Monday 15 April 2024
 6.5°C   S Moderate Breeze
Ocean Kinetics - The Engineering Experts

Community / Financial boost for traditional knitting as classroom tuition prepares to re-start after pandemic

Three local organisations received funding from EnQuest: Back row (left to right); Shona Wishart of Mind Your Head; Maya Tan, student nurse; Jan Howard, hospital children's nurse; Pierre Cambilliard, Brough Lodge Trust; Janet Mullins, EnQuest; Knitting tutor Anne Eunson and ShetlandPeerieMakkers co-ordinator Tracey Hawkins. Front row (left to right) Hamnavoe Primary School pupils Holly Williamson, Aimee Fleming, Aisulu Goddard, and Audrey Naquin. Photo: Shetland News

KNITTING tuition in Shetland’s primary schools is set to get underway once again after the summer holidays following a two-year break due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The ShetlandPeerieMakkers project aims to keep the skills and tradition of hand knitting alive by offering tailored lessons to all primary four to seven bairns.

Launched in 2014 by Pierre Cambilliard of Brough Lodge Trust, the initiative is a direct community response to a cost-cutting council decision back in 2010, which saw the discontinuation of knitting classes in Shetland schools.

This week the project received a welcome financial boost in the form of a £5,000 donation from oil company EnQuest, the operator of Sullom Voe Terminal.

Cambilliard has been busy during the last few months mustering financial support for the project that has more than 70 highly skilled and hugely motivated knitters going into schools to teach knitting to pupils for free.

A three-year £48,000 package of funding from the Shetland LEADER programme, fashion designer house Alexander McQueen and Brough Lodge Trust came to an end in 2020.

Since then, Cambilliard has been able to agree a number of three-year  sponsorship deals with local companies worth £500 per annum, and has also received a £3,000 donation from salmon producer Scottish Sea Farms.

Cambilliard said the funding from private businesses is helping to secure the long-term viability of the project.

“It gives us some security for the future, but we still rely on public funding through the small grants system of Shetland Charitable Trust and others,” he said.

“Businesses were generally very happy with what we are doing, so we seem to tick all the boxes,” Cambilliard added. “One of the reasons why we are so successful is that lessons are not compulsory; we have mainly girls but also some boys, and they are taught in small groups with one tutor for four bairns.”

Become a supporter of Shetland News

 
Knitting tutor Anna Eunson gives pupil Aisulu Goddard a helping hand. Photo: Shetland News

He said he was grateful to the schools for welcoming the ShetlandPeerieMakkers in, as this is the environment closest to how children would traditionally have learnt to knit within a family setting.

The project’s consultant co-ordinator Tracey Hawkins added: “It’s fantastic to get that funding boost from EnQuest, which will help the groups to continue for a number of years without having to worry about finance.”

She said that despite a general relaxation of pandemic rules over recent weeks, tuition has not restarted yet as it is difficult to stick to minimum distances between pupils and tutors when teaching a hands-on craft such as knitting.

Hawkins added that before the start of the pandemic 24 ShetlandPeerieMakkers groups across primary schools had been established, and the hope was that this would continue after the summer holidays.

ShetlandPeerieMakker consultant co-ordinator Tracey Hawkins.

Everyone, the bairns as well as the many tutors, are keen to continue, she said.

“They all give their time each week during winter terms,” Hawkins said. “It is amazing the amount of experience these tutors have, they are experts in their field although they would not admit that; our youngest tutor is in her 20s and the oldest in her 90s.

“We are seeing peerie makkers that have gone through the groups are still knitting in their teens, and have probably come back to it more so in lockdown.”

Janet Mullins of EnQuest said the company was donating funds generated in 2020/21 through the terminal’s Greenie Day HSE scheme to three local organisations –  ShetlandPeerieMakkers (£5,000), Mind Your Head – Wellness Programme (£5,000) and £5,400 for the Archie Foundation.

“Some of these charities we have supported before like the Archie Foundation as many local people use the Royal Children’s Hospital in Aberdeen, and others like the ShetlandPeerieMakkers were new to us,” she said.

“Pierre wrote to us, and we thought it is a good thing and something that we want to support such as the traditional knitting which we think is a great thing to keep in Shetland.”

Become a supporter of Shetland News

Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.

Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.

Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has  over 600 supporters  who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.

Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -

  • Bring you the headlines as they happen;
  • Stay editorially independent;
  • Give a voice to the community;
  • Grow site traffic further;
  • Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.

If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.

 

Newsletters

Subscribe to a selection of different newsletters from Shetland News, varying from breaking news delivered on the minute, to a weekly round-up of the opinion posts. All delivered straight to your inbox.

Daily Briefing Newsletter Weekly Highlights Newsletter Opinion Newsletter Life in Shetland Newsletter

JavaScript Required

We're sorry, but Shetland News isn't fully functional without JavaScript enabled.
Head over to the help page for instructions on how to enable JavaScript on your browser.

Your Privacy

We use cookies on our site to improve your experience.
By using our service, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.

Browser is out-of-date

Shetland News isn't fully functional with this version of .
Head over to the help page for instructions on updating your browser for more security, improved speed and the best overall experience on this site.

Interested in Notifications?

Get notifications from Shetland News for important and breaking news.
You can unsubscribe at any time.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

We're committed to ensuring everyone has equitable access to impartial, open and quality local journalism that benefits all residents.

By supporting Shetland News, you play a vital role in ensuring we remain a pivotal resource in supporting the community.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.