Views from the Scord

Firey total

The Scalloway Jarl Squad have now announced the final total of funds raised for charity from their hop day exploits and later hair-clipping “shave-off” bonanza. The spectacular sum they have collected now stands at £8,532.75.

This generous sum is to be donated to the Edinburgh Sick Kids Friends Foundation as a gesture of gratitude for the support Jarl Michael Pottinger and his wife Cyndi received when they had to travel to Edinburgh with their infant son Charlie at Fire Festival time in 2009. Charlie is now fine and after the shearing session the squad held, has now seen his dad without his lengthy beard and hair for the first time. And according to Cyndi, he “wasn’t phased at all”, nor was their older son Bobby who hadn’t seen his dad clean shaven for over two years.

About the fund-raising evening, Cyndi said: “It was good fun and a lot of money raised for a good charity. A great night was had by all.” Michael’s message of thanks as Jarl are in the personal columns of this paper.

Harbour activity

Last week began quietly in Scalloway harbour, with nil landings in the fish market. The week’s fishing vessel movements picked up to a reasonably low average landing total of 1,181 boxes. The majority of this total came from vessels Venture and Guardian Angell, with the latter providing the highest single landing of the week at 287 boxes. Other fishing boats using the port were the Fertile, Quiet Waters and Valhalla.

The workboat Conquest came to Scalloway to use the slipway at Moore’s on Thursday and the fish carrier Viknes called in for shelter for a period.

The well-boat Victoria Viking held an open day, as planned, at Blacksness pier on Friday, with representatives of salmon industry interests treated to hospitality and shown the capabilities of this large fish carrier.

She is only a few months old and has a notably large hold capacity of over 1,000 cubic metres. Her state-of-the art equipment includes a pumping capacity of 12,000 cubic metres an hour, bow and stern thrusters, a water treatment system that can process 1,000 cubic metres an hour and an ozone water disinfection system.

Her hold is technically advanced with a built-in self cleaning system on a moving bulkhead and this also forms part of an advanced fish crowding system, with baffles movable from side, top and bottom to gather live cargo for pumping. All her pumping systems are duplicated with redundant systems to ensure continuity. The Viking is rated at 1,214grt and is 51.5m long with crew space for 10. She departed Scalloway early on Saturday morning, remaining in the area for a time before setting course southward again.

At the weekend the survey vessel Triad arrived in port. The small converted passenger ferry, built in 1970, is registered in Gothenburg and is to remain in the area for seabed survey work.

Cage rebuilding activity has begun in the Muckle Yard and the Ronja Settler continues to operate in the area. Mussel landings this week totalled approximately 11.5 tons.

Nursery windfall

Three local childcare businesses and the new Scalloway museum project received an unexpected cash windfall this week. The donations were made to them by the management of the former Abacus Nursery at the offices AB Associates in Scalloway, which was the headquarters of Abacus. The Abacus child care business, based at Ackrigarth in Lerwick, closed three years ago and the funds which were used to make the donations to these related businesses were the last remnants of the Abacus business as it is now nearing the end of the closure process. The three child care businesses receiving the money were Hame Fae Hame, Scalloway Playgroup and the Lerwick Pre-school.

Andrew Blackadder of Abacus said: “We thought it would be appropriate to make a gesture to those still involved in child care provision, we know how hard it is to run an independent child care provider. We were involved in the nursery and childcare business and unfortunately had to give it up.”

The Abacus business, though very much in demand, became non-viable after changes in legislation left the business the wrong size to benefit from the economy of either large or small scale and, as Andrew says, “it didn’t stack up with the higher costs of training requirements”.

Staff from AB Associates worked closely alongside the founders of the Hame fae Hame business when they developed their business last year, sharing the benefit of their own insight into the childcare sector to assist the business in avoiding the many pitfalls that have arisen in the industry.

The new museum, as the fourth benefactor, may seem a less likely choice in the child care context but the close ties that the Shetland Bus Friendship Society has formed, and seeks to expand on, with Scalloway Junior High School prompted the allocation of funds toward their museum project. It is planned, and hoped, that the school will use the museum frequently and that both organisations benefit as a result.

Burra and Trondra Community Council

The Burra and Trondra Community Council met on Monday this week. The main focus of their meeting was a visit from Dr Malcolm of the Scalloway Surgery to answer questions on healthcare provision in the area. Members raised concerns at the discontinuation of the regular surgeries at the Hamnavoe Public Hall, to which the doctor replied that legislation had prevented this service from continuing.

The same applied to the service that the surgery had offered until recently in delivering prescriptions to the Hamnavoe shop for collection. This service, it was said, has also become victim to interpretation of legislation and means that patients must now travel to Scalloway to collect repeat prescriptions. Members expressed their concerns that this was most difficult for the most vulnerable in the community and often those most likely to require medicines, particularly the elderly and mentally or physically infirm.

The members also asked about the provision of an evening or weekend appointment availability at the Scalloway practice to allow those living in Burra or Trondra and working elsewhere the chance to visit the surgery without taking time away from work, particularly those who use local bus services, who currently have no means to get home if they break their journey home to visit the surgery. The doctor accepted their concerns and was keen to draw attention to the telephone consultation system that they operate from the surgery and also to the potential of a forthcoming dial-a-bus service, which will enable people from Trondra and Burra to have transport to and from the Scalloway practice.

Members also discussed the move by the Association of Shetland Community Councils to form a group to ensure community benefits are paid from any large-scale renewable energy projects that go ahead in Shetland. The ASCC had decided to seek a mandate from each member council to form a neutral body for this purpose, in a manner that in no ways compromises impartiality from members toward any developments that are proposed.

Another renewable energy subject was the discussion of a planning application for the Burra Public Hall to erect a wind turbine.

Looking ahead, the community council is expecting a visit next month from a representative of the schools service of the SIC to discuss the consultation process for the changes being determined under the Blueprint for Education. The next meeting will be on the first Monday in March.

Mark Burgess


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