Community commitment (Cheryl Jamieson)

I often wonder if Shetland Life asked me “21 Questions” what would the title of my autobiography be. I’ve decided now it would have to be “Fighting against the tide”.

We are working very hard to make Unst a vibrant and attractive place to live, and I’d say we are succeeding. It’s not easy, but I think the effort is worth it, and as a result we have a great community spirit that’s envied by many. For the council then to target our school for closure is so infuriating and demoralising.

Councillor Nickerson’s absurd comments about Northmavine maybe explains what others are thinking. Unbelievably he said that North Roe didn’t need their school as the area was doing well because they have the Big Bannock and the Northmavine Community Development Company.

Does he have no comprehension of the voluntary effort that goes into this brilliant charity event? And that the reason that the NCDC exists is because they are striving hard to regenerate their area, and doing a great job too. Like us, they are fighting against the tide, and fighting against the council.

Did he mean that if the community had been dying out and doing nothing about it he would have voted to keep their school? So because we have UnstFest and the Unst Partnership we can afford to lose our school?

There is so much hard work going on in our rural areas and this should be recognised and supported by our council, rather than thwarted. We have all made a commitment to our communities, and it’s about time the council did the same.

Cheryl Jamieson


Add Your Comment
  • George Smith

    • May 19th, 2011 11:36

    Community engagement, community capacity building and community empowerment tend to be difficult concepts for those in power to subscribe to. I wonder why?

  • paula goddard

    • May 19th, 2011 15:37

    Thankyou Cheryl and Christopher, for, putting into words ,how most people on Unst feel.Once again the outer Isles are not considered or bought into the main picture.I agree with you ,When will we be listened too?

  • Marina Thomason

    • May 20th, 2011 9:47

    When the RAF pulled out of Unst it was a bitter blow to the Isle but the the folk are really trying to make the best of it and it just seems to me that the councillors are kicking you while you’re down. They can fairly talk the talk when it comes to supporting fragile rural communities but unfortunately actions speak louder than words.

  • Brian Smith

    • May 21st, 2011 9:09

    Fifty years ago Shetlanders were discussing the prospects for civilised life in their islands, faced as they were by very adverse economic circumstances. The Shetland Council of Social Service was leading that discussion, and the Shetland Times and the councils were major participants in it. A major part of the debate was about how the rural parts of Shetland could survive.

    Nowadays we seem to have forgotten how to think about such problems. The paper and the council are full of chit-chat about personalities, and we now have a more or less fully-fledged Tory group on the SIC, devoted to doing the coalition’s work for it as fast as possible. Shetland has a lot more going for it in 2011 than it had in 1961 – but you wouldn’t guess it, given the standard of debate.


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