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

Hand Knitting

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Looking to the future of handknitting in Shetland

Brough Lodge Trust

St Olaf’s Hall, Church Road, Lerwick, ZE1 0FD

Reg. Scottish Charity SC 028725

Invitation to tender for the provision of planning

and co-ordination services

Brough Lodge Trust (“BLT”) oversees the management of the Shetland PeerieMakkers project ("the Project"), which seeks to promote the learning and practice of hand-knitting among children and young people. The Project manages a selected network of volunteer tutors for the teaching of Shetland hand-knitting skills, generally in primary schools within the Shetland Islands.

Brough Lodge Trust wishes to engage a consultant to provide planning and coordination services in support of the Project and of the volunteers involved in it.

The period for the supply of the services would run from 15 September 2022 to 30 June 2023 (“the Fixed Term”), with an option for renewal subject to agreement.

Services amounting to no less than 350 hours should be spread throughout the Fixed Term. A fee of £22 an hour will be paid. Mileage and other expenses reasonably and necessarily incurred in connection with the provision of the services will be reimbursed based on receipts, up to a limit of £1,000 per year. Access to a motor vehicle is essential, as is possession of a full UK driving licence and insurance that covers business use.

The Schedule below describes the services to be performed by the consultant:

  • ensure that all volunteers follow the prevailing Shetland Islands Council rules in connection with Covid 19;

  • liaise with Shetland Islands Council’s Creative Links and Children’s Services, lead tutors , Project Core Team and School Head Teachers;

  • recruit volunteers, organise training for volunteers, and ensure that children and volunteers have the necessary materials and equipment;

  • liaise with staff at Jamieson’s of Shetland Ltd to update the shop list of current tutors by name and place, for the collection of  the pupils’ choice of yarn for knitting classes;

  • organise and, when appropriate, chair meetings of lead tutors ;

  • issue tutors with expense claim forms and provide guidance on completion;

  • In consultation with BLT, establish and implement arrangements for the payment of out of pocket expenses

  • check, review and report to BLT tutor expenses in a timely fashion;

  • support individual lead tutors in leading their group as an out-of-school activity, which is outwith the jurisdiction of a head teacher ; request changes to any aspect of the Project Sockbox tuition; or require that the Core Team takes part in school events.

  • ensure the standards and quality of knitting tuition are maintained in accordance with the Sockbox Blueprint, i.e.:

    • That each lead tutor has been selected and vetted by the Core Team for having a high degree of skills and knowledge in Shetland knitting ;

    • That the lead tutor is PVG checked and attends the school group for one hour a week; manages the permanent and annual group resource box; liaises with parents; and limits the maximum number of pupils per group to 12.

    • That each tutor adopts and manages the expenses of a set of assistant volunteers who are also skilled knitters in order to achieve the ratio of 1 tutor to 5 children. This replicates the traditional method of learning knitting in Shetland from a parent or family member.

    • That the following teaching formula is adhered to: children will learn the basic knitting stitches (garter and purl). They will then move quickly on to working in a tubular form or “in-the-round”, making visual pattern references ,and then work with Fair Isle and lace motifs.

    • After the child has completed his/her first learning piece, the Sockbox blueprint will encourage a more child centred approach where the child chooses the article he/she wishes to knit with support from the tutors.

    • Children are encouraged to share their skills with others and to interact with knitters in their communities and at home when their knitting can be supported at home.

  • be responsible for ensuring that relevant parental permission is in place for pupil and group images for the ShetlandPeerieMakkers’ Facebook, Instagram and Newsletter, and that child protection policies are adhered to; and provide support, advice and training through Voluntary Action Shetland to tutors with regard to this issue. An information pack for new Tutors will be updated by the Project Working Group

  • Manages approaches for access to the group and Sockbox from journalists and researchers, referring to the Core Team for guidance and support.

  • Ensure, in consultation with appropriate advisers, that the tutors' arrangement, direction and paperwork are compliant with their volunteer status and any regulatory requirements related to their work with children.

  • prepare monthly activity reports with time sheets for BLT.

  • be responsible for day to day budget management of the Project;

  • liaise with the Core Team Communications and Marketing contact to promote the programme and any good news stories etc.

