Orkney visitor centre to create jobs

Orkney visitor centre to create jobs

A new visitor centre on the Orkney Islands is set to increase the islands’ tourism offering and create seven new jobs.

The new Sheila Fleet Jewellery visitor attraction in the east mainland area will include the redevelopment of a disused church next to the company’s existing workshop.

The firm secured a £166,000 investment from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) to help bring the project to life.

A new casting workshop will also be built and improvements will be made to the firm's existing workshop. As a result, the business will be more efficient, more productive and employ more people.

The funding will ensure that the developments can be carried out simultaneously, ensuring the production area is ready to meet the increased demand the visitor centre will bring.

Ruth Kirkpatrick, HIE’s head of business growth in Orkney, said: “This is great news for Sheila Fleet Jewellery and for Orkney.

“It will add to Orkney’s tourism offering, create an excellent visitor attraction for the east mainland and attract more visitors to this part of Orkney.

“And, of course, it will also provide valuable job opportunities as well as spin-off benefits for other businesses in the east mainland and linked south isles.”

Sheila Fleet added: “We are very much looking forward to this exciting development. Once complete in the next 12-18 months, it will mark 50 years of my career in jewellery design.

“My inspiration comes from where I live and from nature’s infinite spectrum of shapes and colours. It’s very exciting to develop such a unique exhibition space in the place and landscape which has inspired so many of my designs.

“The church will display my contemporary and traditional collections as well as our classic favourites and very latest pieces. We’ll also tell the story of the part the church has played in the local community.

“I could not have got to this point without the great support of my family, my dedicated team of talented staff and our loyal customers.”