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Community / Strong interest in Crown Estate grant aid scheme

Crown Estate Scotland owns and manages most of the seabed out to 12 nautical miles. Photo: Shetland News

NEARLY 40 initial applications were received for a new scheme that could pay out grants between £10,000 and £100,000 to community projects in Shetland.

The grant aid scheme financed by net revenues generated from Crown Estate assets in Scotland was given the green light by Shetland Islands Council in August. A panel set up to process the applications met for the first time in September.

The council has been allocated over £2.3 million in the last two financial years from revenue generated by Crown Estate Scotland, which is the owner of the seabed out to the 12-mile limit.

The new grant scheme is part of effort to devolve the management of the Crown Estate and reinvest part of its revenue in local communities.

The scheme is open to charities, community organisations, social enterprises and other community or public bodies.

It has a two-stage application process – the first stage is an initial platform for ideas to be presented, while stage two applications are by invitation only and require the completion of a full application.

Acting manager of economic development at the council Tommy Coutts said: “We had 36 stage one applications for the first panel on September.

“The next panel will be in December at which the first stage twos will be considered.”

The panel is chaired by the council’s director of development, and one additional officer from each council directorate.

It will consider and determine all requests for approval below £50,000. For funding requests over that amount the panel recommendation will be presented to councillors for decision.

It is not the only new grant funding stream in the offing for local groups and charities, with the community benefit scheme funded through the the Viking Energy wind farm ultimately set to offer around £2.2 million a year once construction is completed.

Shetland Charitable Trust, meanwhile, has also increased its spending, with over £500,000 in extra grant money recently awarded to local charities, groups and organis