Buoyed by an upsurge in global markets, Shetland Charitable Trust gained a record £50 million in its investment funds in the financial year 2009/10.
According to the trust’s annual report, combined with strong local investment and savings, as of March this year it was worth £217.1 million – £3 million short of its target of £220 million.
Trust chairman Bill Manson said: “In investment terms this has been one of the best years in the history of Shetland Charitable Trust thanks largely to the recovery in the world’s financial markets. We are especially pleased that our investments in the local economy have borne so much fruit.
“However we have to bear in mind that the markets can be volatile. The previous two years were very poor indeed and there is little certainty about future market trends.
“Further pressure on the trust’s budgets could also result from the current cuts in public sector spending and as Shetland’s population ages, which the forecasts predict, then the
current 40 per cent of what we spend on the elderly is likely to grow as years go by.”
As well as returns of 40 per cent or more on its fund investments, the trust earned £5 million from its £25 million of local investments in organisations such as propert company Slap and district heating firm Sheap.
The trust has also managed to reduce its annual expenditure to less than £11 million, in line with its target. This has been helped by around £2 million annual savings identified by the main organisations funded by the trust.
Over the past seven years staffing levels have been reduced and administrations costs have fallen by one third from £900,000 to £600,000.
The trust spends its money supporting 16 organisations including Shetland Recreational Trust (£2.8m), Shetland Amenity Trust (£1.1m) and Shetland Arts (£0.8m). It also funds 12
charitable schemes and maintains 17 buildings, including leisure and care centres throughout the isles.
Community groups ranging from youth clubs to music festivals and public halls have received almost £90,000 towards running and project costs.
During 2009/10 the trust made a one off donation of £250,000 towards the appeal to raise funds to build a new CLAN House, which has supported many Shetlanders and their
families as they undergo treatment for cancer in Aberdeen.
The trust has also invested £2.25 million towards bringing the Viking Energy wind farm to the planning stage.