Brough Lodge: a remarkable site on the Shetland island of Fetlar Brough Lodge

Future bright for ShetlandPeerieMakkers

Shetland Peerie Makkers

Future bright for ShetlandPeerieMakkers

Hand knitting tuition, organised by ShetlandPeerieMakkers and hosted in primary schools across the Isles, is set to recommence, following an 18-month interruption due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Shetland Islands Council has confirmed that the programme of volunteer-led tuition can be resumed at the discretion of head teachers, subject to risk assessments to be undertaken in each school.

Liaison between primary school head teachers and the ShetlandPeerieMakkers lead tutors will ensure that all necessary Covid-19 precautions are in place. All the volunteer tutors will be fully vaccinated, and will follow national guidance with regard to social distancing, wearing a face covering and undertaking regular lateral flow tests.

ShetlandPeerieMakkers was established several years ago by the Brough Lodge Trust. Its Chair, Pierre Cambillard, said: “We’re delighted that our tutors can, once, again, provide these hand-knitting classes in schools. They’ve proved very popular with children and of course the tuition is an essential foundation if Shetland’s hand-knitting heritage is to survive and thrive.”

ShetlandPeerieMakkers was one of the pilot case projects reviewed in recent research undertaken on behalf of the Scottish Government, the results of which have just been published by a partnership between Craft Scotland and MAKE (a manifesto for crafts in Scotland, managed by Glasgow-based organisation Panel).

Three research documents have been released under the banner of MAKE Learn. They’re entitled Craft and Making in Education in Scotland Today and comprise a Research Report, Key Findings and Recommendations. There is also a set of resources, developed with makers, for schools.

MAKE Learn’s ambition is for 'a quality craft and making education for everyone in Scotland'.  In 2020, MAKE Learn commissioned Rosemary James-Beith to review the provision and development of craft education within Scotland’s primary and secondary schools and beyond.

The findings and recommendations show how best to support the development of the craft education sector for the benefit of all, create high-quality craft and making opportunities for all and support young people to reach their full potential within craft.   

Pierre Cambillard says that ShetlandPeerieMakkers “ticks 100% all the boxes” set out in the recommendations. Now that the research has been launched, MAKE and Craft Scotland are developing a public affairs campaign which will put the recommendations in front of civil servants and MSPs; it is hoped that a motion will be tabled in Parliament.

There has also been some good news for ShetlandPeerieMakkers in relation to funding. Pierre Cambillard added: ‘I am also delighted to mention that ShetlandPeerieMakkers has started a scheme to attract support from local business. It’s another step towards financial sustainability. We work within an annual budget of no more than £12,000, which covers the cost of our consultant co-ordinator and all other running costs. Much of the funding to date has come from the Crown Estate Fund, but we are keen to involve local supporters.”

Jamiesons of Shetland have a long association with ShetlandPeerieMakkers. From the very beginning, the firm has provided, free of charge, the yarn needed by the bairns. However, Jamiesons are now also supporting the project financially.

Also providing funding is Polycrub/Nortenergy Ltd, who have entered into a three-year sponsorship contract with Brough Lodge Trust.

Pierre Cambillard explained that the aim is to have a small number of business sponsorships, with additional funding coming from private donors and public funds. “We are delighted that these two firms have agreed to provide support and we’re very grateful to them. If other business would like to be involved in securing the hand-knitting heritage, we would be very happy to hear from them. They can contact me at info@ShetlandPeerieMakkers.com.

Brough Lodge Trust
St Olaf’s Hall
Church Road
Lerwick
Shetland ZE1 OFD

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