New wool week curator, power cuts, Rosebank campaign and NHS pay

Newly appointed Shetland Wool Week curator Donna Smith. Photo: Shetland Amenity Trust

SHETLAND Amenity Trust has appointed local knitwear designer Donna Smith as the new curator of the annual wool week on a two year term.

A firmly established name in the textile industry, Smith produces and hand dyes her own Shetland wool, Langsoond Yarn, and last year published her first book of knitting patterns.

Amenity trust chief executive Hazel Sutherland said everyone at the trust was looking forward to working closely with her to develop this year’s programme of Shetland Wool Week.

A significant part of the curatorial role is to encourage new talent to ensure that the event remains sustainable.

“It can feel intimidating to take on the role of tutor and it requires a certain set of skills to translate knitting knowledge into a meaningful teaching experience,” Smith said.

Anyone interested in getting involved in the event, which this year runs from 23 September to 1 October, is asked to contact the team at

TWO separate power cuts affected hundreds of households in Shetland this morning (Tuesday).

One of the power cuts was caused because of damage to a pole, with areas like Burra and Vidlin affected.

An SSEN spokesperson said: “We’d like to sincerely apologise for any inconvenience caused by today’s faults and thank the local communities for their patience as our teams work to restore supplies as quickly as possible.”

A COALITION of more than 200 organisations plus a number of celebrities such as Frankie Boyle and Aisling Bea have written an open letter to prime minister Rishi Sunak urging the UK government to reject plans to develop the Rosebank oil field to the west of Shetland.

They said developing the Norwegian owned oil resource would have a devastating impact on the climate while owner Equinor would be in line to pocket UK government subsidies of more than half a billion pounds in the form of tax breaks.

In their letter, campaigners point out that developing Rosebank would not help UK energy security as 90 per cent of its oil is likely to be exported. Earlier this month, Equinor reported year-end pre-tax profits of £62 billion.

Tessa Khan, executive director of Uplift, said: “The last thing this industry needs is more public handouts and yet that’s what this government is giving them.

“Meanwhile the rest of us are left dealing with unprecedented energy bills that are causing vulnerable people to freeze in their homes. This cannot be allowed to continue.”

The open letter to Rishi Sunak can be read here.

UNISON Scotland is recommending its members working for the NHS accept the government’s pay offer for the 2023/24 financial year.

If accepted following a consultative ballot, the offer would see the majority of health workers in Scotland receive an average 6.5 per cent increase on pay as well as a 1.5 per cent one-off payment.

Chair of the union’s health committee Wilma Brown said: “After the Scottish Government’s lengthy delays in settling last year’s pay claim, we’re glad they have honoured their commitment to enter into early pay talks.

“While pay is undoubtedly a big issue, the ongoing pressures created by the staffing crisis are at the forefront of our members’ minds and are fuelling their frustration.”

UNISON Scotland’s head of health Matt McLaughlin added: “This means that over two years, UNISON has secured pay increases of over 14 per cent for registered nurses and almost 20 per cent for the lowest paid in the NHS.”

Shetland News