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Knitting tuition project to expand

A PROJECT which has brought free knitting tuition to eight primary schools is set to expand across the whole of Shetland after receiving new funding.

The ShetlandPeerieMakkers initiative now hopes to have a presence in 28 of the isles’ schools after successfully operating as a one-year pilot project.

The project, which is run by the Brough Lodge Trust in an attempt to re-energise Shetland’s knitting tradition, has received £27,480 from LEADER and £20,100 from a private donor.

The funding will allow ShetlandPeerieMakkers to be extended in phases over the next three years, although it is expected that another £8,000 will need to be sourced through donations.

The project initially raised over £7,000 from a crowdfunding campaign before a volunteer-led trial programme was launched in Unst, Whalsay, Ollaberry, Skeld, Lerwick, Burra, Cunningsburgh and Dunrossness.

Brough Lodge Trust’s Pierre Cambillard hailed the project as “ground-breaking” and said it “provides the missing link that was needed to secure the future of the hand-knitting culture” in Shetland.

It is hoped that the expansion of ShetlandPeerieMakkers will start in September.

“Nor can there be any doubt of the value placed on Shetland’s hand-knitting tradition around the world. That was clear from the response to our crowd-funding and the success of Shetland Wool Week underlines it,” Cambillard said.

“Hand-knitting isn’t just a valuable tradition from the past; it’s a continuing part of the islands’ culture. It’s also one of the foundations of Shetland’s reputation, both as a destination and as an origin of fine things; so there’s an economic dimension.”

Brough Lodge Trust was initially established to restore the 19th Century Brough Lodge estate on Fetlar and create a heritage centre, but three years ago it decided that “the nurturing of Shetland’s hand-knitting tradition was an urgent priority”.