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Also in the news / Waste-to-hydrogen grant, CAB needs new board members, inflation worries, food group recognised and more …

Blue sky thinking on Unst could see a new economic driver for the innovative isle. Photo Unst Partnership

THE PURE Energy Centre in Unst is part of a consortium of energy transition pioneers that has secured a UK Government grant worth nearly £300,000 to develop waste-to-hydrogen production technology.

Compact Syngas Solutions (CSS), based in Deeside, Wales, has secured £299,886 from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

The project partners will be working on making clean, green, low-emission hydrogen fuel for vehicles using waste that would normally be sent to landfill.

The project aims to demonstrate that low carbon hydrogen can be produced economically and efficiently.

Karen Taylor, Group Head of Grants at innovation funding specialist Catax, said: “This is one of the most exciting grant applications we’ve ever worked on because of where this technology could take us as a global society.

Pure Energy Centre business development manager Elizabeth Johnson said: “Low carbon hydrogen production will address many issues including rising fuel costs, reduction of CO2 emissions, reducing landfill and, at the same time, providing modular units for areas not connected to mainstream energy grids.”

SHETLAND’s Citizens Advice Bureau is looking for new board members keen to help make a difference and to develop a service that meets the needs of local people.

The local CAB service has been in high demand for some time and has only got busier as rising energy costs and the cost of living crisis starts to bite.

CAB chair Fiona Robertson said: “One of the great things about being involved with CAB is that we have lots of evidence of the difference the service makes.

“We know that last year, our advisers helped over 1,600 local people with a wide range of problems.”

“CAB advice puts money in people’s pockets through helping them identify missing benefit entitlements and supporting them to make successful benefit applications and appeals. Last year the local service enabled people in Shetland to gain a total of over £1.5million.”

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The bureau is particularly looking for folk with skills in finance, IT, marketing or support services. For more info contact the bureau on 01595 694696 or by emailing sicab@shetland.org

NORTHERN ISLES MP Alistair Carmichael has warned that soaring inflation rates will have a disproportionate impact on lower income families.

Responding to news that inflation has risen to nine per cent, the highest rate in 40 years, he called on the government to “get off its hands”.

Worse still, April’s figures show that the bottom 10 per cent of the population in terms of income face a rate of inflation rate of 10.9 per cent, which is three percentage points higher than the inflation rate of the richest 10 per cent (at 7.9 per cent). State benefits increased by 3.1 per cent in April.

“It was always likely to be the case that rising inflation would hit people on lower incomes harder,” Carmichael said.

“We have heard from the chancellor that it would be ‘silly’ to act on these pressing challenges.

“Ministers have dithered over proposals to tax the massive excess profits of energy companies in order to help out families. With inflation spiking a further two per cent in one month the need for action is now, not in the autumn.”

Team leader – catering and cleaning, Neil Beattie , (left) with Victor Nicoara, cleansing supervisor, at the event in Glasgow on Tuesday evening. Photo: SIC

THE COUNCIL’s efforts to make food available to families on low incomes, including advice on how to cook healthy meals and encourage local food production, have been recognised.

Earlier this week, the SIC’s ‘Food Group’ won the award for Outstanding Collaboration and Local Authority Innovation at the annual conference of Assist Facilities Management (FM) – the association that covers the provision of school meals, catering, cleaning and janitorial services within Scotland’s 32 councils.

The Food Group originated in local plans for the prospect of a no-deal Brexit, with the council coordinating meetings to ensure no shortages of basic food supplies in the Shetland community.

Local relationships built during this time continued during the pandemic. ‘Food Larders’ were set up in some schools, to make food accessible to vulnerable families supported by social work and the Anchor Project.

During the height of the pandemic as many as 80 families and over 150 children were supported.

SHETLAND MSP Beatrice Wishart is supporting calls for better stroke services across health boards in Scotland.

National charity Stroke Association is calling for the realisation of a progressive stroke service covering prevention, emergency response, hospital treatment, stroke-specific rehab and community support to ensure people affected by strokes get the best care.

Strokes are brain attacks occurring when blood supply to part of the brain is cut off, and the effects can be devastating, leaving 65 per cent of stroke survivors with a disability.

High blood pressure, a condition which is the biggest single stroke risk factor, affects around 3,000 people in Shetland. There are around 350 people locally living with the effects of stroke.

“I am calling on NHS Shetland and health boards across Scotland to work with organisations like the Stroke Association to deliver a progressive stroke service,” Wishart said.

THE TENDER process for cafe services at Sumburgh Airport is ongoing, operator HIAL says.

A spokesperson confirmed that the airport has received applications, but no further details are available.

The previous contract was held by Caffe Volare, and the airport previously said a new service was hoped to be in place mid to late May.

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