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Health / MRI scanner in sight after fundraising target reached

From left to right: Chris Bunyan, chair of Shetland Community Benefit Fund, Aaron Priest of SSE Renewables, Lincoln Carroll, chair of the NHS Shetland Endowment Fund Dennis Thomson, director of Shetland Aerogenerators, Angus Ward, director of Shetland Aerogenerators.

THE SHETLAND MRI scanner appeal has now surpassed its £1.65 million target following a number of large donations.

Shetland Health Board Endowment Fund trustees welcomed £300,000 of donations for the appeal at its bi-monthly meeting last week.

These included the already committed £200,000 from the Shetland Community Benefit Fund (SCBF), as well as an additional £50,000 from Viking Energy developer SSE Renewables.

Another £50,000 was donated from local wind energy business Shetland Aerogenerators Ltd.

Shetland Charitable Trust, meanwhile, committed £500,000 towards the capital purchase of the MRI scanner earlier this year.

Over £900,000 has already been raised by the Shetland community, meaning the £1.65 million target has now been reached.

Chair of the endowment fund Lincoln Carroll said: “Trustees were very pleased to receive these donations.

“After the charitable trust’s pledge, we moved into the procurement phase of the project, researching potential suppliers and looking to establish final costs and supply timescale.

“The new donations mean the appeal can confidently fund the staff and the training required to embed the scanner as a key piece of diagnostic equipment at the Gilbert Bain Hospital.”

The £200,000 donation from SCBF followed agreement by SSE Renewables to give the fund an advance on future annual community benefit payments from the Viking Energy wind farm.

SCBF chair Chris Bunyan said: “Our decision to support the appeal is based on what this will mean for the health of people in Shetland and the stress and costs of travelling to Aberdeen for a scan.

“Covid-19 restrictions have meant a great reduction and delay in fundraising for the scanner and that is why SCBF directors wanted to support the appeal.

“This also illustrates the potential for our communities from community benefit funds in the future.”

Viking Energy’s Aaron Priest added: “Including local sub-contractors there are over 50 locally based staff currently working on the Viking wind farm, a number which will continue to grow, and we know how important the MRI Scanner appeal is to them, their families and the wider community.”

Shetland Aerogenerators Ltd director Angus Ward said that the company had “recognised the healthcare access challenges emerging locally as a result of the global pandemic and felt that a big push to get the appeal over the line” was needed.

As well as the associated installation costs, the money will be used for revenue funding for the MRI scanner, which means it will cover the cost of staff and training once the equipment is in place at the hospital.

MRI Scanner appeal fundraising manager Derek Hart said that everyone who had worked on the appeal was delighted and extremely grateful for the three new donations.

“Hundreds of community events and individual fundraising efforts over more than two years have made the scanner a reality, and we want to thank everyone who has been involved in that effort,” he said.

“However, until the final costs of the project are established, fundraising will continue.”