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Community / Redundancy and termination payments cost trust nearly £50,000

Shetland Amenity Trust's main office in Lerwick.
Shetland Amenity Trust's main office at Garthspool in Lerwick.

SHETLAND Amenity Trust spent nearly £50,000 on redundancy and termination payments during the last financial year, its annual report shows.

The trust’s head of engagement Sandy Middleton was unable to comment on personnel issues, but she said the expenditure was the “result of some minor restructuring and associated statutory payment” – with the £49,074 cost met by the organisation’s commercial income.

During the year chief executive Mat Roberts left his post, while head of operations Adam Johnson departed the charity soon after.

Figures show the trust employed an average of 59 people during the financial year, with a total wage bill of around £1.4 million.

Annual accounts for 2020/21 also highlight that the organisation – which is core funded by Shetland Charitable Trust – still has a “significant” debt.

As of 31 March 2021 the trust required an overdraft of £514,836, although that was a decrease of around £180,000 compared to the previous year.

But before “depreciation, investment revaulations and actuarial loses”, the trust recorded a surplus for the financial year of £273,505, which was up from £71,540 in the previous year.

“Whilst this is an improvement on the previous year, the trustees recognise that the cumulative performance over past years will require us to take measures to continue to show improvement,” then board chairman Alastair Hamilton said.

The annual accounts also highlight uncertainties and challenges over the coming years, which include the underlying deficit, reduced opportunity for project funding, a reliance on the overdraft – which was due for renewal this week – and limited assets which can be sold.

As part of plans to mitigate this the trust will undertake a strategic review of its property portfolio and review the organisation’s objectives and service offerings, supported by a “robust” five-year business plan.

The organisation is tasked with caring for Shetland’s natural and cultural heritage, and it enhanced its online offering when the pandemic closed its venues.