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Community / Ability Shetland ‘delighted’ as charity secures £100,000 in funding

Ability Shetland team leader Stephanie Bain. Photo: Hans J Marter/Shetland NewsAbility Shetland team leader Stephanie Bain. Photo: Hans J Marter/Shetland News

ABILITY Shetland has secured a grant of £100,000 from the National Lottery Community Fund which will help to provide security for the charity for the next two years.

The money will be put towards the charity’s group work, its clubs and one-to-one support which it provides to children, young people and adults with disabilities – and their families – across Shetland.

Team leader Stephanie Bain said the charity is “delighted” to secure the funding, which will cover two years.

She added that she was a bit surprised to receive the funding as it is “such a competitive, over-subscribed process and we have previously been funded by them”.

“They fed back that they could see how important our charity is to the Shetland community so wanted to support us to continue the work we do,” Bain said.

“Having this news come during lockdown is even more special because it shows us how important we are viewed by funders and that they are positive that we will be delivering face to face work again sometime soon.”

Ability Shetland has also received three specific Covid-19 grants in recent weeks, including £2,000 from the STV Children’s Appeal, a further £2,000 from the Corra Foundation and £600 from Lerwick Community Council.

Bain said in relation to the pandemic, things have been “very different” for Ability Shetland, which changed its name from Disability Shetland last year.

It was forced to cease all face-to-face work with its 200-plus clients – with this happening just before a holiday period, which left about 40 families with no respite during the school holidays.

“It has been frustrating to know that the families we work with were going to be without support, social opportunities and much needed breaks and respite so our team here at Ability Shetland have rallied around and come up with some great, creative ideas to keep connected with our clients,” Bain added.

“Examples of the things we have done so far is providing care and activity packs to children and adults, gifted tablets to adults to help them keep connected with us and with each other, given participants various challenges to do and provided resources for them to do this such as pedometers and craft materials, paid for online classes, and undertaken video chats and phone calls on a regular basis too.

“Our whole ethos is around reducing isolation and loneliness for people with disabilities and their families so it is a frustrating time but we are doing everything we can to support them during this tense time.”

Bain also paid tribute to the “amazing” third sector in Shetland, which has been “working together with the local authority to ensure people get adequate support to continue to keep safe and well during these uncertain times”.