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Lerwick footpath project the big winner

The work at Da Sletts will see paths improved and interpretation boards installed - Photo: SIC

SIX community projects have been given a share of £100,000 of funding following a public vote.

Nearly £68,000 will be put towards improving the footpath at Da Sletts in Lerwick, while a ‘zero cost’ coach and volunteer development scheme has bagged £15,000.

Over 1,000 people voted in the first Shetland Community Choices participatory budgeting scheme, which saw Shetland Islands Council and the Scottish Government stump up £50,000 each.

Other successful schemes included the Shetland Autism Awareness Raising Project (£6,750), Fair Food (£6,000), Workshops for Young People (£4,000) and Brae High School’s Learning for Sustainability project (£750).

SIC finance manager Jonathan Belford said the council would continue to engage the public in the rollout of the projects.

The footpath improvements had an estimated value of £87,500, but funding from within the SIC’s infrastructure directorate will be put towards it, allowing two other projects to receive funding.

“Shetland Community Choices has been successful in engaging the public in making decisions about how council funding is used to meet community priorities,” Belford said.

“The number of participants has exceeded our expectations and demonstrates a keen interest from the community in this new way of working.

“We hope that at least one of your favourite projects has been awarded funding, and we will continue to involve the community in delivering the projects that have been successful.”

The work at Da Sletts will see paths improved and interpretation boards installed to tell more about the area’s history, while trees will also be planted at Clickimin.

The zero cost coach project will enable a “broad range” of coaching courses and workshops to be held in the isles with 100 to 150 people in the aim of recruiting new volunteers.

The autism awareness project will allow those with an autism spectrum disorder to collaborate on a creative project to raise aware of the condition. It will be used in Shetland’s autism spectrum disorder strategy, which will run through to 2021.

Fair Food will explore “sustainable solutions” for people unable to afford to eat sufficient and nutritious food, such as a sharing scheme, community fridges, food plans and allotments.

Workshops for Young People is a multi-agency project which will design workshops across a breadth of topics such as antisocial behaviour, finance skills and bullying.

If they are a success then they may be used across the isles by schools, youth groups and carers.

The Learning for Sustainability project meanwhile will see Brae High School build a polycrub and create an outdoor learning area. It also hopes to teach pupils about sustainably produced food, as well as garden and food waste.