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Community / Clarity sought over funding isles-wide projects

LERWICK Community Council (LCC) is to write to the administrators of the Shetland Community Benefit Fund to clarify how to handle applications for grants for isles-wide projects.

At the community council’s monthly meeting in Lerwick Town Hall on Monday, members considered funding applications from the ALICE theatre project and the stewards of the iconic Dim Riv.

Money from the community benefit fund, which will amount to over £2 million a year once the Viking Energy wind farm is up and running, is distributed across the isles’ 18 community councils with those in areas where turbines are sited receiving a larger share.

But community councillors questioned whether it was right for LCC to shoulder the full funding burden for “pan-Shetland” projects even if they were being hosted in the town.

The ALICE project, which runs regular theatre classes for children and adults, was seeking £3,840 towards its activities, but members decided to approve only one eighteenth of that – working out at £213.

The Dim Riv committee, meanwhile, was seeking £2,650 from the community council itself towards running costs and upkeep having lost income during the Covid-19 pandemic.

LCC agreed to direct the committee to the community benefit fund to make an application.

Vice-chairman Gary Robinson said it was undoubtedly an organisation worth supporting and they had a “poor run of luck with the mast breaking amongst other things” and a maintenance backlog to tackle.

Chairman Jim Anderson said the committee would also write to the community benefit fund “for clarification on pan-Shetland grants and how these should be dealt with as it would seem unfair for LCC to be targeted for any/all such applications”.