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News round-up / Road salt arrives, VAS appointment, vaccine call, young islander network and more

The road salt being stocked up at the Scord quarry. Photo: SIC

THE COUNCIL has taken delivery of more than 4,000 tonnes of road salt ahead of what it says will likely be the coldest period of winter.

It was transported on a freight vessel yesterday (Wednesday) which arrived into Scalloway from Northern Ireland.

With more wintry conditions expected in the coming days and weeks, the council’s roads service is asking motorists to take particular care on the roads.

Roads manager Dave Coupe said: “We’re prepared for winter with a fresh stockpile of road salt which will see us through a cold few weeks.

“With the lower volumes of traffic we’re seeing now, we may use a mix of road salt and grit to improve tyre grip in some places, if conditions require it.  Vehicle drivers should be aware of the road surface ahead of them, and reduce their speed to limit the risk of stone chips being thrown up.”

Lynn Tulloch.

VOLUNTARY Action Shetland has appointed Lynn Tulloch as its new executive officer after Catherine Hughson stepped down from the role.

She brings a wealth of experience and knowledge of working in the third sector to the role, following a career spanning 20 years project managing Shetland Befriending Scheme Service.

“Voluntary Action Shetland has had to adapt to meet the current challenges that we are all facing in this pandemic, like so many other charities and organisations, and the Third Sector has had a real opportunity to shine in these difficult times,” Tulloch said.

“I look forward to celebrating the excellent work that has been achieved and championing the continued value of the third sector and its part to play in supporting local communities.”

VOLUNTARY Action Shetland (VAS) has also been awarded nearly £4,000 in funding which will be used for grants to carers in need of a break.

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The money is coming from the Scottish Government, which has allocated a total of £750,000 across the country.

VAS carers support worker Kirsten Harcus said: “We want to encourage carers to come forward access any support available to help them in their caring role.

“Looking after their own health and wellbeing is essential, particularly at the moment, and these grants provide an opportunity for carers to do that. It is important for carers to have something to look forward whether it is a single break or breaks on a regular basis.”

SHETLAND MSP Beatrice Wishart has sought assurances from the first minister that at-risk islanders travelling for medical treatment can be considered for priority Covid-19 vaccination.

She said some are “extremely vulnerable, but are not yet eligible for the vaccine – even though some are on the cusp”.

First minister Nicola Sturgeon responded that the “points about those with particular clinical vulnerability I think are well made and I hope they are being taken account of in the overall decision-making”.

A NEW network set up to give platform for young people across Scotland’s islands has been set up by the Scottish Government.

The new Young Islanders Network will enable children and young people to help shape the delivery of the National Islands Plan, ensuring that their interests and priorities are properly considered.

Islands minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “The network creates a great opportunity for children and young people on our islands to get involved in having their say and making their views known on key islands’ issues and to help shape the future of their communities.”

LOCAL food and drink producers, suppliers and retailers will soon be able to sign up to a new quality assurance scheme being created by Taste of Shetland in conjunction with the Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society (SAOS).

A pilot of the scheme will commence this summer, with full roll-out of the project expected by 2023.

Manager of Shetland Food and Drink Claire White said: “This initiative is one which has been suggested by members, and is a direct response to the 2019 Shetland Visitor Survey.

“One of the two main improvements suggested by visitors was more choice/availability and better quality of food and drink options.”

SHETLAND residents can now apply for their bus pass online, but paper applications are still accepted.

Anyone over 60 or meeting the disability criteria is entitled to free bus travel with a valid NEC – widely known as a bus pass.

The card can be used for local bus travel in Shetland and anywhere in Scotland, although travel is currently subject to Covid-19 restrictions.

Shetland residents with a valid NEC or Young Scot Card will also receive four NorthLink ferry vouchers valid for travel April to March each year, entitling the holder to a bunk in a cabin on eligible ferry journeys.

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