A new studio and visitor centre, opened after a glass artist secured more than £100,000 funding, have proved a big draw on the UK’s most northerly island.
Workshops run by Glansin Glass founder, Cheryl Jamieson, at her recently opened base on Unst have been selling out since its launch.
Ms Jamieson, who founded the business in 2008, specialises in designing contemporary fused glass items, including jewellery, tableware and art pieces, drawing inspiration from the island’s landscape.
The opening of her new base at Uyeasound, which has a workshop, display, storage and office areas, as well as a teaching area and a decked outdoor space, was delayed by a year because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Since its launch in the summer, more than 300 people have taken part in classes there.
With support from Business Gateway, Ms Jamieson secured more than £100,000 for the project from Leader, a programme funded by the Scottish Government and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development. It was also supported by Shetland Islands Council.
Mr Jamieson said: “Without Business Gateway, this project would have been a non-starter and my adviser Diana was integral to the process of applying for various funding packages.
“Since launching the workshops in June, we’ve been booked solid, working six days a week and putting on additional sessions to accommodate the growing demand.
“However now that the summer season is ending, I have some more time to focus on creating my own products, and it’s fantastic to be able to do this in a bespoke space.”
Business Gateway manager, Kirsten Nicolson, added: “Almost two years after work started on Cheryl’s new studio and workshop, it’s incredible to see it open and welcoming a high number of customers.
“I’m confident this will not only benefit the long-term growth of Glansin Glass, but also support tourism to the area, bringing wider economic benefits to Unst.”
Ms Jamieson also took part in a development programme specifically tailored to meet the needs of local self-employed women, called Realise.
Launched by Business Gateway, in partnership with the Unst-based Pure Energy Centre, as part of the W-Power Project, eight women entrepreneurs were selected for the six-month pilot programme.
Through peer-to-peer support, it focused on how to effectively use digital platforms to build and grow a business and was delivered virtually through Zoom.
Glansin Glass also took part in Business Gateway’s DigitalBoost programme, which helped Ms Jamieson redesign her website to sell products online to a wider market.