Bigton community shop gets a new manager
Bigton resident Caroline Smith had been selected as the new manager of the local shop, which passes into community control later this month.
Mrs Smith, who will now be responsible for all aspects of the day-to-day running of the store, gained experience in the business world after graduating from University College in London in 1992.
She has managed several of her own businesses and – since moving to Shetland – has worked at Sumburgh Airport for British Airways and British International.
More recently, she has been looking after her two young children and helping to run a varied croft with her husband Laurence.
Her involvement in the shop goes back to when she joined an interim management committee, created as part of initial efforts to bring the shop into community-ownership. Now, the labours are showing signs of bearing fruit with the Bigton Community Enterprise Company due to take control of the premises on 14th April.
Since last year various tasks have been undertaken to ensure the long-term development of the venture. Various documents such as volunteer agreements, job descriptions, staff handbooks and health and safety policies have all had to be compiled.
A volunteer induction night has already taken place and an evening offering food hygiene and health training is planned for those who will be working in the shop.
Applications have been made to the Co-operative for a discount card and to Dunrossness Community Council for grant funding to help with new signage. An official opening is expected in June.
Bigton Community Enterprise chairman Rick Nickerson, who has just stood down as one of the three Shetland South councillors, welcomed the news.
He said: “The committee has become well aware of Caroline’s skills over the last year through her contribution to the project. We are also very impressed with her qualifications, which became evident as part of the recruitment process.
“We are confident that she will continue to demonstrate her skills in her role as shop manager for the benefit of the whole community. The committee is delighted to have someone with her qualities in the post.”
On the community take-over Mr Nickerson said: “This is a significant milestone in the retention of the community shop. “There are many different people who have contributed to getting the project this far, without whom this goal could not have been reached.”