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SCT approves reduced budget

SHETLAND Charitable Trust has approved funding of just over £8 million towards a long list of local charitable bodies and voluntary groups for next financial year.

The disbursements represent a reduction of four per cent compared to the current year, and are in line with the trust’s four-year plan to reduce spending to a sustainable level by 2020.

The budget was approved at the trust’s latest meeting on Thursday, but audit and governance advisory committee Keith Massey warned that spending is still at a relatively high level despite the cuts.

The trust expects to generate an income of just over £5.2 million on its funds worth around £220 million.

Massey said the trust was going through an “extremely difficult financial period” and is continuing to fund “as if there’s no tomorrow”.

Trustee Allison Duncan added that one way of saving money could be to amalgamate three main beneficiaries Shetland Recreational Trust, Shetland Amenity Trust and Shetland Arts and have them headed by a single management team.

Trust chairman Bobby Hunter agreed that the suggestion could be explored if the three organisations are interested, with expert advice likely to be sought. However, he warned that any amalgamation could adversely affect the ability of some of the bodies to attain funding.

Hunter added that no other part of the country benefits from community-wide charitable disbursements on the scale the charitable trust is able to provide.

“Funding from Shetland Charitable Trust has enabled the creation of many of Shetland’s recreational, cultural and welfare assets, including the rural care homes, Shetland’s swimming pools and leisure centres and the Shetland Museum and Archives,” he said.

“The trust continues to support these community assets today through revenue funding to the organisations that operate them.

“It also supports many other local organisations that provide real benefits to the residents of Shetland.”

The breakdown of disbursements are as follows:-

    Shetland Amenity Trust     £1,235,102  
    Shetland Arts £664,426
    Shetland Recreational Trust               £3,193,176
    Disability Shetland £12,641
    The Swan Trust £35,825
    Shetland Churches Council Trust £27,002
    Shetland Befriending Scheme £54,418
    Citizens Advice Bureau £132,265
    Voluntary Action Shetland £144,361
    Shetland Folk Festival £9,000
    Shetland Accordion and Fiddle Festival    £6,000
    Royal Voluntary Service £46,985
    COPE Ltd £154,967
    Shetland Link Up £47,994
    Bus Services for Elderly and Disabled Persons     £46,232
    Rural Care Model £2,196,844

The trust also operates three small grant schemes. Funding for the Local Charitable Organisations scheme (£14,000), the Arts Grant Scheme (£25,000) and for Senior Citizen Clubs (£15,000) have also been approved.

 The trust’s management and administration cost will reduce from £699,000 down to £663,000, while the cost for investment management are estimated to almost double to £805,000 in 2017/18 after the trust agreed a new, more active, investment strategy back in February this year, which is expected to yield higher returns for the organisation.

Scottish Parliament election, 6 May 2021