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News round-up / Fair Isle appeal nears target, global textiles network, Holocaust memorial goes online, Wishart asks for visa guidance

The original plans for the new Fair Isle bird observatory.

A CROWDFUNDING appeal to address a “worrying shortfall in funding” to rebuild the world-famous Fair Isle Bird Observatory is edging closer to its £650,000 target.

As of 26 January nearly £539,000 had been donated to the appeal.

The bird observatory burned to the ground in March 2019 when a fire which started in the roof could not be contained and destroyed the nine-year-old building.

The crowdfunding appeal aims to put at least £650,000 towards the £7.4 million project. The remainder will be covered by the insurance.


A SOCIAL enterprise based in Yell will be launching a global textiles network this year after securing funding.

The GlobalYell project was one of six which recently received a grant through the newly established Crown Estate fund, which is administered by Shetland Islands Council.

The concept behind the project is to bring those working with textile manufacture and design in “interesting and innovative ways” together to explore solutions to common issues.

GlobalYell creative director Andy Ross said: “This project is a way for us to work differently, putting the studios on an international map through partnerships.

“It is an exciting idea and we have already learned, for example, about women using embroidery in the Andes to increase income and support social activities, and Italian villages that make use of weaving residencies to bring old houses back into use.”

The project will culminate in a conference in Shetland in 2023 at which participants will explore the transformational impact of textiles in communities from around the world.

Anyone interested in being involved should contact Andy on 07900 430 429 or by email: andy@globalyell.org.


SHETLAND’s annual commemoration to mark Holocaust Memorial Day will take the form of joining the UK national ceremony which will for the first time be streamed online.

All are welcome to join online, with the event taking place online at 7pm tonight (Wednesday).

Following the national ceremony, folk are encouraged to ‘Light the Darkness’ together with other households across the UK by lighting candles at 8pm and safely putting them in their windows to remember those who were murdered for who they were, and to stand against prejudice and hatred today.

Shetland’s annual commemoration is usually organised by Shetland Inter Faith, with the support of the Lerwick branch club of the Royal British Legion Scotland, Shetland Islands Council, and a number of individual local residents.


SHETLAND MSP Beatrice Wishart has called on the Scottish Government to produce “practical Brexit visa guidance” for music artists.

She said in a virtual session of the Scottish Parliament that new visa arrangements with added costs make it harder for musicians who want to work in Europe or who want to come to Shetland for events like the folk festival.

Minister for Europe Jenny Gilruth said Wishart’s call for accessible guidance was a “sensible and reasonable suggestion” and agreed to look in to the matter.

Speaking afterwards, Wishart said: “Shetland is world renowned for traditional music. It would be a tragedy if events like the Shetland Folk Festival or Accordion and Fiddle Festival were hampered by the UK Government’s last-minute Brexit deal.

“The very least that government can do is to make sure artistes have some guidance for navigating new systems so the creative sector can rebuild and thrive once pandemic restrictions allow for live events again.”