Many years ago I worked at COPE in Lerwick for a few months, and it was that ethos of quality placements for people with additional support needs that came to mind when I visited Camphill School’s Murtle Estate in Aberdeen last Friday as Scottish Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson.
I was particularly interested to find out about Camphill’s Young Adult Service for 16-25 year olds with additional support needs. Staff and students demonstrated the philosophy of each person reaching their full potential through creativity in the craft workshops, or work on the farm, while building on social skills.
My comment about the sense of calm across the estate, which includes several residential homes, was greeted by “everyone who comes here says that”.
The Nordic Council was welcomed to the Scottish Parliament last Thursday. It was a well-timed visit. The following day we left the EU and that seemed to heighten our desire to strengthen relationships with our Nordic neighbours, with both sides stressing the importance of working together post-Brexit.
The delegation was led by this year’s president of the Council, Icelandic MP Silja Dögg Gunnarsdóttir, and was hosted by the Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament. Cultural, historical and geographical interests were discussed with diverse topics ranging from climate change to fake news to Nordic languages. We agreed to continue further collaboration.
At an event in Parliament I met up with representatives from Clan Cancer Support in Aberdeen. They were there to promote their new fundraising project in conjunction with Wild in Art called ‘Light the North’ which is timed to coincide with the Year of Coasts and Waters. The aim is to have a lighthouse trail from Shetland and Orkney, and around the Moray Coast to Aberdeen, to raise awareness as well as funds for Clan.
Along with my Orkney colleague, Liam McArthur, I heard that Clan had attracted some business sponsors in the Northern Isles, with Orkney having one more sponsor than Shetland. I’ve taken up the challenge to see if I can find some more sponsors in Shetland for this valuable and worthwhile service.
Back at home over the weekend and the grandbairns’ new puppy was entertaining the family as only puppies can do. I also spent some time with Kaylee Garrick and marvelled at the good behaviour of her photogenic dogs compared with the highly charged energetic family puppy.
Kaylee’s photos of her well-groomed dogs bring joy to a lot of people via social media, and she turned that interest into a calendar to raise money for charity. I highlighted her photography and fund-raising in Parliament by way of a motion, and she kindly offered to take my photo with her beloved pets. The colours of the sea at Meal Beach on Sunday were stunning and perfect for a fun photo. Thanks Kaylee!
My next constituency advice surgery will be in the Shetland Parliamentary Office on Friday, 14 February from 12.30pm. If you’ve got an issue to raise or something to discuss don’t hesitate to get in touch.