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Community / Three large grant applications receive backing of councillors

Lerwick Town Hall. Photo: Shetland NewsLerwick Town Hall. Photo: Shetland News

NEARLY £300,000 in grant money has been approved by councillors for three local projects through the recently established Crown Estate Fund.

At a meeting of the full council on Wednesday elected members approved a grant of up to £100,000 to the local authority’s children’s services department to establish a youth voice forum.

This would allow Shetland’s young people to discuss issues affecting them with councillors and other public organisations, and “ensure young people’s rights and participation are embedded on a local level”.

The idea was warmly welcomed by councillors, but Shetland Central members Moraig Lyall and Ian Scott expressed some reservation over plans to remunerate participants.

Lyall said this could set a precedent, with young people then possibly expecting to receive remuneration in future community events.

Economic development service manager Tommy Coutts said there is a budget of £75,119 which is based on a youth worker hourly rate multiplied by 26 participants working eight hours a month over two years.

Chairman of the council’s education and families committee George Smith said he had no qualms about remuneration for youngsters if it gave them the wherewithal to participate.

It’s important that young folk have an opportunity to contribute to debate around what’s important to them,” he said.

Councillors also gave the green light to an application for up to £99,000 for upgrade work to the Lerwick Legion venue.

The Royal British Legion aims to upgrade the building to “increase footfall and make it a more family friendly, comfortably and enjoyable place to be in”.

Members were told that there could be plans for family-friendly activities like children’s parties, catering and leisure.

Councillors said it was a worthwhile cause, while some praised the work of the Royal British Legion in supporting the armed forces community.

A funding application for up to £87,800 for a feasibility study and business plan for a family-based, paid-for regulated care scheme in Shetland was also approved.

In this scheme the paid ‘Shared Lives’ carer would provide the care and support required from within their own home, sharing their home and family life.

The application also received a warm welcome from councillors, with leader Steven Coutts then praising the diversity of funding bids which have been submitted.

“I think this shows the real strength of the grant scheme,” he said.

The grant aid scheme, launched last year, is financed from net revenues generated by the Crown Estate assets in Scotland after the powers to distribute some of the organisation’s revenues was devolved to local authorities.

Any applications worth over £50,000 require to be approved by councillors, while those asking for less can be dealt with under delegated authority.

As previously reported, a number of smaller grant applications have been approved recently, with Wild Skies Shetland, NAFC Marine Centre, Burra & Trondra Community Minibus Association and Yell’s Seafield Seafront Trust all benefiting.