News relating to development opportunities ranging from training and networking events to funding opportunities.

Highlands & Islands Enterprise Worker Accommodation Report

As you may have recently seen in the Shetland media Highlands & Islands Enterprise (HIE) have just released a report investigating the demand for worker accommodation in Shetland.

The report looks into a range of possibilities for future developments in Shetland as well as emphisising the requirement of further housing development in Shetland to be able to attract further investment in to Shetland.

AB Associates who conducted much of the research for this report met with the STA earlier this year to explain the work they were undertaking. At this time they highlighted that the area of focus was mainly housing though short-term accommodation had also been surveyed and is taken into account.

From the executive summary we see that one of the key messages to be taken from the report is:

"The Big Issue is the availability and cost of private housing to rent or buy."

Unfortunately some media headlines may have not made it terribly clear that this is the main focus of the report so there is a little risk that once again the "Shetland is full" myth may arise again. Rachel Hunter of HIE appeared on Radio Shetland to further explain the findings that are identified in this report and later in the same programme Steve Mathieson of VisitScotland and Andy Steven of Promote Shetland appeared on public platform and continued to deliver the message that visitor accommodation is still available in Shetland and there is no issue of availability in Shetland on the whole. If you missed this episode of Radio Shetland you can catch up with the show here

For the tourism industry the main feature of this report is highlighting the development potential in Shetland gaining further investment. This research also supports the key message that entry & exit transport links for Shetland requires to increase in capacity and provide affordable options.

You can download and view the Executive Summary and Full report on the Highlands & Islands Enterprise website here


New round of LEADER Funding



The LEADER fund which is part of an EU initiative and forms part of the Scottish Government's Scottish Rural Development Programme is now open for applications for their 2014 - 2020 round of funding.

LEADER's objective is to provide opportunities for individuals, businesses & communities to come together to support rural development and provide long term benefits for local areas. There is particular emphisis on projects which are both innovative and and show a bottom up strategic structure.

A bottom up strategy refers to the use of collective experience and expertise which provides room for creative thinking to produce innovative approches to business and development. Using a bottom up strategy has the benefit of creating a sense of group ownership which is particularly beneficial for community enterprises.

Tourism related projects which have recieved LEADER funding before are:

South Nesting Community Hall - for the development of campervan & caravan facilities.

Bridge End Outdoor Centre - for developing greater accessability to water based activites and the development of a camping & caravaning site.

Fetlar Community Development - for the provision of a community electric bus creating opertunity for greater transport and dial-a-ride services within the island.

Belmont House - for furnishing and equipment to make Belmont House a high quality self-catering accommodation with options for venue hire and as a visitor attraction as well as development of a promotional website.

To find out more about the LEADER fund you can read a copy of their executive summery shetland-leader-2014-2020-introduction.pdf or visit their website