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Community / Disappointment as Market House loses management of small grant scheme

The Children in Need mascot Pudsey Bear handing over more than £62,000 to charities in Shetland - Photo: BBC
Pudsey the BBC Children in Need maskot.

THE BBC’s Children in Need appeal has defended its decision to withdraw the local administration of the organisation’s small welfare grants scheme from Shetland Voluntary Action (VAS).

Since 2002 the Market House based charity has awarded over £82,000 in small grants to local families living in hardship.

VAS executive officer Catherine Hughson said the Children in Need small grant programme had benefitted many children and young people living in poverty and with a lack of basic facilities, which most people would take for granted.

Feedback from professionals and families had been very positive, she said, as small grants to parents and carers have been used to buy essentials such as clothing, footwear, bedding and educational materials for children.

VAS executive officer Catherine Hughson. Photo: Shetland News

“We are disappointed that this scheme has come to an end, over the years we have assisted many families at short notice get essential items for their children and families – a little help when families are in crisis goes a long way – the flexibility of the scheme plus the local knowledge really benefited all agencies involved to assist these vulnerable families quickly,” Hughson said.

A spokeswoman for the BBC said the Children in Need funding had not been withdrawn from Shetland but would be administered centrally.

“The Emergency Essentials programme supports families living in severe financial, health and social difficulties, and provides items that meet children’s most basic needs,” she said

“These small but vital grants are still available for children and young people living in Shetland through referrals to Family Fund,” she said.

“Whilst these small grants will no longer be administered by Voluntary Action Shetland, we will continue to work closely with them as they have just been awarded a continuation grant of £85,888 for the next three years from BBC Children in Need to provide a befriending service for young people with learning disabilities.”

More information about the Emergency Essentials programme can be found at

www.familyfund.org.uk/news/bbc-children-in-need or at www.bbc.co.uk/pudsey.