Remote island seeks family to help keep local school open

Shapinsay has been tipped as the ideal location for people who are able to work from home.

Remote island seeks family to help keep local school open SWNS via SWNS
Island: Community seek family with two kids to keep local school in use.

An island with a population of less than 350 people is searching for a family with two kids to help keep a school in use.

Shapinsay, one of the Orkney Isles that has a population of around 320, is tipped as being the ideal location for working from home, with plenty of ceilidhs and bingo to keep residents occupied.

The Shapinsay Development Trust is offering the new family the chance to rent number nine, a recently renovated trust-owned home, in the heart of the main village for £500 a month.

Lisa-Marie Muir, from the trust, said Shapinsay offered plenty space, incredible scenery and a strong community, with residents coming together for ceilidhs and dances, bingo, coffee afternoons, drawing clubs and film clubs.

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Ms Muir said: “We know there is a family out there who would be an ideal match for number nine and welcoming new children to the school would be a boost felt throughout our community.

“It may be that for some, the idea of moving to an island and adopting the unique lifestyle seems out of reach.

“But with the way that people are working from home these days, it really is easier than ever for someone to make the move.

“Shapinsay is such a safe place to bring up your bairns, you never need to worry about where they are and what they are up to.

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“They spend their summers in wetsuits, swimming at the pier or the beach, or cycling all over the island.

“In normal times, there’s always something for them to do during the winter – from football to badminton and youth club to climbing.

“We were so excited to see work completed on number nine and to be able to let it.

“We would be over-the-moon to find the right people to make it their home.”

A recently renovated home is up for grabs at £500 per month. SWNS via SWNS
A recently renovated home is up for grabs at £500 per month.

The new arrivals will help sustain pupil numbers at Shapinsay Community School and keep two teachers in place, with the school enjoying a “fantastic relationship” with islanders, the trust said.

Head teacher Emma Clements said: “Shapinsay School provides a small school experience, but with big opportunities.

“We have small numbers in our classes and we strive to give every child an individual experience, according to their needs.

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“We encourage the children to become independent thinkers who are able to take real responsibility.

“More children attending the school would mean that it is able to retain two primary classes going forward.

“The school is a big part of the community, taking part in community events. In turn, the community supports the school in many different ways.”

As well as the school, Shapinsay has a GP surgery, healthy living centre, post office and shop, where petrol can be bought.

The island is 25 minutes away by ferry from the Orkney mainland, with the trust offering a small boat service after 6pm so that residents can mix the benefit of services on the mainland with the tranquillity of the smaller island.