Community / Trust plans £17.9 million spend despite losses on the stock market

The value of investments at the end of March was nearly £450m – but come the end of September they stood at just under £371 million

Shetland Charitable Trust headquarters at Lerwick's North Road. Photo: Shetland News

SHETLAND Charitable Trust funds dropped in value by nearly £30 million in the space of a month between the end of August and September.

By the end of September the value of its investments stood at £370.6 million – a drop from £397 million at the end of August.

But the yo-yo nature of the volatile global markets is clear, with the trust’s investments valued at around £372 million in June.

At the end of March they stood at nearly £450 million.

Overall, for the first six months of this financial year, the trust saw a negative return on its external investments of 13.5 per cent.

It is described as a long-term investor and current returns over a three-year period stand at 9.4 per cent.

At a meeting on Thursday trustees also signed off on spending plans for 2023/24 worth nearly £17.9 million.

The biggest outlay is on the £8.68 million main grant scheme which helps fund leisure centres, rural care centres, museums, arts centres and over 20 voluntary organisations.


The main chunk will go to the isles’ three main trusts; Shetland Recreational Trust is to receive £3.3 million with Shetland Amenity Trust securing £1.23 million and £716,600 going to Shetland Arts Development Agency.

The second biggest single award goes to help keep the higher standard of community care that Shetland enjoys. Nearly £2 million is provided to Shetland Islands Council to enhance the service it provides in the care centres and the community.

Up to £6.8 million from the 2022/23 budget is earmarked for the second year of the capital grant scheme, which pays for repairs and improvements to the buildings and infrastructure of the three large trusts and Voluntary Action Shetland.

But the scheme has seen a slow start in its first year, with only £900,000 expected to be claimed before April due to what the trust said was “a variety of pressures and delays” encountered by the funded bodies.

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The trust also expects to earn income of £500,000 from local sources in the form of rental payments from oil companies for the land that Sullom Voe is built on and potential profits from the trust’s subsidiary company Shetland Heat and Power Limited, which runs the district scheme.

Trust chair Dr Andrew Cooper said: “Clearly, these are turbulent times and there are few signs of stability returning yet. That makes it all the more important for the trust to provide a bit of certainty to the local organisations and valuable services that rely on it.

“We are fortunate that we still have the funds to give Shetland at least some protection from the harsh realities that are starting to bite everywhere.”

The trust aims to use its available funds to “benefit and improve the quality of life of all people living in Shetland and to preserve the trust reserves for future generations.”

Full details of all the other grant recipients, including many charities in the voluntary sector, will be released next week once the successful applicants have been informed.

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