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Community / Local charity’s building still shut after festive storm damage

A fundraising campaign has been launched after the Compass Centre’s premises fell victim to strong winds

Photo: The Compass Centre

SHETLAND’s local sexual violence charity is fundraising after its building suffered significant roof damage in stormy weather earlier this year.

The Compass Centre’s premises on Hill Lane in Lerwick has been shut ever since strong winds caused damage over the festival break.

Service manager Lisa Ward said the charity is still open for referrals, and its advocacy, support, and counselling services for Shetlanders affected by sexual violence are all still running “thanks to the hard work of our dedicated staff team, ongoing support from our landlord Shetland Islands Council (SIC) and the generosity of other key partners”.

Ward said the SIC, and the local builders it works with, responded “immediately” to limit the centre’s exposure to the worst of the elements, and supported staff to safely remove some important items from the building.

“Without their quick response, we almost certainly wouldn’t have been able to return to delivering services in January as we did,” Ward added.

“At the time, the most important thing to us was making sure that our service users were the first people we spoke with, and that all were given options to continue safely accessing help.

“Everyone has been so understanding and kind – even when the disruption has introduced real challenges to accessing support, we’ve been able to work together with folk to find a way forward that prioritises safety, confidentiality, and choice for all.”

The building and its contents are insured, and repairs are underway. The charity expects to return to normal in the coming months.

In the meantime, however, the Compass Centre is looking for options for safe and confidential spaces to hold face-to-face appointments and also desk/office space options for staff working in the town between appointments.

“If you know of anything suitable, please email contact@compasscentre.org,” Ward said.

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“We’re also launching a small fundraiser throughout March to help cover some of the unexpected additional costs, and more broadly to support our work ensuring that Shetlanders affected by sexual violence can access the help they need when they need it.

“If you’re willing and able to make a donation, we are so grateful for your support.”

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