We are living in a time of crisis. The COVID-19 virus has changed our lives, and will do so for many months to come.
It was a sombre sitting in Parliament on Tuesday. Sombre but very unified. Only a handful of weeks ago all the political parties were disagreeing over constitutional issues and much more. But differences have been put aside in the face of this unprecedented national and global crisis.
The Cabinet was in the chamber to answer the many questions MSPs had after statements from the First Minister and the Cabinet Secretary for Health ranging from Personal Protection Equipment for healthcare professionals to education closures to business support.
The proposals for change brought about by the Re-create Scalloway project were on display in the Youth Centre last Sunday. Although the turnout could have been better, it was good to see in practical terms what might be achieved for the village following input from the community.
The remnants of the old youth centre building has blighted the waterfront for too many years so its removal would be welcome. As the funding from the Town Centre fund has to be spent before the summer that should happen sooner rather than later.
At the Education and Skills meeting on Wednesday committee members had the opportunity to ask further questions on the Disclosure (Scotland) Bill. It aims to reform current safeguarding legislation and one of the issues that has been looked at is around childhood convictions.
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”.
Entrepreneurs often start out working from home, but it can be difficult sometimes to meet prospective clients when you’re operating out of a small space under the stairs or from your bedroom. It’s no different for Shetland entrepreneurs, but now there’s another option.
On Monday I was invited to visit Co-Work Shetland, a new business facility in Lerwick, set up by John Pottinger. The office space in Bank Lane has been converted into a shared area where small businesses and freelancers can operate from individual work stations without the domestic distractions. It’s a welcome innovative addition to the town centre.