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Trust transparency

Shetland Charitable Trust vice chairman Jonathan Wills wants the trust to extend its reach beyond Lerwick.

SHETLAND Charitable Trust should invite the public to ask questions at meetings across the isles in an effort to engage more directly with the community, according to vice chairman Jonathan Wills.

The Lerwick South councillor told the trust on Thursday the charity’s reach needed to extend beyond the capital.

Wills said the trust could get tips on how to engage more effectively with the community from small US towns, where councils invite people to ask questions at the end of their meetings.

His suggestion came one day after Shetland Islands Council voted to withdraw council representation on the trust for the first time in its 40 year history.

“We should hold meetings in village halls,” Wills said, where more “serious-minded” citizens would be likely to offer constructive feedback.

While the public can attend Shetland Charitable Trust’s meetings at Islesburgh Community Centre in Lerwick, they rarely do.

Audit and governance committee chairman Keith Massey confirmed that the trust is actively looking at “how we meet, how often we meet, where we meet and the structure of meetings”.

He added that a formal proposal on how the make-up of the trust’s meetings should be changed will be finalised soon.

Campaign group Democracy for Shetland’s Charitable Trust has in the last number of weeks rallied against the £230 million trust for appointing unelected trustees and for lacking “transparency and accountability”.

In May the trust voted to reduce the number of council trustees from seven to four.