Hours reduced at disability charity to cut costs

Trustee Sandy Peterson says Disability Shetland's service won't be affected by the reduction in hours.

LOCAL charity Disability Shetland has cut the hours of its two full-time roles in an effort to survive following two failed funding bids.

Trustee Sandy Peterson said the organisation should save around £20,000 a year by reducing the hours from 35 hours to 20 hours.

He is adamant the move will not have an impact on its service, which includes running clubs and activities across the isles.


Disability Shetland failed to secure funding from Children in Need and the Lottery last year and its core grant from Shetland Islands Council has decreased by £15,000 to nearly £50,000 as the local authority cuts its own costs.

Peterson, who has regularly embarked on fundraising missions to raise much-needed cash, said cutting hours was an unfortunate consequence the charity’s finance problems.

“We’ve done a lot of fundraising and that’s kept us going, but we had to review everything to see if we could reduce anything,” he said.


The charity also receives £12,000 a year from Shetland Charitable Trust and the two local funding streams amount to about half of what is needed to keep it afloat.

Peterson, however, said funding is continually being applied for, with a number of new bids in the offing.

“Things can change really quickly. We’ve submitted a Children in Need bid this week, we have one Lottery bid in preparation and we’re planning on doing another one,” he said.

“You’re applying for funds all the time, and it really all hangs on these decisions. We were probably doing okay until we got the double rejection last summer.


“If we got what we asked for from the funders, then we’d have a future. But based purely on the amount of funds we can raise at the moment, we can’t predict the future for Disability Shetland.”

Peterson said the money raised by the Shetland public over recent years has been “astonishing”, but he acknowledged there is a limit to how many times people can dig deep.

While the clubs could essentially be run by volunteers, Peterson said the charity needs to keep being “professional” and have trained staff on board.

Despite the financial woes, Disability Shetland’s clubs are “flourishing” with continued demand across the isles.

“Compared with five years ago, we’ve had a big increase in numbers, and we’ve got clubs in Unst and Yell, the North Mainland and Lerwick,” Peterson said.

“The project I’d like to do next is in Brae and Mossbank, and we’ll make a Lottery bid for that.”