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Community / Lerwick Community Council approves funding requests

Lerwick Town Hall.

A HANDFUL of groups and organisations will receive funding from Lerwick Community Council for a range of initiatives including a seafarers memorial and a lockdown-themed writers’ group project.

The grants were approved at a virtual meeting of the community council on Monday night.

Edward Thomason and Taing Support Services applied for £3,000 go to towards a Tovertafel projector system.

The interactive system projects from the ceiling downwards onto surfaces and is often used by people with dementia.

It is said to stimulate both physical and cognitive activity and encourage social interaction.

Community council member Stewart Hay said any piece of machinery which could enhance residents’ experience during the coronavirus pandemic should be welcomed.

He said the current period is “really restrictive and they are not out of the woods yet”.

The community council agreed to cover half of the request through its remaining Covid-19 grant money, and deal with the other half through its usual funds.

The Mareel Writers group, which first met last year, was also given £1,400 from the Covid-19 fund to support a new online project called Lerwick Lockdown.

It will take the form of a series of monologues, poems and conversations among characters living in Lerwick and experiencing lockdown.

It would culminate in a piece of work lasting 30-40 minutes, complete with soundscapes and music, which could be streamed live.

The characters would be performed by members of the Islesburgh Drama Group, while it is hoped it could give a platform for local dialect.

Hay said the project could provide a way of recording the views of people during the lockdown.

What the seafarer memorial would look like. Image from the SIC planning website.

“It’s a way of bringing people together,” he added.

Karen Fraser added: “I think it’s going to be quite an important piece of work to remember these times.”

A funding request for £1,000 from the Shetland Seafarers Association for a memorial which would be installed in front of the Shetland Museum and Archives in Lerwick was also approved.

The memorial would be for all Shetland seafarers, allowing people a chance to remember those who went to sea but never came back.

The memorial would cost around £14,000 in total and the association has raised around £8,400 so far. It has requested funding from all of Shetland’s community councils.

With the memorial based in Lerwick Fraser said she was happy to support it, with Gary Robinson adding that it was a “really worthwhile” project.

The Sound School Parent Council was also given £456.83 to help develop an outdoor area which would include an interactive garden for children.

Local restorative justice charity Space2face asked for nearly £2,000 to support the service going forward but the community council felt it was not in a position to fund a Shetland-wide project.

There was also discussion on whether the community council will hold its Loot for Lerwick participatory budgeting event this year in some form in light of coronavirus restrictions.

The event, usually held at the Islesburgh Community Centre, allows community groups to pitch for funding.

A decision is expected later this year, with one option being to hold some form of online event.

Hay suggested there could be an increased need for funding later in the year in light of the fall-out from Covid-19.

“The importance socially and economically will become clear and there might well be a role for us to play,” he said.

Robinson, who also chairs the NHS Shetland board, warned however that it is unclear how the pandemic will look like later in the year.

“We don’t want to be putting potentially vulnerable folk together to have face-to-face meetings,” he added.