Scottish LEADER Staff Group meeting hosted by Shetland Local Action Group

Volunteers from Skeld - Shetland
Scottish Rural Network

The most recent Scottish LEADER Staff Group meeting was hosted by the Shetland LEADER area on 22 and 23 May 2018.

The event was attended by LEADER staff from all over Scotland who were provided with the opportunity to visit and hear from four fantastic local projects as well as covering national and local business issues relating to their Local Action Group (LAG) area.

The majority of attendees arrived to a rather foggy Shetland on the Monday causing some travel disruption and late arrivals. However, when the meeting started on Tuesday the sun decided to show off Shetland at its most beautiful.

To kick off the agenda there was a presentation from locally funded LEADER project: Mind Your Head where everyone heard how the programme was set up, the great work being done and what the plans for the future are. This was a particularly inspiring project promoting positive mental health through a clear well-structured programme.

It was then down to the main business of the day which included exploring aspects of LEADER cooperation. Evening entertainment proved to be a real treat for everyone. It started with a bus ride to the west side of Shetland for a project visit to Skeld Public Hall, which has developed a community cafe to further develop tourism, to encourage more visitors to the area and provide an enhanced social experience for the local community. 

The group were greeted with tea and coffee before hearing about two further locally funded projects. First was from the Skeld Pier Trust who covered a history of the waterfront area and the vast amount of innovative work being carried out by the community as well as exploring their plans for the future. 

The local theme then continued as we heard from another LEADER funded project: Shetland Food and Drink. The organisation has a wide ranging remit, including promotion of Shetland produce, both locally and to external markets, as well as educating the local community, particularly children and schools.

The evening then moved on to allow the attendees an opportunity to taste some of the food products Shetland has to offer with a buffet that demonstrated the variety of food produced on the Island. The atmosphere within the hall was great and was further enhanced by Shetland music provided by local musicians to ensure a great night was had by all.

The agenda on Wednesday morning included further discussions on various LEADER business before onward travel to the airport at Sumburgh. The journey included a stop-off  at another LEADER funded project, the Mackenzie’s Farm Shop & Café, which also provides an outlet for both produce and crafts to over 50 local suppliers right across Shetland from Fair Isle to Unst.  

Thanks to Shetland LEADER staff and LAG members who made it a very enjoyable experience. I special thank you has to go to the women from Skeld and local musicians who made the evening at Skeld Public Hall particularly memorable.