North Mainland Notes 13.02.09

Hillswick shop closure

Sadly the Hillswick shop has closed its doors, leaving Northmavine with just one shop at Ollaberry.

Rural shops play a very important part in a community, not only as a retail outlet but in providing a social focus. Towards the end of last year there was a suggestion that the community should buy the shop and associated buildings and run it as a community enterprise.

Since that time the NCDC has made initial enquiries into possible funding for the project and has carried out a survey in Hillswick and Eshaness to find out if the community as a whole would be behind such a buy-out.

The survey received a tremendous response rate of 54 per cent, with 82 per cent of replies stating that they would support the purchase. The survey also indicated that there were people in the area who were willing to get involved in the project either by working in the shop or joining a management committee.

Since the survey results were gathered the NCDC has prepared a business plan and has engaged in discussions with possible funders of the project. At present a feasibility study, to assess the viability of a community venture, is being carried out and an open evening will be held in Hillswick to discuss the options with folk when the study is complete and the information has been gathered.

Community-led shops are becoming increasingly common-place throughout Britain and can provide a real solution to the dwindling number of private enterprises in rural areas.

In Shetland, Ollaberry and Eid both successfully run businesses that are owned, managed and run by the community and it is hoped this success can be emulated at Hillswick.

Shopper service

Northmavine Community Council discussed the recent closure of the shop at Hillswick on Monday evening, among other things on the agenda.

At present a dial-a-ride service is provided to enable people in Eshaness, Heylor, Urafirth and Hillswick to get to the shop.

Members suggested that, due to the closure, the clerk should contact ZetTrans to ask if the current service could be redirected to Ollaberry shop until such time as the shop is open for business again.

It is hoped that a dial-a-ride service could be in place soon as many people in the area depend on local public transport to get to the shop.

Golden Kitchen

The staff of the Golden Kitchen will be at the Hillswick Hall tonight, serving up a Chinese feast to eat in or take away.

Food will be available from 4pm to 9pm and the bar will be open. Take-away orders can be phoned in on (01806) 503265 Hillswick Hall tickets Tickets for next Friday’s Northmavine Up-Helly-A’ for the Hillswick Hall will be on sale at the hall during the Chinese night tonight.

Tickets must be collected and paid for tonight and cannot be pre-booked or left at the door on Up-Helly-A’ night unpaid. Tickets for all halls are also on sale at the Brae Garage and the Ollaberry shop.

Pre-festival soirée

Folk in the North Mainland will get a chance to get in mood for Up-Helly-A’ early this year.

Hillswick Hall will be open on Thursday night from 8pm for a pre-Northmavine Up-Helly-A’ soirée. Bar facilities will be available and food, fun and frolics will be served from 9.30pm.

Cards at Hillswick

Hillswick seems to be the place to be this week, with lots of events in the hall to keep the committee and the community busy.

On Wednesday night the monthly 500 drive will be held at 7.30pm for all the card sharks of the district.

Food of love

In case you’ve forgotten, here’s a reminder that tomorrow is St Valentine’s Day.

For anyone who hasn’t the time – or the inclination – to dash off to Lerwick, there is a whole range of gift possibilities available in the North Mainland.

The shops at Nesting, Voe, Vidlin, Brae, Mossbank and Ollaberry have a great range of cards, wine and chocolates or you could always treat your loved one to a meal at the Pierhead, Northern Lights, Mid Brae Inn, Busta House or St Magnus Bay Hotel.

For the more romantic, you could finish your meal with an overnight stay at Busta – I did check if the four poster was available at St Magnus Bay, but all the rooms are already booked up.

Finally, Isobel at the Brae Building Centre is bound to have a selection of flowers and red roses to complete your romantic gift selection and for those of you with more “practical” relationships, there’s also a fantastic range of ironing board covers, clothes airers or even cordless drills.

So, there you go: no excuse to say you forgot or couldn’t come up with ideas of what to buy or do for Valentine’s Day. My husband will still have an excuse though – he doesn’t read this column!

Maree Hay


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