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Also in the news / Coastguard call out, linkspan repair work, council finances, another community benefit fund and more…

THE SUMBURGH based search and rescue helicopter was called out last night to airlift a fisherman to hospital in Lerwick.

The call came at just before half past eight from a vessel 36 miles to the southeast of Sumburgh.

The man was taken to the Clickimin landing site for onwards transfer to the Gilbert Bain Hospital.

The Lerwick lifeboat and coastguard teams were also called out.


FERRY passengers are reminded that planned essential maintenance will take place at the Bressay ferry terminal at the end of next week, from Friday 24 May to Monday 27 May.

Contractors working for Shetland Islands Council will carry out major structural works on the linkspan at the ferry terminal at Maryfield, which will be out of use during the period of the works.

The 6.45pm sailing on Friday 24 May will be the last service to take vehicles from the Maryfield terminal at Bressay to Lerwick. The 7pm sailing will be the last to take vehicles from Lerwick to Bressay.

A reduced foot passenger only service will operate using a gangway at Heogan Pier in Bressay and the ro-ro ramp on the Lerwick site. A free bus service will operate between Heogan Pier and the Bressay Public Hall for the duration of the works.

The restricted timetable can be found at  https://www.shetland.gov.uk/ferries/timetable   


COUNCIL services in Shetland are calculated to be underfunded by as much as £35 million over two years until 2027, according to the Accounts Commission.

That is a deficit of 22 per cent of the overall funding available to the SIC, according to council leader Emma Macdonald.

The stark statistics which see Shetland at the top of the table of 32 Scottish local authorities are included in the latest report by the financial watchdog, published today.

The report said that councils are addressing this most commonly by making ongoing savings, using reserves and raising money through charging citizens for some services.

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Accounts Commission member Derek Yule said: “It’s getting harder for councils to do more with less. They have to find and then deliver significant levels of savings to address budget gaps. Fully engaging with local people and being clear about the different and difficult budget choices is vital, whilst understanding the impacts on the most vulnerable.”


SSEN Transmission is looking to recruit a panel chair for a new £10 million community benefit fund for the north of Scotland, to compensate for the extensive construction work that is going on to rebuild the energy transmission network.

The announcement comes hard on the heels of news today that the SSE Renewables funded Viking Community Fund will soon be open for business.

With regards to the SSEN Transmission fund, community groups in the north of Scotland will be able to apply for an initial £2 million in project support from 1 September.

SSEN Transmission’s director of customers Christianna Logan, said: “This is just the start as our ‘Pathway to 2030’ investment programme is a £20bn investment in new electricity transmission infrastructure, and we anticipate the associated overall value of our community benefit fund between now and 2030 to exceed £100m based on indications from the UK Government on the anticipated scale of community benefit funding.”


COLLABORATING with the RSPB, the local health improvement team at NHS Shetland is hosting a selection of audio recordings and nature connection talks on its website.

The audio trails have been produced and are voiced by the RSPB Shetland manager Helen Moncrieff and their launch coincides with National Walking Month and Mental Health Awareness Week.

Moncrieff said: “Everyone has a right to nature, and these accessible resources bring nature inside and aim to encourage compassion for nature and self-compassion.

“We know that there are multiple benefits to individuals and society when it comes to connecting with nature, and ultimately this project is about supporting more, and more diverse people in developing a reciprocal relationship with nature.”

The audio trails can be found here.


A NEW initiative to attract business from the developing offshore wind industry has been launched on the first day of the All-Energy exhibition in Glasgow.

A founder member of a Scottish Offshore Wind Ports Alliance (SOWPA), Lerwick Port Authority’s chief executive Calum Grains said the aim was a more coordinated approach to promote the scope and scale of Scottish ports’ capabilities and potential in the face of overseas competition.

“Building on the ports’ involvement to date, the creation of SOWPA is a timely and important step in moving the sector forward in a huge market,” he said.

The port authority is represented on the alliance’s steering group and features on its website at www.sowpa.co.uk


HIGHLANDS and Islands Conservative MSP Jamie Halcro Johnston is asking people to share their Loganair experiences with him ahead of a meeting the with airline’s new boss Luke Farajallah on Monday.

Halcro Johnston said: “While many people will have had positive experiences with Loganair, I know there has been disruption to some services, with late changes or cancellations causing issues for individuals and local businesses.

“This has also had an impact on organisations like our local health boards, an issue both NHS Orkney and NHS Shetland raised with me when we met earlier in the year, with cancellations and delays meaning hospital appointments are missed and need rearranging.

“I understand that Loganair recognise some of these concerns and are working to increase the resilience of key routes, and I hope to hear more on this from Mr Farajallah.”

The MSP can be contacted by email jamie.halcrojohnston.msp@parliament.scot or via his website.


Poet laureate for Glasgow Jim Carruth. Photo: David Vallis

SHETLAND Arts is welcoming current poet laureate for Glasgow Jim Carruth to Mareel on Tuesday 28 May for an evening of poetry and reflection on rural life.

Local poets Roseanne Watt and Peter Ratter will also be performing, adding their own unique voices to the event.

Carruth will be reading excerpts from his recently finished Auchensale Trilogy – the trilogy tracks the decline of the local farming community over 70 years on his family farm, including all aspects of farm life and the enduring bond of family against the backdrop of a changing world.

Roseanne Watt is a writer and filmmaker from Shetland. Her dual-language debut collection Moder Dy was published by Polygon in May 2019 after receiving the Edwin Morgan Poetry Award 2018, and went on to receive an Eric Gregory and Somerset Maugham Award in 2020.

Peter Ratter is a poet who lives and works in Shetland. He was shortlisted for the 2018 Edwin Morgan Poetry Award as well as placing first in the Inspired? Get Writing! Scottish National Gallery Poetry Competition.

Tickets cost £12 and are available to purchase online from tickets.shetlandarts.org, in-person at the Box Office in Mareel, or by calling on 01595 745 500 during opening hours of 10am-9pm, Tuesday – Sunday.

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