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Council / Leftover Tall Ships funding could go towards event steward training

Over 16,000 unique visitors attended the Tall Ships Races during the four day event. Photo: ShetlandFlyer

A POTENTIAL solution to a lack of certified door stewards in Shetland which is limiting the ability for large events to be held in the isles has been identified.

Leftover funding to host the Tall Ships in Shetland last year could be used for local Security Industry Authority (SIA) training.

The proposal was brought to a meeting of Shetland Islands Council’s development committee on Wednesday as a possible £36,000 “legacy” project.

A lack of SIA certified stewards in Shetland in recent years has for example meant that no large standing concerts have been held at Mareel in Lerwick since before the Covid pandemic.

Shetland Arts chief executive Graeme Howell previously said the issue was partly a result of people’s SIA licenses lapsing during the pandemic combined with wider hospitality staff shortages.

Half of the funding could come from money left over from Shetland Islands Council’s financial contribution towards the Tall Ships, with the other £18,000 set to come from EventScotland’s own funding allocation.

Another potential legacy project is recurring funding for Sail Training Shetland.

An annual grant of nearly £9,000 is being sought to fund six trainees over a period no longer than ten years.

The SIC had approved funding for more than £1.2 million to organiser Shetland Tall Ships Ltd – which came from its Crown Estate net revenues allocation – for hosting the well-received event last summer, but nearly £240,000 is left over.

A request has been received from Shetland Tall Ships Ltd that the council considers funding projects with legacy benefits to Shetland from the event.

A report to councillors stated: “The lack of qualified door stewarding and event supervisors in Shetland has proven to be a barrier to local cultural activity in the form of live public events.

“During the Tall Ships the full security requirement was recruited from outside of Shetland, and the ongoing lack of capacity in this area creates serious challenges for the staging of events in Shetland.”

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It is proposed that funding be allocated by way of a one-off grant to a third party to provide security training provision for Shetland residents.

Options including the recruitment of a local trainer and engagement of a specialist external trainer have been identified. It is estimated that the price of training a group of 24 individuals, plus development costs, would be £36,000.

At Wednesday’s SIC development committee chair Dennis Leask said he understood SIA training has changed since the fatal Manchester Arena bombing in 2017.

Lerwick councillor Gary Robinson added that the situation “tends to go up and down” over time in Shetland, saying around the locally hosted Island Games in 2005 a lot of people were trained before things tailed off.

Meanwhile the potential sail training funding could deliver “long term benefits” which deliver on the original objectives of the Tall Ships bid, the report added.

At Wednesday’s meeting Stephen Leask moved that the funding programmes be approved.

However final decisions will be made at a meeting of the full council later this month.

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