Knitting project receives support from fashion house

ShetlandPeerieMakkers ambassadors Aimee Irvine, Flora Quinnell, Sinead Wood and Stephanie Mercer were on hand to reveal the news at a fundraising competition at Aith Junior High School.

A PROJECT that teaches hand knitting to Shetland’s youngsters in a bid to keep the tradition alive has received support from leading fashion house Alexander McQueen.

ShetlandPeerieMakkers coordinator Tracey Hawkins said it was a “real confidence boost” to receive financial assistance from the fashion company.

It would not reveal the amount of funding given by Alexander McQueen, but Hawkins said it is “vital to the successful roll-out of the ShetlandPeerieMakkers project across the isles.”

The project launched in 2015 by Fetlar’s Brough Lodge Trust in the view of encouraging volunteers to give free knitting tuition to young people as it was no longer part of the school curriculum.

Native Shetlander Amy Gibson – who is a creative designer for Alexander McQueen – visited the Skeld PeerieMakkers group in late 2016 and encouraged her employers to support the scheme.

“We are absolutely delighted here at ShetlandPeerieMakkers that a team of elite designers from a British institution have recognised and validated the ShetlandPeerieMakkers project,” Hawkins said.

“It has been a real confidence boost to the project and confirms that our aims to provide lifelong skills – not just knitting, but improving their maths and art, honing hand and eye coordination, understanding pattern and 3D and increasing their social skills – to the young people of Shetland is truly meaningful.”

PeerieMakkers has also received funding from the LEADER programme, which is managed by the European Union and the Scottish Rural Development programme, as well as sponsorship from Jamieson’s of Shetland – and public donations are still coming in too.

Hawkins said the project has “established five new groups in the last few months and are aiming to have a further eight groups started before the end of 2018” – but there is still a deficit of around £7,000, meaning a new fundraising campaign will kick off later this year.

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