Visitors to the area of South Nesting in Shetland will now be able to access facilities thanks to a grant from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) to develop tourist amenities at the community hall.
The public hall at South Nesting, north of Lerwick is well used by local people and new tourist facilities including a caravan park in the adjacent field is planned.
HIE has been working with the social enterprise in recent months and has now awarded £50,000 to the project. Along with additional funding from LEADER, Shetland Islands Council and a significant contribution from the South Nesting Public Hall (SNPH) itself, this will allow caravan hook-up points to be provided, as well as a toilet and shower room for visitors.
The new eight berth South Nesting site, will complement Shetland’s network of 12 caravan and camping sites which together offer visitors the opportunity to explore all parts of the island.
The project contractors, Robertson and Read have started working on site and plan to complete the works by October which will allow plenty time to plan ahead for the first open season in 2014.
The new facilities will enable SNPH to substantially increase its turnover which will be reinvested into the public hall to create additional facilities for local people and visitors. Volunteers will be recruited to work at the site and there may be an opportunity for a part-time seasonal post in the future.
The surrounding area is attractive to visitors, offering walks, cycling, fishing and scenic views from the proposed pitches.
A wide range of activities take place at the hall, involving all age groups within the community of South Nesting, including a regular youth club, local Up Helly Ah, dance classes and badminton club. In a dispersed rural area it acts as a hub for community members to come together.
HIE’s Fiona Stirling, said: “The committee is enterprising and well organised and want to ensure it has a sustainable future for their already well used and versatile community facility. This will create an additional income from outside the local community which in turn will be reinvested in improving the hall for wider community benefit.”
Chairman of South Nesting Public Hall, Ian Smith said: “We are delighted that HIE is funding these developments and we look forward to offering caravaners and campers a unique experience of our community by encouraging them to join in with our events such as Sunday teas, fish and chips nights and any other local functions. It will be good to have another income generating aspect to our social enterprise but it’s also great to be able to provide visitors with facilities and the option of using the hall for events including indoor sports during wet weather.”
The developments are being assisted by architects Redman + Sutherland as well as quantity surveyor Jim Nisbet.