Isles Views 24.12.08

Business services

Initiative at the Edge (I@TE) has issued a leaflet highlighting the services that it offers from its office in the Sellafirth Business Park Yell.

Among other things are: desk hire/workstation, meeting rooms, photocopying, payroll service, surveys/consultations and basic office administration services. The remote working base opened in October 2007 as part of the original plan for the promotion and regeneration of the North Isles.

At present there is four users and one of them said: “Being able to work at the Sellafirth office of I@TE saves me travel and fuel costs. I have access to all the facilities that I need and I am able to work in a good supportive office environment. I enjoy being able to work in the North Isles and I feel that I am more a part of the community.”

The leaflet gives much more information with details of charges and directions to anyone who does not know the isle. I@TE is based next door to the Centre for Creative Industries.

School contractor

As The Shetland Times reported the tenders for the building of the new Mid Yell School has come in over budget. Already some suggestions have been voiced and some areas where savings might be made have been identified.

Locally it is hoped that the planners will be able to sit down with the Danish contractor, MT Hojgaard early in the New Year and find ways of bringing the cost down to an acceptable level. The site was cleared in the summer and autumn and it is ready for the next stage.

Councillor Robert Henderson said that he was impressed by the contractor. The firm had a track record of building 173 schools, some of them in places like Iceland, Greenland and Faroe and they were well aware as to what was required to withstand the Shetland climate.

One of the senior partners in the firm is looking for a house in Yell to live in. He plans to stay here, with his wife and three children, during the building period. Yell also needs a new continuing care centre and it was provisionally though that if the present school became disused it would be demolished and the care centre might be build on the site.

Whether the site would be big enough is questionable and it could cost half a million pounds to demolish the school. It seems possible that another use might be found for the school and the care centre built on a different site altogether.

More play at school

Last week we carried some details of the festive activities of schools in the North Isles.

Since then more concerts, plays and gatherings have taken place.


As well as the animated film, the calendar and all the goings on in Fetlar the pupils have also written Fetlar-based tales for the children in the Baltasound nursery as part of the Curriculum for Eccellence. These have taken the form of picture books with an audio CD.

The pupils are to read those Christmas themed stories to the bairns in Baltasound. The pupils have written the stories, planned the illustrations, made the books and produced a professional looking finished article.

There are two very different stories, one written in standard English about a sheepdog called Lace who becomes a champion. This book has photographs posed by local people to illustrate the tale. Some of this book has been sent to Shetlanders in Scotland who have really enjoyed reading them and sharing the story with their own pre-school bairns.

The other book is called The Tractor Who Saved Christmas and has been hand-drawn throughout. The story is written in dialect, brightly illustrated and will be popular with all nursery bairns who are interested in crofts and machinery. It is a really good read.


The Cullivoe School concert took place in the Cullivoe Hall on the evening of Tuesday 16th December. It was just as well because the school is nowhere near big enough to hold the large number of folk who wanted to see the show.

The concert started with a musical nativity play called Hosanna Rock! and involved a cast of 27 children from the school and the nursery. It was beautifully done, some of the bairns are outstanding singers, and the costumes and scenery were beautifully crafted.

Next up were Brian Gregson (flute) and Meilo So (piano) of Fancy Tunes; they played a couple of classical pieces with Christmas in mind. This was followed by tea and home made fancies.

What followed tea was, for many, the highlight of a memorable night. It was a panto called Snow White and the Four Elves. This was the work of the local teenagers, some even younger but all were pupils or ex-pupils of the Cullivoe School. Three of them, Ann-Marie Kennerley, Daniel Lawson and Claire Morris, wrote it.

Those young folk produced, directed and performed the show themselves, they are not all at the same schools but, nonetheless, they found the time to meet up, plan and rehearse to provide delightful entertainment. The end result deserves to be seen by a wider audience.

One member of the audience said how proud we should be of having such positive and creative young folk in the community, contrasting them with some unfortunate teenagers from some inner city areas who are inveigled with gangs, knives, guns and drugs.

The evening was rounded off by some songs and carols from the Bluemull Sound Choir. They are the local ladies’ choir started by Meilo So, they meet and rehearse every Monday evening during the winter.

The children of the school have been learning about the haaf fishing so money raised on the night has been divided between school funds and the Royal National Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen.

Mid Yell

As well as the concert, the Mid Yell School has been busy with other events. It hosted the Christmas dinner for the senior citizens and put on a concert to entertain them.

The visitors to the school enjoyed a wonderful meal as well as quality entertainment provided by the pupils; it was much appreciated.

As part of their drive towards a curriculum for excellence the pupils and staff of Mid Yell Junior High School participated in a Scotland Week. This involved the children working in different classes and studying in different ways to discover more about Scotland. The final event was a whole school assembly at which the pupils shared their learning.

Baltasound nursery

As we reported the folk organising the Sellafirth craft fare decided, this year, to support the fund-raising effort to buy outdoor equipment for the Baltasound nursery. They generously donate the proceeds of the raffle, £181, to the appeal.

Another money maker was a competition to “Guess the Price of the Jewellery”. The jewellery in question was made by Caroline Nelson who is the art teacher in the Baltasound School. The actual price in her shop in Glasgow was £172 and the winning guess of £173 was made by Carol Smith from Baltasound.

On the day, in Sellafirth, Catherine Gibb and Maggi Reyner looked after the stall and a total of £250 was raised. The same jewellery made two appearances at the farmers’ market in Baltasound along with some donated items of jewellery that was sold.

Catherine and Maggi want to thank the Sellafirth hall and all who contributed so generously. Catherine says that the next task is to decide how to spend the money.

Next week

The festive season, with Christmas and New Year’s days falling on Thursdays, means that the Times comes out two days early, on the Wednesdays. This means that I need any news that you have for me earlier than usual.

Normally my deadline to you is midday on Mondays but next week I will need any news by midday on Sunday. In the meantime I would like to take this opportunity to wish all my loyal readers, as well as the editor and staff at The Shetland Times, a very happy Christmas.


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