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Community / Charitable trust reopens social inclusion fund

The charitable trust's headquarters on Lerwick's North Road.

SHETLAND Charitable Trust is reopening its additional grant scheme which was suspended as the UK went into lockdown.

The fund is designed to tackle inequality and social inclusion in Shetland.

The trust is inviting bids from eligible charitable organisations which had applied for funding under the expression of interest process.

Revised applications are expected for the pot of £881,000 before the new closing date of 29 May.

The trust decided to suspend the process in March partly due to social distancing measures making some of the proposed activities unviable, while some organisations faced problems in submitting their bids due to the upheaval and closure of offices.

Trust chairman Dr Andrew Cooper said: “It’s an encouraging sign that we are able to reinstate the scheme.

“However, it is regrettable that Covid-19 restrictions mean that some of the activities proposed will not be able to take place. The trust looks forward to receiving updated bids and making sure this money is spent where it’s needed this year.

“We felt there was no other realistic option than to pause the process during the early stages of the pandemic response. It’s unfortunate that some people mistakenly took it to mean that the trust was withholding its vital funding for local charitable organisations.

“That was never the case and, despite the disruption and loss of services due to Covid-19, these organisations received £3.7 million in support grants from the trust, as planned, from 1st April.”

A call for expressions of interest in the extra pot of grant aid resulted in 29 eligible proposals in January, including submissions from 11 organisations which do not already benefit from funding by the trust.