SHETLAND Charitable Trust is set to ride out the economic uncertainty surrounding coronavirus before considering further grant applications.
The Trust’s chairman Dr Andrew Cooper said that with the trust’s funds being hit by the global economic downturn, plus the extra burdens being placed on staff who were now working from home, there would be an as yet indeterminate period when new applications would not be processed.
The trust earlier announced its suspension of an £881,000 grant aid scheme intended to tackle “inequality and social exclusion” that had received 29 eligible bids.
It would have brought the trust’s charitable support to £10 million in 2020/21 as part of a five-year programme effectively loosening the purse strings that was announced in September.
It is to pay out half of its annual core funding grants to organisations like Shetland Recreational Trust, Shetland Amenity Trust, the Shetland Arts Development Agency and a “host” of voluntary sector organisations on 1 April.
Its investment fund has meanwhile fallen in value from £330 million a few months ago to around £285 million, owing to the market turmoil.
Cooper said that there was a misconception that the trust could just hand out money from that admittedly big fund. Instead, he emphasised, that money has to be maintained to allow the surpluses that are spent on the trust’s core charitable beneficiaries.
Cooper added: “The problem is that the income from that is the source of money that we disburse. It is £8 million, which we hope will rise to over £9 million.
“If we spend that money [the investment fund] we will not have money to generate for future payments.”
But it was impossible to say when the planned new grant programme would be back on track, he added, or other applications considered.
Like the SCT’s own staff, many of the organisations that the trust backs are running on a skeleton staff, home working if possible, and have cut the services they provide to the public and are no longer generating income.
Cooper earlier said that that trust had been “fortunate” in that its funds had benefitted from strong growth earlier in the year before plummeting as a result of the pandemic.
You can read all of today’s coronavirus news on our live feed below:
Become a supporter of Shetland News
Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.
Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.
Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has over 400 supporters who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.
Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -
- Bring you the headlines as they happen;
- Stay editorially independent;
- Give a voice to the community;
- Grow site traffic further;
- Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.
If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.
Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.Support Shetland News