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Community / Securing a future for the Whalsay kirk building

Photo © Oliver Dixon (cc-by-sa/2.0)

A COMMUNITY-wide consultation is now under way in Whalsay to find a new purpose for the kirk building at Brough.

The building is one of almost 30 in Shetland the Church of Scotland is selling as the size of congregations have dwindled over recent years.

Following the completion of a feasibility study, the Whalsay Kirk Development Company (WKDC) has now appointed community development specialists Community Enterprise to carry out the consultation work and planning alongside local architect firm Malcolmson Architects.

To carry out this work WKDC has awarded funding of £22,260 from the Scottish Land Fund.

Thelma Hughson of WKDC said the kirk building has been a central feature for the Whalsay community for centuries.

“We have engaged with the Whalsay community to establish their ideas and been given positive feedback and encouragement of how the future role and usage of the building could evolve,” she said.

Community Enterprise has now started working on the project and will be very visible in the isle of coming months, Hughson added.

“They will be surveying the Kirk speaking to folk and hosting various gatherings. We hope everybody will continue to engage with this study and also thanks the Church of Scotland for giving us access to the building,” she said.

Victoria Pearce of Community Enterprise said: “It is a wonderful building in a stunning location which could be a real asset for the local community.

“Our job is to listen to people who care about Whalsay, understand how the building could work for them and seek a viable plan for breathing new life into it.”

A consultation questionnaire is now available online here https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/WhalsayKirk while paper copies are available from the two local shops. Closing date is 28 February.

An ‘all welcome’ drop in event is being held at the Symbister Hall on Sunday 4 February from 3-6pm where community members can meet WKDC and the development team to share their thoughts and explore options for the building.

Anyone unable to take the questionnaire or join the meeting but would like to have your say are asked to contact Victoria Pearce directly by e-mail victoria@communityenterprise.co.uk or phone 07787 898880.

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