Isles Views

Community skips

Yell Community Council is seeking to highlight the misuse of community skips which occurs in some areas.

This problem exists throughout the North Isles and, no doubt, in Shetland as a whole, and it is making a plea to everyone to use skips in way that they are intended to be used.

Sometimes folk put black bags of ordinary kitchen waste and other household rubbish in skips – this is the kind of rubbish that should be put to the essy kert collections. Many folk may not be aware but this is an offence that carries a fine. Community skips are not provided for daily household rubbish but for large bulky items that cannot go into black bags or with the essy kert.

When everyday rubbish is put into the skips it not only takes up the space that could be used for the items that cannot be disposed of otherwise in rural communities, but decaying foodstuffs attract birds and vermin that rip open the bags and scatter the contents around the surrounding area.

In some communities there are folk sufficiently concerned about the environment and wellbeing of their district who, on a voluntary basis, go out and clean up the mess. This is far from being a pleasant task given that the folk who put their rubbish in the skip could just as easily put the black bags out for the essy kart to collect.

Black bags found in skips are routinely opened to identify where they have come from. Often the source of a black bag can be traced through the paperwork found inside. In the past the SIC have fined people, and businesses, the sum of £50 for illegal dumping in skips.

Each rural area in Shetland is allocated a set number of skips per year from the SIC and it is the duty of community councils to distribute those accordingly. If, at the end of the year, community councils have to hire extra skips then they have to pay for them.

On behalf of Yell Community Council the clerk, Jackie Smiles, has issued the following plea: “Please think of others as well as yourself the next time to throw a black bag full of rubbish into a skip as this has a ripple effect.

“Your neighbours may be cleaning up your personal rubbish from ripped bags, the skip may be so full of black bags that no one can dump the bruck that can’t fit into the essy kart and the local community council may be paying money for extra skips, money that could be going to community projects.

“It is worth remembering that Shetland is one of the very few local authorities in Scotland that provide this service and if it continues to be abused it could be that we lose it altogether. Contact your local community council clerk for skips changes or for more information – thank you.”

Mary retires

Mary Robertson, head cook at the Baltasound Junior High School, has retired.

She has been employed at the school for 25 years. At the start she was supply cook but later she had a permanent job and for the last eight years she has been the head cook.

There was a celebratory lunch for Mary on her last day at the school and she was presented with a cake, flowers, cards and a gift from staff and pupils.

Cullivoe school activities

On Tuesday the Cullivoe School is having a coffee morning from 10am to 11.30am. Half the money raised will go to the Haiti earthquake appeal and the other half to school funds.

Calvin Brown, on behalf of the Cullivoe Primary Pupil Council, reminds everyone that this is “pancake day” so pancakes will be well to the fore among the eats served with the coffee and tea.

On Sunday 24th January the school held its annual Burns Supper. The school was delighted to host over 70 folk and it was a most successful evening. Primary 1-7 pupils recited Burns poems such as Tam O’ Shanter, Address to a Haggis and To a Louse.

Blueprint meetings in Skerries

Last Saturday there was a meeting in Skerries when education officials discussed the document, Blueprint for Education, with parents and the community council. Three weeks ago the same sort of a meeting was held with staff and pupils.

In the case of Skerries it is the future of the secondary department of the school that is under consideration, or under threat, as some would see it. The secondary department is very small indeed, down to a single pupil.

It does not appear that any consensus came out of the meeting. The folk in Skerries want to maintain the status quo and on the other side closure is very much on the cards.

One Skerries resident who attended the meetings dismissed them as a waste of money: “It was a matter of listening ta da same thing ower ageen, der spending money going ower the same thing ower an ower ageen. I fan an owld paper fae 2004 wi dis in it an the views is no changed in dat time.”

Unst fire station

The Highland and Islands Fire and Rescue Service has acquired premises in Unst to convert into a fire station suitable for its needs. The building is at Hagdale next to the garage and shop and it used to be the headquarters of the removal and storage firm Ian F Reid.

This firm has moved its operation to Lerwick and the fire service has completed the purchase of the building. However, it has yet to be altered and fitted up for its new role. Contractors are being invited to tender for the work. As well as the new building there is a new tender ready to be housed in it.

Lerwick station manager Mark Loynd says that the new vehicle is a full-sized Volvo water tender and it replaces the old transit type tender. The new fire engine is known as a B type that is fitted with high-pressure hoses and RTC (road traffic collision) equipment, which includes better cutting gear.

Local fire chief Ninian Johnson says that all this will make a big difference to the service they provide. The wider fire service has allocated an extra eight hours of training time and the timing of this could not be better for the Unst crew. However, it has been necessary for some of the local volunteers to upgrade to LGV driving licences.

Folk festival in Whalsay

This year there is to be a folk festival concert in Whalsay and Whalsay Community Council has agreed that a late ferry should be booked to accommodate the event.

The clerk will book this as a community run but if this is not possible for any reason the community council will pay for the hire.

For many years now it has been the policy of the folk festival committee to bring back to Lerwick all the artistes who are performing in the rural areas and the isles. It is entirely understandable why this should be the policy but many, including myself, hanker after the good old days when visiting artistes stayed overnight with families in the community.

I would venture to suggest that the visiting performers enjoyed this too. It led to some mighty parties and it gave visitors the opportunity to meet more folk and get a feel for the folk that they were performing for.

Yell women at war

Marsali Taylor is a tourist guide who, in the course of her work, is in Yell and Unst a number of times each summer.

She is in demand not only as an accomplished guide but because of her language skills; she is a fluent French speaker. She is also a writer and articles, by her, can be found each month in the Shetland Life magazine.

Marsali has spent a great deal of time researching the story of what women in Shetland did to win the right to vote and how this fitted into the national picture. She has also been looking into the contribution that Shetland women made in both world wars.

In her researches she has found the names of two girls from Yell. Barbara Catherine Henry from Hillhead, Gutcher, was a section leader in the WRAF and Alexina Nicolson from Sellafirth was in France with the QMAC.

Does anyone know those women? If you do Marsali would be pleased to hear from you. If you contact me in the first instance I will put you in touch.

Uyeasound’s big day

Today is Up-Helly-A’ day in Uyeasound. Jarl Geoffrey Priest will lead the festival from the brand new galley that he, himself, has built. We wish him, his squad, all the other guizers and participants a successful and enjoyable festival.

I take the liberty of sending a personal message to Richard – I hope that Ingram is in good voice.

Lawrence Tulloch


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