Over £10,000 of public money could be used to help send three dancers to take part in the hand-over ceremony at the end of this year’s Commonwealth Games at Delhi in India.
A report before this week’s SIC services committee recommends that three people be given the chance to perform at the closing event of the games in October with a potential outlay of £7,500 from the SIC coupled with £3,000 from Shetland Arts.
People from every council area in Scotland are being invited to get involved in the ceremony, which will pave the way for four years of planning leading to the Glasgow games in 2014.
Both the Scottish Government and Glasgow City Council want the games to be seen as being for the whole of Scotland and are keen that people from around the country get involved.
Successful candidates will train and perform as members of a “mass cast” at the ceremony in Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in front of a stadium audience of 60,000 people and a global television audience of millions.
However, the experience will not be a cheap one. The fee for taking part could be up to £4,000 per person, excluding travel to Glasgow. The report proposes the SIC send three dancers from the isles at a potential outlay of £2,500 each.
Meanwhile Shetland Arts has said it would “look very favourably” at applications for grant aid from successful candidates – the maximum amount available per person being £1,000.
With funding of up to £3,500 for each candidate up for grabs from the council and the trust, the onus would then be on the individual to raise £880. Representatives from both the council and Shetland Arts could stand as a selection panel for the candidates.
The report admits the recommendation may not be popular with some who could see it as a waste of money, but adds the “positive publicity” Shetland could gain outweighs those concerns.
The report states: “It is possible that in the current financial climate the council could be criticised by some individuals or groups in the community for approving funding on a project such as this.
“However, given the exceptional nature of this project and the opportunity it presents for Shetland and some of its citizens; then on balance it is believed that the potential benefits and positive publicity for the council and Shetland far outweigh the negative publicity that might be generated.”
Councillors will have to get their skates on if they want Shetland to take part. The Delhi 2010 flag handover organising group is looking for an indication on numbers by 12th February, with actual names to be provided by the end of March.