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Community / Amenity trust reports surplus for first time since 2014

The organisation’s gender pay gap data also shows that based on median pay women employees earn slightly more than men

Shetland Amenity Trust's main office in Lerwick.Shetland Amenity Trust's main office at Garthspool in Lerwick.

SHETLAND Amenity Trust’s finances are “going in the right direction” after the organisation reported a surplus in its annual accounts for the first time in six years.

In comparison the same figure for the previous financial year was a deficit of nearly £200,000.

Chief executive Mat Roberts said: “This is the first time since 2014 that we have been able to report a surplus in the annual accounts.

“This was achieved while reducing what we owed and staying within our agreed overdraft facility.

“There is still a lot to do to make the trust financially sustainable, but we are going in the right direction.”

Current chair Alastair Hamilton with his predecessor Ruth Mackenzie as they launched SAT’s strategic plan back in 2019. Photo: SAT

The small surplus emerged “before depreciation, investment revaluations and actuarial gains”, the trust said.

In late 2017 the trust announced plans to cut jobs and restructure its management in a bid to cut its crippling costs.

It also had a sizeable overdraft balance which in 2018 stood at £750,000, but it since then management has reduced the debt.

The annual accounts, meanwhile, also include information on the gender pay gap for the first time.

It shows that based on median pay women employees earn slightly more than men. This is compared to a national average which sees men earn 14.3 per cent more than women.

Sickness absence rates at the trust are also lower than the national average.

Amenity trust chairman Alastair Hamilton said: “The trust undertakes a very wide range of work, and in every area we’re fortunate to have teams who are experts in their fields. They achieved a huge amount during the year.

“2019 also saw the launch of our new strategic plan, an excellent foundation for the future. Among many events, highlights included the Grayson Perry exhibition and the 10th year of Shetland Wool Week.

“We continued our nationally important work on peatland restoration and biological recording, and we worked with the community to strengthen our collective knowledge, understanding and care of Shetland’s heritage.”

During 2019/20 200 hectares of peatland restoration work was undertaken, which is the equivalent of saving 4,000 tonnes of carbon emissions. This was double compared to the previous year.

Around 500 artefacts were donated to the museum collection, up by 60 per cent to the previous year, while over 5,000 trees were germinated for planting in Shetland.

Trustees also participated in an independent board effectiveness review during the year, in line with the Scottish third sector governance code.

Following the recommendations, trustees will “sharpen their focus on the most important issues including financial management”.

Hamilton said: “I want to pay tribute to our former chair, Ruth Mackenzie, because she was behind a great deal of what we achieved.

“She championed the governance review and supported the changes needed to improve the trust’s financial viability, including better reporting, which will be more than important than ever as we face the challenges presented by the global coronavirus pandemic.”