AN ORGANISATION that promotes Shetland produce has secured its future over the next 18 months thanks to funding from a variety of sources.
Shetland Food and Drink Limited (SFAD) secured over £60,000 for a second fixed-term project, following closely after the completion of its “very successful” launch.
Manager Jill Franklin, who played a pivotal role in setting up the organisation, will be stepping down from the post in the second round of SFAD.
This new project is supported by primary funders Shetland LEADER and Shetland Islands Council, with sponsorship funding and SFAD’s own funds completing the funding package. The funding, totalling £61,176.97, comprises: £30,588.47 from LEADER; £25,000.00 from Shetland Islands Council; and £5,588.50 from sponsorship and SFAD’s own funds.
The launch project ran from August 2017 to Feb 2019 with funding from Shetland LEADER, Shetland Islands Council and Highland & Islands Enterprise.
Chairwoman of Shetland Food and Drink Marian Armitage said: “SFAD was set up to promote Shetland’s local produce both in and outwith the Isles. In addition to events and initiatives, we have also raised the profile of Shetland’s local produce.
“We’ve generated a range of publicity, from widespread press in Shetland to BBC Radio 4’s Food Programme and forthcoming features in Delicious and Country Living magazines. Our email bulletins are sent right across the globe and our booming social media feeds drive more and more interest in Shetland’s food and drink and Shetland generally. Following our launch in November 2017, we set out to achieve as much as we can for our members and for the sector, and I am confident we have done just that.”
The organisation now has 60 members across Shetland. It created and launched www.tasteofshetland.com and organised the Taste of Shetland Festivals 2017 and 2018, bringing a host of donors and sponsors on board.
Franklin, who worked as a volunteer prior to setting up SFAD, said: “I am incredibly proud of what we have achieved in a relatively short space of time. We wouldn’t be where we are without the tremendous amount of encouragement we have received.
“I have loved the role and am very proud of what has been achieved but am unable to re-apply due to personal reasons. I’m sure the next manager will also achieve great things with everyone’s continued support.”
Franklin was one of the main organisers of the Food Fair in 2015, the year it split from the Craft Fair, and also was the co-organiser, again as a volunteer, of the second Food Fair in 2016 (before it became the Taste of Shetland Food Festival in 2017).
She also undertook a visit to Scotland, on a voluntary basis, to help work out the feasibility of SFAD, to help put things in place prior to the launch of the organisation.
Armitage said: “We have been very fortunate to have benefitted from Jill’s incredibly driven and committed work.She has led Shetland Food and Drink to achieve wide recognition and high regard throughout Shetland and beyond.
“Without such effort, I don’t believe the organisation would be where it is now.”
According to Armitage, the next phase of Shetland Food and Drink’s growth will focus on growing the local market for Shetland produce and raise the profile of SFAD and its members outwith the isles
She said: “We now have a member-ratified strategy which is driving our planning. In the next 18 months our activities will include further marketing and PR, including having high profile journalists visit Shetland; creating print materials to promote SFAD to the cruise ship market and attending more shows outside of Shetland.”