  • publish at least once a week an update on social media (Face Book, Instagram) as to relevant activities of ShetlandPeerieMakkers’ knitting groups, with acceptance of respective tutors

  • prepare a quarterly Newsletter (September 2022, December 2022, March 2023, June 2023)

  • make, in April 2023, amendment proposals to the Sock Box Review Team (Lead: Hazel Hughson) as to the Sock Box recipe

Personal qualities/features essential for the consultant :

  • Commitment to young people and creative learning

  • Vision , energy and enthusiasm

  • Self motivation

Relevant experience :

  • Experience of working on projects with variety of stakeholders or creative  individuals, including externally funded projects

  • Experience of project and/or curriculum development

  • Experience of developing successful partnership projects

  • Experience of volunteering

Desirable experience :

  • Project Management

  • Budget monitoring

Education :

  • a degree in an appropriate subject may be desirable but not essential if the Consultant has proven management experienc

Skills, abilities and knowledge :

  • Excellent interpersonal skills

  • Good communication skills, both written and oral

  • Ability to resolve problems creatively

  • ICT skills

  • Organisational skills

  • Basic financial management skills

The Brough Lodge Trust is not bound to accept the lowest, or any, tender. Interested parties are invited to contact Brough Lodge Trust latest by August 31st 2022 per email at giving full details of their credentials to deliver the services.

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This project has been part financed by the Scottish Government and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development:
Europe investing in rural areas Shetland LEADER Programme 2014-2020

Shetland Peerie Makkers

Brough Lodge Trust (BLT) believes that hand knitting is one of the most important components of Shetland’s socio-cultural and artistic heritage.  However, BLT regards that heritage as being at risk.  A steady decline in the number of commercial hand knitters has raised concerns about the possibility that Shetland is in danger of losing its living heritage of highly skilled knitters.  BLT understands that knitting skills are not being passed on within families as was once common, due, in part, to decreased economic need.  In addition, since 2010, knitting is no longer taught in schools via the local Education Authority.

In contrast, Shetland’s profile as a place with a hand-knit heritage continues to grow nationally and internationally.  A clear example of this is the growth of Shetland Wool Week over the past seven years.  However, immensely valuable though Shetland Wool Week is, it ‘s main purpose is not to provide practical support for the growth of Shetland knitting skills and knowledge among young people in Shetland.  BLT, following consultation with a group of experienced Shetland knitters and textile enthusiasts, feels that the loss of these skills could be reversed if the right strategy and support mechanisms are put in place. 

That, then, is the challenge. ShetlandPeerieMakkers has been established to help secure the future of Shetland knitting.

The story so far ...

ShetlandPeerieMakkers was set up under the auspices of the Brough Lodge Trust, which was originally established to restore the historic Brough Lodge on the island of Fetlar. The Trust’s intention is to offer courses in various aspects of Shetland’s heritage (including textiles) in very comfortable surroundings. Trustees realised, though, that the restoration was still some years away and that, in the meantime, the need to support the knitting culture should become a priority.

In August 2014, the Trust held a public consultation to discuss how support for hand-knitting might be most effective. It took the form of a "world café" meeting, held in Fetlar, which involved a number of people involved in knitting and textiles. Everyone agreed that the need to support Shetland’s hand-knitting is urgent.

ShetlandPeerieMakkers: objectives…

The Trust aims to achieve the following outcomes for Shetland’s young people and the Shetland community through the deployment of the ShetlandPeerieMakkers Programme.

  • To revive Shetland hand knitting skills and knowledge amongst young Shetlanders through free knitting tuition with expert tutors.
  • To explain and interpret Shetland’s knitting and cultural heritage to a new generation of Shetlanders through new models of tuition.and practice
  • To make young people aware of the cultural value of textiles and the potential economic value of textile education, textile tourism and textile design, for future and current development.
  • To enhance young people’s understanding of the intrinsic qualities of Shetland wool and the link between our economic and crofting heritage and textile production.
  • To support young people to share and cascade their skills to others in their peer groups and to use digital technology to demonstrate Shetland hand knitting techniques.

