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Community / Sumburgh Head lighthouse secures funding

Photo: Shetland Amenity Trust

FUNDING worth over £70,000 is set to go towards work on the Sumburgh Head lighthouse.

The money, from the historic environment recovery fund, will be used for building maintenance following winter storm damage, Covid adaptions and a new business plan.

Operator Shetland Amenity Trust will also deliver a community art project and video to “promote the site and re-engage with the local community”.

The lighthouse, popular with visitors and locals alike, recently celebrated its 200th birthday. A visitor centre opened there in 2014 after a £5.4 million refurbishment.

The amenity trust’s head of development Davy Cooper said: “We are grateful for this support which has come at a significant time for us.

“The care of the site at Sumburgh Head is entirely funded by ticket sales and donations, and receives no public funding.

“Covid-19 restrictions meant that Sumburgh Head was only able to open for a limited period of time last year. We are hopeful that the restrictions may be lifted to a point that the site can reopen for a full summer season in 2021.

“In order to do so we will need to re-engage with the public. This project, which includes essential repairs and the enhancement of Covid-19 adaptations, proposes the development of a summer activities programme which reflects the whole range of natural and cultural heritage on the site, with a particular focus on the 200th anniversary of the first lighting of Sumburgh Head Lighthouse.”

Nearly £2 million in total has been awarded by Historic Environment Scotland (HES) to over 40 organisations across the country to help support the recovery of Scotland’s historic environment sector from the impacts of coronavirus.

HES chief executive Alex Paterson said: “From museums in the Highlands to historic venues and buildings in central Scotland and the Borders, we are pleased to support a diverse range of projects the length and breadth of Scotland as part of the Historic Environment Recovery Fund.

“By helping to protect jobs, reopen historic sites and maintaining investment in traditional skills training and apprenticeships, we hope to support the wider recovery of the sector and Scotland’s economy.”