearing litter from beaches and coastal walks.

“All individuals who are subject to a community payback order (…) are encouraged to make use of other activities for personal development around employment skills, daily living skills and building self esteem and confidence,” she added.

After completing the mammoth task, one of the offenders, Dell Smith, said: “It was really nice to be involved and this didn’t feel like work at all”, while Shane Odie also said he had enjoyed having been part of the project, adding that going for an MRI scan to Aberdeen was very inconvenient.


MRI Scanner fundraising manager Derek Hart said the team did a fantastic job with humour and dedication.

Lisa Gray also praised Shetland Farm Dairies for agreeing to deliver packs of cards to rural shops as part of the company’s daily delivery of fresh milk.

The Christmas cards are being sold in packs of 12 for £4.50. Each pack contains cards with four different images donated by local photographers. There are three different packs giving a total choice of 12 images.

The cards can also be bought online at https://shop.shetlandmriscannerappeal.com/collections All proceeds will go towards the MRI scanner appeal.

Any community or organisation which believes it could benefit from unpaid work is asked to contact the criminal justice social work team on 01595 744446 or e-mail criminaljustice@shetland.gov.uk

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.



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.