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News round-up / College merger consultation, Loganair taking off, Best Start grants available

Shetland College.

FOLLOWING the decision by councillors to approve the business case for a new merged college in Shetland earlier this spring, the public is now being asked for their views prior to the Scottish Government making a final decision on the plans.

The online consultation on the plans to merge Shetland College, NAFC Marine Centre and Train Shetland to form the Shetland Institute UHI is available online until 3 July.

It can be accessed at https://www.a-new-college-for-shetland.uhi.ac.uk/consultation/ 

New college principal designate Professor Jane Lewis said: “We have a tremendous opportunity here to build on the considerable strengths of all three bodies and create a new, unified college to help develop our community’s skills and learning.

“We’re already seeing changes in the way tertiary education is being delivered across the country in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, and we have a unique chance now to create an isles-based hub for learning and innovation which can help support Shetland’s economy and build our skills for the future.”

LOGANAIR has started building up its schedule again with services from Aberdeen to Birmingham and Newcastle taking off on Monday.

The airline took on both these services along with those to Belfast and Manchester from its former rival Flybe just before the Covid-19 pandemic grounded most of the aviation industry.

Loganair, however, has continued flying during the crisis including keeping lifeline routes to the Highlands and Islands open through the pandemic.

The company’s chief executive Jonathan Hinkles said: “With many businesses turning their thoughts to re-starting work after the Covid-19 pandemic, the UK’s regional air connectivity will be more important than ever.

“For the sake of the recovery of the UK economy, we must enable key workers across the oil & gas, construction, service and healthcare sectors to travel swiftly, comfortably and safely throughout the country.”

Highlands and Islands SNP MSP Maree Todd. Photo: Shetland News
Maree Todd MSP. Photo: Shetland News

HIGHLANDS and Islands MSP Maree Todd has encouraged parents of children aged four to apply for the Scottish Government’s Best Start Grant.

A one-off £250 payment is currently open to eligible families who have a child born between 1 March 2015 and 29 February 2016 who will be starting primary school later this year.

The minister for childcare and early years said: “The Scottish Government’s school age payment offers low income families, or those who receive support like Universal Credit, a £250 payment around the time children start at primary school.

“We’re absolutely determined that every child, regardless of circumstances, gets the best start in life.

“So in these unprecedented and difficult times, I’d encourage families across the Highlands & Islands to check what other financial support they may be eligible for too – such as school clothing grants or free school meals.”

More information about applying can be found at https://www.mygov.scot