A way forward ...

A group of local textile experts was  formed in September 2014 to steer the project and ShetlandPeerieMakkers was the result of more than a year’s discussion.  It was decided that ShetlandPeerieMakkers would offer free tuition in hand-knitting in Shetland techniques to Shetland youngsters. ‘PeerieMakkers’ simply means ‘small knitters’ in Shetland dialect.

We conceived ShetlandPeerieMakkers, in the first instance, as a pilot project. It would involve skilled, volunteer tutors in providing lessons to youngsters in five communities within Shetland, using local schools as safe places to meet .That, in itself, reflects another Shetland tradition: the islands’ communities have always supported skills exchange, socially and within families, whether in inshore fishing, spinning or peat cutting. These voluntarily shared skills are evident in the many community marinas, rowing and sailing competitions, agricultural shows and at sociable activity in local halls.

It was agreed that the five pilots would run for a year and that we’d apply the lessons learnt to building a sustainable model for tuition in the longer term.

Although the volunteers would give the tuition without payment, various expenses would be incurred, for example for knitting belts, notebooks and pencils and car mileage. We didn’t want anyone to be out of pocket, so we needed to raise some money. We costed a one-year pilot programme and we were fortunate in being offered Shetland yarns for use in the project by the local yarn spinners, Jamiesons of Shetland, who are based in Sandness, Shetland.

We decided to see if we could raise funds through crowd-funding and chose a platform called Crowdfunder. We were amazed by the results. In little more than a week, we had reached the target of £4,500, with donations coming from many parts of the world. There was support from Shetland, Scotland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland, the USA and Canada, Norway, France and other countries.

Buoyed by that success, we decided that we should raise the target, so that we could pay for a second year of Primary School tuition, outwith the education service but in schools, as lunchtime or afterschool groups, providing more research into the best tuition method . It would inform a  blueprint or toolkit , which we’ve called the  ‘Sockbox’ which we would document  after two  pilot years.

Donations continued to flow in and on December 11, 2015, at the end of the crowd funding, a total amount of £7,194 had been pledged.

Funding proved to be finally just sufficient to carry on with a 2nd year of pilot starting September 2016, in 3 new primary schools: Ollaberry in the north Mainland, Dunrossness in the south, and in Unst, as a specialist ShetlandPeerieMakkers group in Baltasound School

Groups continue in Burra and Skeld in the west., with Cunningsburgh and Whalsay groups working outwith the 2016/17 sponsored pilot.

The Anderson High School secondary drop-in knitting group now meets as a senior group independently after ShetlandPeerieMakkers pilot support.

Following the award of a grant of £27,480 from LEADER in May 2017 , a gift of £20,100 from a private donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, and further £8,000  thanks to another crowd funding,  a phased extension of the scheme to 28 primary schools could be achieved  by eary 2020,  Yarn for the scheme is sponsored by Jamiesons of Shetland.

March 2020 tuition had to be stopped due to the Covid 19 outbreak. It is now to resume in all relevant schools, September 2022, with hopefully no further continued disruption.

How you can help ...

It’s very easy to join all those who’ve already supported ShetlandPeerieMakkers.

If you’d like to support ShetlandPeerieMakkers, just follow the link at the top of this page to our secured Just Giving donation account and give whatever you can afford. We’ll be really grateful for any contribution you can make.

UK tax payers will be eligible to a tax receipt, and your donation may also be subject to Gift Aid.

If you just wish to contact us, please drop us an email - the address is: Please be sure to give your contact details so that we know who you are.

Shetland knitting means so much to people in Shetland and around the world. It’s very much part of our islands’ culture. In the long term, we hope that money to support hand-knitting - and other aspects of Shetland’s heritage, such as music - will come from the income raised by Brough Lodge once the building has been restored; and there’s much more about our plans elsewhere on this website.

But we feel that the risk of losing the hand-knitting culture is too great for us to delay the pilot projects. That’s why we’re pursuing them quite separately from the restoration and we guarantee that all the money you donate will go directly into securing Shetland’s hand-knitting future.

You can also follow the Peerie Makkers project on both Facebook and Twitter.


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