MSP repeats call for testing, Fishermen’s Mission funding, archive film exhibition, youth arts grants, offshore SAR contract

SHETLAND MSP Beatrice Wishart has reiterated her call for coronavirus testing for people travelling to the isles after a government official suggested island communities with low infection rates should be protected.

Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart. Photo: Shetland News

National clinical director professor Jason Leitch said this morning in a parliament committee: “I would say if Orkney get to single figure numbers, we should protect Orkney from importation from the Scottish mainland. If Scotland gets to low numbers, we should protect Scotland from importation.

“If the UK gets to low numbers, we should protect the UK from importation and if we can get both islands and our surrounding islands to low numbers, we should protect that whole five countries and we should do that using vaccination, restrictions to our population and importation restrictions.”

Wishart said in response that the Scottish Government should make a decision quickly on testing people travelling to the isles.

“The national clinical director has talked about protecting island communities, and constituents repeatedly point out that we have a geographic advantage in stopping the spread of Covid,” she said.

“Getting to the islands is naturally more restricted than to other areas of the country so it seems feasible to test people before they arrive.

THE FISHERMEN’s Mission has been offered access to a fund of up to £300,000 to help their welfare work with fishermen across Scotland.

The fund will help support the services offered by the Fishermen’s Mission, working with fishermen who are dealing with mounting debts around rent, mortgage and utility bills.

Fishermen’s Mission CEO David Dickens said: “I would like to personally thank Marine Scotland for their support.

“This fund will be of real help to us. Last year alone it cost us over £600k to provide our services in Scotland, where we have a very strong presence.”

Local Shetland mission man Aubrey Jamieson, who also serves as senior superintendent for the mission’s Scottish sector, said: “Many fishermen around the country are struggling amidst the difficulties and obstacles of the current situation.

“Today’s news is a real encouragement – assisting us in our work of bringing help and support to those most in need.”

THE LOCAL film archive has teamed up with Shetland Arts to present Postcards from the Past – a journey through bygone Shetland in a series of short archive films.

They include the repainting of the south light on Fair Isle and croft work on Papa Stour, the building of the bridge to Trondra and a boat trip around Scalloway harbour with views of the castle and seafront.

Entry to the exhibition, at the Bonhoga Gallery, is free but visits need to be booked through the Shetland Arts website or over the phone during Bonhoga opening hours on 01595 745750.

Bonhoga is open Friday, Saturday, Sunday between 11am and 4pm. Each ticket is for a 20-minute film screening for up to six people from a maximum of two households.

Face coverings must be worn inside the building unless you are exempt or eating/drinking in the cafe.

Funding is available for people keen to develop youth art activities. Photo: Shetland Arts

SHETLAND Arts has also received funding from Creative Scotland to support local freelance creative practitioners to develop and deliver youth arts activity.

Freelance creative practitioners based in Shetland, or with strong links to the isles, are encouraged to apply for grants of up to £5,000 to deliver a series of free arts sessions in the 12 months from March.

Shetland Arts is also seeking to appoint a freelance creative practitioner as project coordinator for the youth arts programme.

“It’s been a tough year for young people and artists so we’re looking forward to 2021 and the youth art activities that this project will enable,” head of creative opportunities Bryan Peterson said.

“We’ll be supporting practitioners to design and deliver exiting projects across the isles that will benefit young people and provide much needed income opportunities for the creative community.”

More information can be found here, (, with a closing date for expressions of interest set for 5pm on Wednesday 17 February.

BABCOCK has been awarded a contract extension to continue delivering a lifesaving Search and Rescue (SAR) service in support of those working in the North Sea.

The four-year extension will see the contract for the Aberdeen-based operation, which was due to finish this April, now run through to spring 2025.

Babcock’s director of offshore Ian Cooke said: “Babcock SAR teams have unmatched experience in operational delivery not only in the North Sea but also more widely across Europe and Australia.

“This significant extension is a clear signal of the quality of service Babcock SAR teams are renowned for.”

Shetland News