CAB - 7 Oct 2020 - 10 Oct 2020 - Advice

Amenity trust elects new chairwoman

RUTH Mackenzie has been appointed Shetland Amenity Trust’s new chairwoman for the next year as the organisation continues its attempts to tackle its vast financial deficit.

She said her appointment comes during “challenging times” for the trust, which is in the midst of restructuring as it tries to reduce its deficit by at least £200,000 this financial year or face losing vital funding.

The appointment was made at the organisation’s AGM in Lerwick on Wednesday afternoon, with acting chairman Captain George Sutherland stepping down from his role.

Sutherland held the position since previous boss Brian Gregson resigned for health reasons in September.

Mackenzie, who worked in teaching, will be flanked by not one but two vice-chairmen – Sutherland and Alastair Hamilton – in an effort the share the workload over the coming months.

There were no other nominations for chair – which goes up for election at every trust AGM – at a meeting which was few in numbers, with Frank Robertson and Andrew Blackadder the only other trustees in attendance.

Mackenzie accepted the role with “some fear and trepidation” as she looks ahead to steering the amenity trust through a cost-cutting review of staff which is could lead to up to 12 possible redundancies and is expected to run through to at least November.

Stepping down from his acting chairman role, Sutherland said he wanted to give his “heartfelt thanks” to trustees and in particular to acting vice chairman Hamilton for his “prodigious work rate” and “invaluable guidance”.

He also acknowledged the help of acting general manager Andy Steven, who has presided over the trust since the death of the long-standing Jimmy Moncrieff earlier this year, before suggesting that the trust appoint two vice chairs to ensure a smooth transition going forward.

Robertson thanked Sutherland for his work over the last few months and said he handled it as a “shipmaster would”.

It was also confirmed at the meeting that Pauline Megson and Linda Riddell have been appointed as new trustees, subject to an interview.

However, the organisation did not receive enough applications following its recent recruitment drive, leaving it two trustees short of its full complement of 11 despite the new additions.

This was then increased to three after trustee Eddie Knight stepped down with immediate effect.

This means that the current board of trustees consists of Mackenzie, Sutherland, Hamilton, Blackadder, Robertson, Megson, Riddell and Brian Wishart.

The meeting after the AGM received updates on activity related to the museum, biological records and environment before going in private for much of the afternoon.