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Also in the news / Support for carers, CRUK unity bands, Parkrun cancelled, HIE survey, distance aware scheme, community choir

VOLUNTARY project Shetland Carers is to allocate nearly £16,000 of Scottish Government money through a new winter wellbeing fund to offer support to unpaid carers.

The money forms part of a Scotland-wide £4 million funding package to recognise the added pressure those looking after loved ones have faced during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Shetland Carers, a project within Voluntary Action Shetland, will allocate its £15,619 share of the fund in four different ways ranging from individual grants to breaks offered through other service providers:

* Apply for a short break grant of up to £150 to allow you to take a break of your choice from your caring role;

* Apply for a Shetland Recreational Trust (SRT) More 4 Life subscription through Shetland Carers;

* Apply for overnight respite support which will be provided in partnership with the Shetland carer attendant scheme;

* Apply for a recovery grant of up to £150 for financial support to meet the cost of food, household bills, utility, travel and fuel costs.

Shetland Carers’ support worker Kirsten Harcus said: “We are delighted to receive these funds and be able to work in partnership to offer a variety of options for carers to [be] able to access support in the way that best meets their needs. We want as many unpaid carers as possible to benefit from these funds.”

The funding will be allocated by the end of March with the focus on improving wellbeing, particularly for carers at risk of isolation over the winter period.

Carers can apply via the Shetland Carers website, by telephoning (01595) 743923 or emailing

CHARITY Relay For Life Shetland is offering unity bands as part of this year’s World Cancer Day.

The bands will be available at Final Checkout, R.S. Henderson, Brae Garage, Sound Service Station, Bolts Shetland, Tetley & Anderson, Robinson & Morrison, Toab Shop and Ninian as part of efforts to raise awareness. 

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Registration for this year’s Relay for Life, which takes place on 28 May, is now open and you can register here. 

Last year’s pandemic fundraising raised more than £130,000 and the Relay for Life Shetland committee said it wanted to thank “everyone who has contributed and will contribute over the next few months”.

THIS WEEKEND’S Bressay park run has been cancelled due to a very poor weather forecast and the likelihood of ferry services being disrupted.

With winds of up to 70mph forecast the event on Saturday (29 January) has been cancelled, with organisers intending to resume as normal on Saturday 5 February. 

HIGHLANDS and Islands Enterprise (HIE) is inviting isles residents to take part in a survey on what the priorities are for people living and working in communities within the region.

A total of 13,000 households, chosen at random, are being contacted in the coming days with up to two people in each household will be asked for their views on topics including housing, jobs, education, local services and transport. 

It is being carried out by researchers Ipsos MORI with letters landing on doorsteps this week. 

HIE chief executive Stuart Black said many aspects of people’s lives were being affected by the pandemic, climate emergency and demographic changes: “We want to have a fuller understanding of how all of this is affecting the lives, experiences and attitudes of people living, studying and working in the region.”

LOCAL MSP Beatrice Wishart has welcomed the launch of a new distance aware scheme providing badges and lanyards indicating the wearer would like others to give them extra space due to their worries about Covid-19.

They are available from public libraries and Asda supermarkets in Scotland, but Wishart highlighted the challenge this would create as Shetland does not have an Asda branch and many parts of the islands do not have a permanent library. 

Badges can also be ordered online, with a postal fee, but Wishart said those in rural and island communities should enjoy equal access.

“As pandemic restrictions ease, many people are understandably still nervous about the risk of Covid-19,” the MSP said. “I urge everyone to familiarise themselves with the Distance Aware badges and to make sure to give wearers a bit of extra space.”

She added: “I call on the Scottish Government to make the Distance Aware badges available in local community shops, to ensure everyone has easy access to free badges and lanyards in their local area.”

SHETLAND Community Choir is resuming rehearsals on Monday (31 January) following the Christmas break. 

Singers have the choice of taking part in person in Room 12 at Islesburgh Community Centre in Lerwick, or online via Zoom, from 7pm.

A Scottish Government grant of nearly £5,000 through a communities and mental health fund, administered by Voluntary Action Shetland, is being used to buy four iPads in the hope of encouraging more singers to take part.

Choir chairman Lee Watt said the committee were “very grateful” for the grant, adding that singing was “a powerful way to lift your mood”, with the social aspect also important for people’s wellbeing.

For more information about the choir contact the Shetland Community Choir Facebook page or email Lee at

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