North Mainland Notes

Hillswick PO returns to shop

From early next month, the post office service at Hillswick, currently operating at the local hall, will move to the community-owned shop in the district.

Following community consultation, Post Office Ltd recently announced the service will relocate, and will be based in the Hillswick shop from Thursday 4th March.

Vice-chairman of Hillswick Shop management committee Peter Sinclair said that although he was delighted to hear that the post office service would be back in the shop, he was concerned that the views of the community had not been fully considered during the consultation. Locally, many people have expressed anger that the current hours of service are inadequate and do not fit with transport services. This means that many people in the area do not have direct access to their local post office. In the past, a full-time service operated at Hillswick but following at review by Post Office Ltd, the hours of operation were reduced to five per week.

“While the relocation will help bring the shop and post office services together under one roof, it will not increase or extend the service that local people and businesses need,” Mr Sinclair said.

Post Office Ltd say they have responded to concerns expressed by the community and have adjusted the current opening hours. The service will still operate on Monday and Thursday, although the Monday session, previously open from 3-5.30pm, will operate from 10am-12.30pm. The Thursday session will remain from 3-5.30pm.

Kenny Lamont, field change advisor for Post Office Ltd, said: “Our priority is to safeguard Post Office services to the local community in the longer term. The decision to relocate the branch to new premises is designed to secure continued access for our customers to Post Office services well into the future.

“The facilities and service that we provide to our customers is of paramount importance and we are confident that our customers will benefit, in the longer term, by this change.”

Vidlin hall joins the ‘net

Although folk in Vidlin are preparing to celebrate the centenary year of their local hall, they cannot be accused of not moving with the times. Services and facilities at the hall have taken a huge leap over the years, and recently the committee joined the electronic super highway with the addition of a dedicated website.

Over the past few decades the hall has been remodelled and extended to give folk a variety of user options. The most recent refurbishment took place in 2001. In addition to the main hall, which can hold over 220 folk, a cosy lounge has been added. The lounge is the perfect venue for smaller meetings and social gatherings, with capacity for 80 people. The committee has never been afraid to embrace technology and a home cinema system is installed in both the main hall and the lounge. The large screens in both areas are particularly useful for presentations, slide shows, photo reviews and games consoles such as the Nintendo Wii.

The new hall website at provides an invaluable source of information for both local users and potential hirers. The homepage provides an insight to current events at the hall and an events calendar gives up to date information on social events. Of particular use to prospective hall users is a description of the facilities available as well as details of hire charges and booking contacts. Photos bring the website to life and help build a picture of community life in the hall. Well done to everyone involved in constructing the website and here’s to the next 100 years at Vidlin hall.

Missing monitors

If you are a patient at the Hillswick Surgery who has benefited from the use of a blood pressure monitor at home, staff at the surgery urge you to cast your mind back as to whether you returned your monitor after using it. It seems that although a number of the machines were given to patients for home use, the same number has not been returned. Issues such as this can affect the future of such an invaluable service, so please check the dark recesses of your cupboards and return any rogue monitors to reception at Hillswick Health Centre.

Idun, doing well

Idun, who I am reliably informed is the Norse goddess of all things young, is also the company name chosen by eight sixth year students at Brae High school who are taking part in this year’s Young Enterprise Scotland (YES).

YES is a unique scheme to encourage and develop enterprise skills in students. Each group of students must form a company, decide on a product, prepare a business plan, open a bank account, raise working capital and start production. The company usually trades for about eight months and then goes into voluntary liquidation. The directors balance their books, write a company report and, hopefully, pay a dividend to any shareholders.

The way in which the students develop their communication and problem-solving skills is as important as any profit the company may generate. Idun has successfully negotiated a number of issues within the company over the past few months, including the loss of board members and a complete change of direction with their eventual product.

Initially, the young company directors planned to market a series of USB memory sticks, but a number of issues and obstacles led the group to scrap their business plans and get back to the drawing board.

After a reconfiguration of the board of directors and new product ideas, local market research helped the young entrepreneurs come up with a series of hand-drawn designs that have now been transposed onto mugs and coasters with the help of a local craft producer.

Idun members are proud to work along local businesses as this helps keep generated funds within the local economy. The products centralise around a Shetland theme. The initial mugs and coasters featured puffins and sold really well at parents’ evenings and through local networks. Idun members were able to produce a small number initially, mainly for display purposes. The company then took pre-orders for further sales. This helped keep the business cash flow under control and meant that start-up costs for the company were also kept low.

Idun has now produced an Up-Helly-A’ themed mug and the latest designs feature hand-drawn otters. Board members are now actively pursuing wider markets within Shetland and a number of local retailers have shown interest in stocking the mugs and coasters. Items can be sold separately and the company also offers an attractive packaged option. Mugs cost £6 each and coasters retail at £3.

Joint managing director Claire Nesfield has really enjoyed the process of setting up Idun with her sixth-year colleagues. “It’s been good fun – even with the product changes, board members changes and the amount of school work we all have.”

Claire added: “We’ve worked really well together as a unit and have just got on with things as a team. As a group we’re quite proud of ourselves.” And so they should be.

Up-Helly-A’ mugs will be on sale in the Hillswick shop next Friday to coincide with the Northmavine festival. All the designs can be accessed on Idun’s Facebook page – just look for Idun Enterprise. Orders can be placed through the Facebook page or by contacting any board member. Look out for products in local shops soon and best of luck to Idun in the Shetland round of Young Enterprise Scotland, when they will compete with three young enterprise companies from the Anderson High School.

Northmavine UHA hots up

There was brisk trade in Northmavine last Sunday as tickets went on sale in the local halls for Northmavine Up-Helly-A’ next Friday. Tickets for both Hillswick and North Roe and Lochend halls sold out in record time and a few tickets remain for Sullom hall. The UpHelly-A’ committee would like to remind all those attending that anyone under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Remaining tickets for Sullom can be purchasing by contacting Neil on (01806) 522443.

Due to the refurbishment programme at Ollaberry hall this year, the hop will take place in the Hillswick hall on Saturday from 8.30pm-12.30am. Anyone under the age of 16 will not be admitted and photographic ID will be required.

Hillswick hall is a popular venue this year; the guizers’ return will also take place there on Saturday 27th February from 8.30pm-12.30am. Nortaboot favourites May and Mackie will provide music for both the hop and the guizers’ return. All Up-Helly-A’ events in Northmavine have bar facilities, so folk are reminded that carry-ins will not be permitted.

Voe Pier Trust says thanks

The tireless voluntary effort of Voe man Peter Johnson, who spent more than a decade helping to ensure a vision became a reality, was recognised by the local community at a recent social event in the Voe hall.

Peter formed an integral part of the Voe Pier Trust, the body set up by the community to refurbish the pier at Voe and create a marina to encourage both business and pleasure craft to use Voe as a marine base.

His expertise as an architect with local firm PJP Partnership was invaluable in dealing with the various agencies and contractors involved in the development and construction of the Voe pier and marina project.

Peter has now stood down from the Voe Pier Trust after more than 10 years at the helm and in a bid to say thank you for the invaluable work Peter carried out over the years, John Taylor presented him with an engraved clock at a gathering in the hall. A spokesman for the Voe Pier Trust said: “We, as a community, are extremely grateful to Peter for all his hard work since the trust was formed and we wish to record our thanks to him for all he has done over many years.”

Maree Hay


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