Lerwick-based social enterprise Cope Ltd is taking over award-winning local food and drink company Shetlandeli.
Cope has received a grant of more than £122,000 from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) that helped fund the takeover. It will also allow the not-for-profit organisation to create a marketing manager’s post, fund a website and develop its services to attract customers internationally.
Shetlandeli was set up by Jill Franklin two years ago and makes a range of chutneys and preserves. Ms Franklin employed a small team to create the pickles – working out of the Skeld Hall kitchens. Its piccalilli, Muckle Flugga, won silver in Best Product award at the Speciality Fine Food Show, and ale chutney Valhalla won a Great Taste Award, both in 2015.
It is now part of Cope’s commercial operation that was already made up of five enterprises which employ 50 people.
The marketing manager will be tasked with developing the website with a view to accessing to international markets for the Shetland Soap Company and the Shetland Kitchen Company.
The organisation offers work and support for adults with disabilities and helps them learn new skills with a total of 100 skill development sessions every week for 24 people. The new funding has come from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).
Cope chief executive Ingrid Webb said: “People with learning disabilities are valuable to our communities and societies and this funding will assist us to build on what has already been
“We are very proud to work alongside agencies such as HIE which supports us to produce amazing products by amazing people.”
Head of business at HIE, Katrina Wiseman, said: “Social enterprises make a huge contribution to tackling some of the social and environmental challenges facing communities. Each Cope enterprise provides a range of volunteer skill development placements and supported employee positions.”
All profits and surpluses from goods sold by Cope are reinvested back in the company.