North Mainland Notes 23.10.09

Extension of ballot

As renovations continue at the community-owned shop in Hillswick and the business moves nearer to opening day, it is now time to finalise the board of directors.

Local people are voting to decide the final line-up of the board and the deadline for the return of postal ballot papers has been extended until Monday. Staff recruitment for a manager and part-time staff is also under way.

Since the Northmavine Community Development Company (NCDC) bought the Hillswick shop in July in a community-led buy-out, folk in the district have been busy renovating the place, guided by a local steering group. The exterior of the property has undergone a radical makeover with a new retaining wall, paving and a drainage system in place. Exterior painting is now almost complete, as well as repairs to a somewhat leaky roof.

Inside a radical transformation is taking place with much of the ceiling and walls now insulated and new plasterboard installed in many areas. New lighting will be added soon to help guide customers to a planned range of stock and new flooring will also be laid. An adapted shop layout will be complete with the addition of new shelving and an electronic point of sale till system will provide the finishing touch to the new plans for the shop.

As the work progresses and opening day looms nearer, the steering group needs to adapt to become the new board of directors who will be responsible for the overall management of the shop. Hillswick Shop Ltd will be a wholly owned trading subsidiary of the NCDC, and, in addition to two board members from the NCDC, the board of the shop will be completed with seven members of the local community, taken from the original steering group.

Ten members of the steering group have put themselves up for a community postal election to decide the final composition of the board. Each household in the district has been included in the vote, which ends on Monday. Ballot papers should be returned to the NCDC office by then.

Cautious business plan figures have indicated that the business can support a full-time manager in addition to two part-time staff initially. The recruitment process is now under way and anyone interested in any of the posts is encouraged to contact the NCDC office on (01806) 544222 or e-mail for a job pack and an application form.

If the support the NCDC has already received from the community for this project is any indication of how well folk will support the shop when it is up and running, Hillswick Shop Ltd should have a rosy future.

Craft aboot da night

There is a new opportunity in the North Mainland for anyone with an interest in all things crafty. From Wednesday night there will be a fortnightly chance to Craft Aboot Da Night in the Muckle Roe hall from 7pm to 9pm.

Hall committee member Diane Wood said: “Everybody is welcome and the craft nights are open to people from all areas of Shetland. Folk can take along any type of craft they are currently working on, so we’d encourage anyone to come along, have a night among like-minded folk, and be creative.”

The sessions cost £2 per night which includes the mandatory tea and biscuits.

Befrienders needed

Shetland Befriending Scheme is still looking for volunteers from the North Mainland for training sessions they will be delivering in the area from November.

Training will take place in Brae over four weekends, potential volunteers must be over 18 and travel expenses will be offered to everyone taking part.

After the period of initial training, volunteers would then commit for a period of six months to offer fortnightly contact to a child or young person who would benefit from engaging in a variety of activities with their befriender.

Everyone taking part in the scheme will be assessed to work with vulnerable young people on a one-to-one basis.

Organiser Roberto Getto said: “The increasing demand for volunteer befrienders to support children and young people in the North Mainland has made us look into new alternative ways to satisfy this need. We hope that by taking our traditionally Lerwick based training to the north, more volunteers will be able to attend.

“The training will also be able to help highlight and develop transferable skills for those interested in working in the education or care sector.”

Training sessions include the role of the befriender, boundaries and confidentiality, working with challenging behaviour and personal safety, child development, child protection, autism awareness, anti-discriminatory practice and endings of a befriending relationship.

Anyone interested in the training sessions can contact Roberto on (01595) 743946, by email at for more information check out the website at

Splinters almost sold out

Tickets for this year’s pantomime performance by North Mainland drama group Splinters have almost disappeared.

The first performance of The True Sound of Music on Friday 13th November has not proved unlucky for the group, as tickets have already sold out.

The remaining tickets (adults £4/concessions £3) for the matinee performance on Saturday 14th November will be on sale in the Brae hall this Sunday from 2.30pm to 5pm. For more information call Di Newbold on (01595) 820283.

Toy sale continues

The North Mainland Recycling Centre at the former Nelson Smith print shop in Brae would like to remind folk that the October half-price toy sale continues.

Volunteers at the centre hope that folk will take the opportunity to pop along and pick up a real bargain. The shop is open on Monday from 6.30pm to 8pm, Tuesday from 10am to noon and 2pm to 4pm and Saturday from 2pm to 4pm.

Committee members would like to add a final reminder that the closing date for grant applications is 31st October. Any organisation which would like to apply for a grant should contact one of the following: Akie Keith –; Lynda Jozwik –; or Sandra Bigland – 01806 522353.

Pit your wits at Hillswick

There is a great chance to exercise the old grey matter at Hillswick next week.

On Thursday night there is an opportunity to learn the skilled art of the game of 500. Hillswick hall committee members have been approached by a number of folk who would like to attend the winter 500 nights, but felt their skills weren’t sharp enough to play with the masters so the committee have organised a couple of starter sessions at 7.30pm in the hall.

On Friday night the monthly quiz night takes place. Each team should contain a maximum of four folk and the questions begin at 7.30pm.

Maree Hay


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