SNP - Tom Wills

Amenity trust confident about handling cuts

Shetland Amenity Trust general manager Jimmy Moncrieff.

SHETLAND Amenity Trust expects no redundancies will be needed to meet the 17.5 per cent savings target set by its main funder over the next four years.

After meeting on Wednesday for the first time since Shetland Charitable Trust (SCT) announced the cuts, trust general manager Jimmy Moncrieff said he was confident the organisation would be able to deliver what it does today in five years time.

“It’s not an alarm or panic situation, it’s something we would prefer didn’t happen, but life is life and we are having to tighten our belts,” he said.

Earlier this month the SCT announced the amenity trust’s grant would reduce from £1.05 million to £866,000 by 2020.

While this would be a challenge, Moncrieff said he was pleased the organisation had been given “certainty” over its funding for the foreseeable future.

“That’s something we’ve never had before,” he said.

“Always previous cuts have landed on us with no notice, so we welcome the fact that we have been given notice.

“It’s not going to be easy but we are already starting to look at and will continue to look at all the budgets to try and rationalise and economise where we can.

“Equally we will be seeking to continue to expand income generation and look at sources of grant funding and our actual income from business activities to try and meet the shortfall.

“We have not got any specifics at the moment, but we are fairly confident that we still be here in five years time providing the services that we are at the moment.

“I would like to think there will be no redundancies, we have not had to do that yet.

“It’s not the first time we have been in this position and at some time we hope that things will change again.”

Moncrieff described the organisation as “tremendously resilient with brilliant staff” who would make it their business to find alternative sources of income.

He said the new Sumburgh Head visitor attraction was designed to operate without an ongoing subsidy and had met its business plan targets in its first year.

Meanwhile the Viking Unst project, which has stalled in recent years due to a lack of funding, was about to be reactivated as part of the transnational Follow The Vikings programme that had been granted £1.4 million from Europe.

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