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Community / Heritage and biodiversity key issues as amenity trust launches new strategic plan

Shetland Amenity Trust's main office at Garthspool in Lerwick.

SHETLAND Amenity Trust has launched its new strategic plan for the next five years.

Among the key topics in the plan are increasing efforts to protect Shetland’s biodiversity and boosting the “resilience to economic, social and environmental impacts” on local heritage.

The ‘Caring for Shetland’s Heritage’ plan is the result of six months of work which included public drop-in sessions and “extensive” discussions with staff, trustees and partners.

Amenity trust chair Ruth Mackenzie said: “Shetland has outstanding natural and cultural heritage, but it is facing some huge challenges.

“Not least of these are the impacts of a changing climate and reducing funding.

“As a trust, we need to ensure that people can engage with our heritage and work with us to care for it. Vitally, we also need to ensure that the Trust itself is fit for purpose and sustainable in the longer term.”

There are five priorities in the plan: innovate for heritage, step up on biodiversity, inspire wellbeing, build communities and foster partnership.

They all follow on from the amenity trust’s mission – “to safeguard, enhance, and promote Shetland’s heritage, ensuring it is accessible to be enjoyed by all”.

Among the plan’s aims is to positively influence policy and decision-making which affects Shetland’s biodiversity, while there is also a focus on developing, promoting and delivering new initiatives to support mental and physical wellbeing.

Vice-chair Alastair Hamilton said: “Trustees and staff have worked hard to produce this plan.  But it doesn’t exist in isolation: it’s closely linked with wider efforts to make Shetland an even more attractive place in which to live, work, or study, and of course to visit.

“Our heritage not only inspires pride and confidence, it also stimulates the many kinds of creativity that underpin our economy. We’re fortunate to be part of a community that’s so engaged in, and enthusiastic about, that heritage.”

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Hamilton said it is “well known” that the trust and its staff have had a challenging few years as the charity sought to reduce its expenditure.

“We’ve had to face up to many organisational issues and we do have a long way to go,” he added.

“However, we’re making progress thanks to our dedicated, skilled staff, committed trustees and the support of partners and the community. I’m sure this new plan will provide an excellent foundation for the next five years.”

Read the trust’s strategic plan here.

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