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Community / New funding scheme to help small community groups

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

SMALL community groups will be offered grants of up to £5,000 under a new scheme agreed by Shetland Charitable Trust to help reduce inequality and social exclusion in island life.

The focus of all applications should be to address issues relating to inequalities and social exclusion.

The scheme was agreed by trustees at a meeting earlier today (Thursday).

Funding from the Small Grants Scheme could be available to assist with the costs of activities such as providing transport or reimbursing volunteer expenses.

The trust said grants could also go towards buying special equipment or adapting buildings to enable more people to join in activities.

The scheme will launch in December and run each year until 2025 as part of the five-year plan.

The Small Grants Scheme is open to constituted community groups with a turnover of less than £50,000 a year which undertake activities in the fields of social care and welfare, arts and culture, heritage and the environment or sport and recreation.

Larger groups have been able to apply to the trust’s main grants Scheme, which closed to bids last month for the £8.4 million set to be awarded for 2021.

Charitable trust chairman Dr Andrew Cooper said: “We aim to make Shetland life better for all and, as part of that, trustees want to help the many smaller organisations which focus on the specialist needs of particular groups and contribute so much to our communities.”

Groups applying under the Small Grants Scheme will be required to raise some of their project costs themselves with the trust covering up to 75 per cent of the total.

Individuals and commercial businesses are not eligible for the scheme.

It comes after the trust awarded extra grants to the value of £530,173 to 16 projects designed to help vulnerable and disadvantaged people during the current financial year.