Weekly update, 5th January 2015

Tourism, Food & Drink:

This month marks the start of Scotland’s Year of Food & Drink. Local companies had a year of encouraging activities in 2014, with products from businesses such as Reid’s of Caithness, Caithness Biscuits, Annie’s Bakery, JPL Shellfish, Scrabster Seafoods, Caithness Chocolate, Berry Good, Dunnet Bay Distillers, Pulteney Distillery and Wolfburn Distillery all making progress in local, national and international markets. Indeed Annie’s Bakery (based at Canisbay in Caithness) was one of several Highlands & Islands businesses featured in product tastings at a joint HIE/ Sail Scotland presence at the London Boat Show this week. VisitScotland has also established a Food & Drink Growth Fund to help marketing campaigns inspired by Scotland’s food & drink offering. The first application deadline of the year will be 20th February. Details on the Fund and how to apply are at http://www.visitscotland.org/business_support/marketing_opportunities/growth_fund/year_of_food_and_drink_growth.aspx You can also find out more about the events and initiatives planned during the year at http://www.eventscotland.org/funding/year-of-food-and-drink-2015/ The programme will have monthly themes, with the first three months focussing on Traditional Foods, The Food of Love and Brewing & Distilling.

Enabling activities:

Next week sees the last of the series of workshops being run by Highland Council to allow discussion and comment on the Main Issues Report for the Caithness and Sutherland Local Development Plan. The workshop will take place in Brora Community Centre on Monday 12th January, with display boards available to view from 5.30pm and the workshop taking place from 6.30-8.30pm. More information on the Main issues Report and the Local development Plan is at www.highland.gov.uk/casplan

The multi-partner “Jobs & How To Get Them” event will return to the ETEC building at North Highland College in Thurso from 10am-2pm on Saturday 7th February. The event is again supported by Caithness Chamber of Commerce, Job Centre Plus, Skills Development Scotland, Highland Council and Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd. Next week the event steering group will meet to finalise arrangements for exhibitors and for workshops on key employability issues. The event is now in its third year, having had two successful days in Thurso and Wick in 2013 and 2014: both events attracted over 300 attendees and around 40 exhibiting companies/ organisations. Further information will be available from the event’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/caithnessjobs?ref=ts&fref=ts