North Mainland Notes 25.09.09

New head for Urafirth

Urafirth Primary School has a new head teacher – Wilma Missendon will start work after the holidays on 26th October.

She currently works as a class teacher and also supports schools in the Livingston area in developing the Curriculum for Excellence.

Mrs Missendon is married with two children and is very enthusiastic about coming to live in Shetland and work at Urafirth Primary. The school currently has a role of 16 pupils, and houses the nursery school for the Northmavine area.

Gussie Angus, the SIC services committee chairman, said: “I am delighted that the schools service has been able to appoint to the post of head teacher at Urafirth Primary School. I would like to welcome Mrs Missendon and her family to Shetland and wish her all the best in her new post.”

Third time lucky

Last Sunday Ollaberry and North Roe eela competition organisers finally got the better of the weather after having to postpone the event twice.

Those taking part said that although there was not a huge amount of fish around, there was enough to make for an interesting competition and a worthwhile fish auction later.

Kenny and Colin Williamson managed to capture the biggest fish ever caught in the eela competition since records began, with a 16lb olick. Sheena Anderson and Julie Ramsay displayed technique rather than power when they won the prize for the most fish caught by a boat with an engine of less than five horse power.

Winners – heaviest basket: 1 Stuart Robertson 104lb; 2 Jerry Ramsay 88lb; 3 Robbie Anderson 80lb.

Heaviest fish: Colin and Kenny Williamson with a 16lb olick.

Most white fish: Colin and Kenny Williamson.

Most species: Thomas Ratter with six.

Smallest fish: Aaron Ramsay.

Best peerie boat: Sheena Anderson and Julie Ramsay.

Silver celebration

The family night to celebrate 25 years since the opening of the new hall at Brae has been moved to Friday 2nd October to avoid clashing with a previously organised do in the area.

Tickets for the silver anniversary buffet dance are available from Brae Garage, Brae Building Centre and hall committee members.

Good as new at 50p

The Good as New shop in the Brae Youth Centre is holding another of its popular 50p sales tomorrow from 2pm to 4pm.

A volunteer at the shop said: “We have a huge selection of stock at the moment that includes something for everyone, so come along for a real bargain.”

As well as a large range of clothes for bairns and adults, there is a huge stock of baby clothes for both girls and boys – perfect for all the new babies born recently in the North Mainland.

Development meeting

Residents in Northmavine are invited to the annual general meeting of the Northmavine Community Development Company (NCDC) in the Ollaberry hall on Monday 5th October at 7.30pm.

As a community-led company, the NCDC is keen for folk in the area to get involved either as a board member, a group member, as part of a sub-group or just to express ideas and have their say.

After the usual general meeting business, the board of directors will take a look at the some of the achievements of the NCDC during the past 2008/09 financial year.

Early last year the NCDC assisted a number of youth projects in Northmavine including funds towards the completion of the cycle track at Urafirth Primary School and help with transport costs to enable bairns in the area without access to transport to attend play days.

Young folk were also involved in a healthy meals project which considered the availability of local food and culminated in the group organising and preparing a healthy meal for 50 invited guests at the Ollaberry hall. This was a huge success and a credit to both the local organiser, Susan Thompson, and especially the young folk involved. Donations from the guests raised over £400 for local youth clubs.

Local skills were also used to establish and maintain, a website dedicated to providing information about life in the area. Fiona Cope of Hillswick built the website, which was launched a few years ago, and her skills were used last year to look at ways in which the website could become self-sustaining and better market Northmavine.

Members of the tourism group, a sub-group of the NCDC, were not idle last year and produced A Visitor’s Quick Guide to Northmavine. This has proved a valuable resource for visitors and locals alike, pinpointing services, amenities and facilities available in the area.

Although NCDC had benefited from financial support since 2004 from the Initiative at the Edge (IatE) scheme, the board was all too aware that this would cease at the end of March 2009.

The board held a series of discussions to decide whether the company would continue post-IatE and a number of options were considered, including to: cease completely, remain using volunteer effort which would result in a decrease in the amount of work the company could undertake or continue to employ a dedicated project officer to carry out the large amount of work still required in Northmavine.

The decision was finally taken to attempt to carry on with employed staff and funding bids began in earnest. A large amount of staff time was also spent putting together a five-year business plan based on community ideas. The three main strands of the plan are housing, social enterprise and renewables and this will be the main focus for the next five years.

Towards the end of March this year grant funding for the project officer and a development assistant was confirmed, but although the NCDC is extremely grateful for the financial assistance, the company is also keen to generate income to be able to support core staff.

During all the projects and income generating jobs, work was being carried out into the viability of purchasing the shop at Hillswick as a community-run shop. A business plan and a feasibility study were produced by NCDC staff and community consultation formed the basis of the plans. A funding bid was lodged with the Community Land Unit and everyone crossed their fingers.

Summer last year was spent putting together a bid to the Scottish Government to the Rural Homes for Rent scheme on behalf of landowner Drew Cromarty. This pilot scheme would see the construction of two family houses for social rent in North Roe if the bid was successful. Towards the end of last year a detailed project plan had to be lodged and once again fingers were crossed.

In the final quarter of 2008 the NCDC was part of a consortium bid to the Climate Challenge Fund which, if successful, would mean the company would employ a powerdown officer to carry out energy audits for householders in Northmavine with a view to ascertaining whether folk could be assisted to save energy and fuel costs. The officer would also look at ways in which Northmavine could increase the amount of food produced locally and would research small-scale community renewables. The bid went in and fingers were … you’ve guessed it!

Staff at the NCDC also managed to carry out a vast number of jobs not mentioned here. The office at Collafirth has become a welcoming place for folk in the area who have an idea or a plan of their own and just need to have a yarn or be pointed to the right agency or port of call for advice. The company now employs a powerdown officer – the bid was successful – and a part-time development assistant in addition to the project officer.

Funding bids for Hillswick Shop and the Rural Homes for Rent scheme were also successful and at present, staff are involved with furthering these projects. Folk in Hillswick, Eshaness, Heylor and Urafirth and refurbishing the shop and hope to open the doors in November and the project officer, myself, is working with Drew Cromarty and JHB to ensure the much-needed family homes are built in North Roe. Colin Dickie, the powerdown officer, is also working his way through the energy audits and researching small-scale hydro schemes and polytunnels among other things.

The mix of NCDC grant funding and income generation helped add over £80,000 to the Northmavine economy last year but most importantly of all, the projects and activities have added to the sense of community and confidence in the area.

Northmavine is a community that decides what it wants and then does it. It may take time, but folk will get there in the end. Anyone who would like to be part of this should go along to the Ollaberry hall on 5th October at 7.30pm.

Wind views sought

Folk in the North Mainland are invited to attend a public meeting in the Brae hall at 6.30pm on Monday as part of a series of meetings on the proposed Viking Energy windfarm.

Comments will be used to inform the council’s response to Scottish Ministers, which it must make as one of the four statutory consultees, the three others being the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).

The public meetings will be chaired by SIC deputy chief executive Hazel Sutherland.

Maree Hay


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