The project is to be carried out in three phases:
- Development: extensive planning studies were carried out including a feasibility study and a business plan for the Operations .
- Restoration: Phase 1 -wind and water tight- was started September 2011 and is to be completed March 2014. Progress on Phase 2 depends on confirmation of a full funding package, after which building work will be completed.
- Operations: the operation of Brough Lodge as a business.
The overall objectives of the project are:
- To create a desirable residential location for cultural and environmental activities in which visitors and local expertise will be brought together;
- To accommodate short-stay visitors and act as a venue for special occasions; and
- To house a permanent (partly virtual) exhibition on the restoration of Brough Lodge and historic buildings in general.
- To utilise the anticipated revenue surplus to support the teaching of hand-knitting to Shetland school children. Depending on the resources available, other aspects of Shetland’s heritage may also be supported.
The management and governance of Brough Lodge benefits from the experienced leadership of the Chairman of Brough Lodge Trust, Pierre Cambillard.
Two internationally-renowned figures in the fields of traditional music and textiles are patrons, namely Shetland musician, Dr. Aly Bain, and international textile artist, Kaffe Fassett.
The total cost of converting and restoring the house for the preferred use is estimated at £4 million (Phases 2). Funding for Phase 1 (£0.5 million) was provided by Historic Scotland, Shetland Islands Council (SIC) and Shetland Amenity Trust (SAT). The Trust is actively seeking a major private sponsor to help fund Phase 2.
Extensive project planning studies financed through a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), the Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) and HIE Shetland have demonstrated that, as a business, Brough Lodge can be expected to break even within 3 years of the start of operations, excluding restoration. The key to success will be carefully-targeted and imaginative marketing. We shall be harnessing the expertise of a local partner agency which organises arts and cultural events.
The project has the support of the local authority and is expected to become a ‘show-case’ development, an example of how ecotourism can help similarly depopulated areas in need of economic regeneration.