Also in the news / Brave sailors, support for Loganair, furlough take-up and much more

TWO brave sailors, skipper Jeremy Mortimer and crewman Jonathan Ferguson, arrived in Lerwick on Wednesday afternoon after setting off from Wick on Sunday in a 16-foot open dinghy.

They bypassed Orkney as the weather was fine and sailed over night to Fair Isle, arriving there on Monday evening.

The boat carries all the necessary safety equipment but no engine just a set of paddles if the wind drops. They are tied up at the small boat harbour over the weekend watching the forecast to plot their sail home.

GREEN MSP for the Highlands and Islands Ariane Burgess has welcomed Loganair’s plan to become carbon neutral by 2040.

She said: “Loganair’s services are vital for rural and island communities and if their impact on the environment can be minimised then all the better.

“While the Scottish Green Party has a justified reputation for generally standing in opposition to the aviation industry the importance of lifeline services has never been a matter for debate so I’m pleased to see Loganair are taking the initiative.”


Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart added: “Islanders know that air travel in the Northern Isles is not a luxury but a lifeline service, but the climate emergency requires change in the industry. This innovation can be a model for export as Scotland hosts COP26 this year.”

YOUNG people in Shetland aged 14 to 25 are being invited to put themselves forward for election to the Scottish Youth Parliament (SYP).

National SYP elections will take place in November 2021 and the process has begun to select those will represent the views of young people across Scotland.

Anyone who might be considering standing for election has until 30 June 2021 to register their initial expression of interest here.

SHETLAND continues to have the lowest take-up of the furlough scheme in Scotland with 800 people, or seven per cent of the eligible workforce, benefitting from the scheme as of 30 April.

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Orkney comes second where a further 800 people have signed up to the scheme.

Conservative MSP for the Highlands and Islands Jamie Halcro Johnston said the latest figure show the UK Government’s furlough scheme is still playing a vital role in protecting jobs and livelihoods.

The highest take-up of the scheme is in Highland, Perth and Kinross and South Ayrshire where 14 per cent have signed up

NEWLY elected SNP MSP for the Highlands and Islands Emma Roddick will be visiting Shetland this weekend. 

First call for Scotland’s youngest MSP will be Lerwick Town Hall to hear from council leader Steven Coutts and deputy leader Emma Macdonald about the SIC’s priorities.

The 23-year-old MSP will also meet representatives from Hjaltland Housing Association, Shetland Women’s Aid and Ability Shetland, while she will hold a surgery at the Islesburgh Community Centre on Saturday between 2pm and 4pm.


SHETLAND Islands Council’s new website [at https://www.shetland.gov.uk] has been recognised by Socitm (the Society for Innovation, Technology and Modernisation) for making vast improvements to the accessibility of its online information. 

The website’s accessibility ranking has risen from 414th to 86th by Sitemorse, which assesses and compares government and public bodies’ websites in those terms.

SHETLAND’s MSP Beatrice Wishart has voiced concerns that unfair competition from Australia, Canada and Japan might undermine Shetland’s agricultural sector.

Speaking in parliament earlier this week she said: ”Agricultural businesses in the islands are often small, low-impact and high quality.

“We cannot allow our crofters and farmers to be undercut by unfair competition and tariffs, and imports must uphold high standards of welfare.”

JBT customers in Shetland will need to get used to a new livery on the firm’s vans and lorries after Menzies Distribution acquired the logistics company, which has depots in Bathgate, Aberdeen, Inverness, East Kilbride, Kirkwall and Lerwick.


Chief executive Greg Michael said there were significant growth opportunities for Menzies in coming years

“We warmly welcome our new colleagues and look forward to the next phase of our journey as an enlarged group,” he said.

SHETLAND MSP Beatrice Wishart has secured a commitment from newly appointed cabinet secretary for rural affairs and the islands Mairi Gougeon to provide guidance and clarity for life under level zero.

Speaking in parliament earlier this week the MSP said clarity was lacking for much needed services such as Shetland’s adult respite and day services.

“It has felt sometimes as though the Scottish Government has given little consideration in how to live under level zero,” she said.

SHETLAND Islands Council is to receive £53,000 from the Scottish Government to encourage children to play and socialise as part of the recovery from the pandemic.


Councils across Scotland will receive a share of £15 million to support summer activities that are already in place in certain areas.

ABERDEEN Science Centre (ASC) has launched a new Spaceports project for Shetland primary schools and community groups, showing local youngsters the opportunities available in the space industry.  

There are 20 kit boxes available for teachers, which will be offered on a first come, first served basis.

Boxes will contain all the relevant items and materials needed to carry out these exciting space-based activities. More info at education@asc.scot

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