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Community / Projects from Fair Isle to Whalsay given funding through Crown Estate scheme

The Crown Estate owns the seabed in Scotland to the 12 miles limit.

FIVE new grants worth nearly £400,000 in total have been approved by councillors through the local authority’s Coastal Communities Fund.

Grants worth up to £100,000 each will go towards upgrades to the Symbister marina as well as plans for an indoor equestrian facility in Cunningsburgh.

Around £62,800 will go to the Voe Public Hall for kitchen alterations and extension work, while the Trondra hall has secured £67,580 for refurbishment.

The Fair Isle Marine Research Organisation has also received £62,260 in part to employ a project officer.

Four other applications had already been approved under delegated authority due to the smaller size of grant.

These include grants for upgrading the Bigton Hall and the Whalsay golf clubhouse, while a project to install a Changing Places toilet at the Clickimin was given funding alongside and a grant for Shetland Amateur Athletics Club.

Applications for over £50,000 need to be approved by elected members, but council officers can deal with smaller grants.

But with a number of other schemes available – such as Shetland Community Benefit Fund – concern was raised at a meeting of the full council on Wednesday over the level of take-up.

Development committee chairman Alastair Cooper said it was “very, very quiet” in the community in terms of projects needing funding and added that he was worried “we are going to struggle sometimes to spend this money”.

But economic development service manager Tommy Coutts said officers were active in the community and noted that more than £2 million has been distributed through the fund since its introduction in August 2020.

And Shetland South member George Smith said: “I’m absolutely sure that officers […] are doing all they can to stimulate activity in the community.”

The fund allocates revenue given to the council from Crown Estate Scotland, which manages the coast and seabed around the country.

The latest allocation to the council, given in December, was £1.57 million.

In September 2019 the council was allocated around £1 million, while the following the year £1.36 million was provided.

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