Please help to maintain life on Fetlar Island
Fetlar Island is the fourth largest of the Shetland Islands. Steeped in ancient history, it is one of the first land falls that the ancient Vikings encountered and populated.
Known as the "Garden of Shetland" due to it's fertile soil but Fetlar has suffered times of upheaval over the years, In 1805 the population was over 860, Then the Laird, Sir Arthur Nicolson, removed whole townships to make way for sheep grazing.
In the early 1900's, peat became a source of income for the Islanders, but that industry too started to fade and many Fetlar residents moved to the America's and Canada and Australia.
Life on Fetlar has never been easy and today the population stands at around 70. http://www.fetlar.org/
The Islands Community Development (which was formed by the residents) are working hard to encourage and nurture a repopulation of the Island, an Island which relies mainly on Crofting and Tourism for a living.
However, they suffered a blow to their aspiration 12 months ago when the one and only shop on the island decided to reduce their hours of opening and the owner of the shop left the island to live on the mainland and put the shop up for sale.
Since that time, the shop has fallen into a state of disrepair and has been run on a very part time basis by a skeleton staff who keep the Post Office part of the property open for a few hours a week, the shop itself is now permanently closed..
All shopping by the Fetlar population must come from another island which involves a ferry ride to a small shop on a nearby Island or a journey of over 4 hours by ferry to major supermarket on the Shetland mainland.
As you can imagine, convincing young families to live on Fetlar has just got a whole lot more difficult with no local shop on the Island.
The local primary school Fetlar Primary | has less than 6 children and any further reduction could put the existence of the school in jeopardy. Sadly such a wonderful education in an idyllic setting could be lost forever for the want of a local shop.
"Idyllic Setting" ? yes, it certainly is, from the beauty of the landscape
to it's remarkable Viking history
to amazing wildlife
Yet this is all so fragile, so dependent on the continuation and survival of the community.
I need your help, Fetlar needs your help and generosity.
I have tried to get a mortage for the property at the heart of this campaign "The Fetlar Shop", alas, the property is not seen as worth the asking price.
I have tried to get a Business Loan, alas, despite the claims of the seller, there are no recent Certified Accounts to base a business loan on. The accounts that do exist are from some 3 years ago and are not certified.
The property has fallen into disrepair and local estimates are between £30,00 to £50,000 to bring it back to standard. It seems like a mountain to climb but myself and my family are determined to succeed in this venture, determined to do our part to help maintain the island and to help ensure it's future.
So we are trying to raise £145,000 to purchase the property outright. For our part, we will pay for the balance of the purchase cost and the whole of the repairs and improvements necessary, we will run the shop and grow the business and have the best interests of the community at heart.
Any profits made will be re invested into the many adandoned and derelict properties on the Island. We will bring them back to a habitable condition and then rent them out to recover the costs of doing so. Once those costs are recovered, we will give the property, free of charge, to the Island Development Council to allocate as they see fit and the cash raised from rental will be re invested into another derelict property and so on and so on.
This will continue for as long as we live and we wil make it a condition of inheritance upon our children. Should our children not wish to remain then the shop will be donated to the Development Council
If you who are reading this have been to Fetlar you will no doubt understand the attraction of Fetlar, for those who have not been then please take the time to do some research on Fetlar, there are few places left on earth with a lifestyle, freedom and beauty so worthy of protection.
If you are unable to help then thankyou for taking the time to read this appeal and I am content that at least you are now aware of the Island of Fetlar.
The highest contributor will have the Fetlar Shop Cafe named after them
The 2nd, 3rd and 4th highest contributors will each have a Bed and Breakfast room named after them
All contributors will have their names prominently painted (unless requested not to do so) on a wall of honour within the shop
All contributors will receive a Fetlar Pen.
Every contributor will receive a 5% discount from any B&B accommodation we have on Fetlar
Please help us to make this possible and we look forward to serving you on the beautiful island of FETLAR.