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Also in the news / New SAT chairwoman, Levelling Up concerns, Wishart appointed, Choir rehearsals, Yoga lessons, CHC takes over Babcock

ALISON Moncrieff has been confirmed as Shetland Amenity Trust’s new chairwoman following the organisation’s AGM on Tuesday. 

Previous chairman Alastair Hamilton will continue as a trustee.

The trust has also decided not to recruit for a new chief executive at this time, as Hazel Sutherland will remain in post in the interim.

Meanwhile, Linda Riddell and Ronnie Eunson were appointed as trust vice-chairs, while Esther Renwick, Sophie Riise and Vic Thomas were all accepted as new board members.

Hamilton said, “This past year really has been one like no other as we have all learnt to adapt to life during a global pandemic.

“We have also had significant changes in our senior management team and have had to come to terms with the loss of our friend and colleague Davy Cooper, whom we miss very much.”

Labour MSP Rhoda Grant. Photo: Shetland News

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP Rhoda Grant has once again raised her concern that the UK Government’s £4.8 billion “levelling up” fund will have little impact on councils in the Highlands and Islands area.

Most local authorities, including Shetland Islands Council, have been placed in levels 2 and 3 of the fund despite previous recognition from the EU that the region has specific challenges in terms of geography and population sparsity.

Grant said the “levelling up” fund would not amount to the same as the financial support given by the EU in the past.

“Rural poverty and deprivation do not show up easily in the indicators used by both the Scottish and UK Government, which is largely postcode based,” she said. “In rural areas the poor live side by side with the very rich and therefore the real disadvantage faced in these communities is hidden.”

Highland, Orkney and Shetland councils have been assessed as category 3 areas, which is the lowest category in terms of need based on the metrics used.

Shetland Islands Council has submitted a bid worth up to £25 million to the fund for a replacement Fair Isle ferry plus associated harbour works.

SHETLAND MSP Beatrice Wishart has been confirmed as the deputy convener of the Scottish Parliament’s rural affairs, islands and natural environment committee (RAINE).

She will replace Orkney’s MSP Liam McArthur on the committee following a reshuffle within the Scottish Liberal Democrats’ parliamentary group at Holyrood.

Wishart said: “There will be many challenges and opportunities facing the RAINE committee as we strive for our tough net zero environmental targets and develop new policies outside of the European Union framework.

“Island communities face unique challenges and the Scottish Government cannot continue to treat us as an afterthought.”

SHETLAND Community Choir is resuming its weekly rehearsals as of next Monday following a Covid-enforced break.

A spokeswoman for the choir said: “After a long time away from singing together because of C19, we’re delighted to be resuming. We look forward to welcoming existing and new members back to make music and perform in the lead up to Christmas.

“If you enjoy singing, please come along and check us out on 6 September.  You will be made very welcome.”

Rehearsals take place in room 12 of the Islesburgh Community Centre starting at 7pm. For more information please call 01595 880418.

Yoga teacher Maya Schlomka.

A YOGA teacher from the Jaffa, Israel’s ancient port city, will be teaching classes in Shetland during a five day period in September.

Maya Schlomka, daughter of Sunita Staneslow and Fred Schlomka who are renovating the historic Hamars property in Haroldswick, will be conducting classes at Islesburgh Community Centre, the Cullivoe Hall, Uyeasound Hall and Unst Leisure Centre.

There is even a class scheduled to be held at Skaw Beach in Unst, weather permitting. Staneslow will provide live harp music at four of the yoga classes.

All the classes will be suitable for all levels of practice. More information at https://hamars.uk/shetland-yoga-retreat/

CHC Helicopters has completed its acquisition of Babcock International’s offshore oil and gas aviation business.

The takeover still requires approval from the British competition regulator for the UK element of the business.

CHC chief executive David Balevic said: “This acquisition is a great success, opening new and broader opportunities for CHC both in existing markets like Australia and the North Sea, and in new areas.

“It further cements CHC’s position as one of the world’s leading providers of helicopter transportation to oil and gas, search-and-rescue and renewables customers.”