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Community / Help available for those who need it, council says

A photo from SSEN Distribution of December's power disruption.

WITH thousands of homes in Shetland now in their third day without power during this period of wintry weather, anyone needing essential support is urged to contact Shetland Islands Council.

Council gritting teams have been working to clear roads but conditions are still challenging in many places, especially on side roads.

Many people may have been unable to leave homes and may need essential supplies such as medication, or need other urgent assistance.

Council and NHS staff have been checking with residents known to be vulnerable, such as those with health or care needs, and calling on additional resources from emergency services where necessary, including 4×4 vehicles.

Anyone who needs urgent support or supplies during this continuing spell of extreme weather is asked to contact the council on 01595 744400 (office hours) or 01595 695611 (out of hours).

Council staff will coordinate support to reach those in need, including anyone who may not consider themselves to need help during normal circumstances.

A number of community halls have also set up ‘warm spaces’ offering hot food and shelter for anyone in their local area. At 2pm, available locations include:

  • Walls Hall – open at 10am until it gets dark for soup and hot water
  • Skeld Hall –open to the community to let them cook, heat water, gather together
  • Aith Hall – open to provide soup and hot water
  • Bixter Hall – open to cook food, offer tea and coffee and provide a place for folk to come to
  • Symbister Hall – open for soup and hot drinks, charge phones, and warm up
  • Isbister Hall – will be offering teas and coffees, access to hot water, phone charging
  • Voe Hall – warm space
  • Tingwall Public Hall – open via a phone call, for anyone without power needing access to the kitchen or some warmth
  • Sandness Hall – will open for people to gather, charge phones, cook/heat water and possibly food
  • Whiteness & Weisdale Hall – anyone needing to use the hall facilities to get in touch
  • RNLI Aith Lifeboat station – for anybody without power needing access to the station for warmth, kitchen or electricity – please call 01595 810847
  • Speldiburn Community Café, Bressay – open today from 10am-3pm, offering a free warm space for people
  • St Magnus Bay Hotel – open as a warm space, everybody welcome to fill up flasks or sit and stay warm

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Council leader Emma Macdonald said: “This is a tremendously difficult time for many people whose homes will be cold and food and other supplies may be running low.

“I’d urge anyone with urgent health or care needs to get in touch and our staff will respond to any request for help as best we can.

“Additional SSE staff are now in the isles in large numbers to restore power as quickly as possible but it will take time, given the scale of the damage to the power network in Shetland and the continued challenging weather conditions.

“Shetland is a resilient and caring community but this is an exceptional period of cold weather and circumstances.

“Our staff are working hard to care for people and to coordinate support to communities with essential supplies, such as food and generators, wherever they can be best used. Let’s all look out for each other – please check on friends, families and neighbours and If you need help or know someone who does, please contact us.

“Of course, if you think you have life-threatening situation, please call 999 to contact the emergency services who will respond directly.”

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