Charitable trust pulls plug to leave youth centre facing shock closure

Shetland Youth Information Service (SYIS) faces imminent closure after the charitable trust dramatically withdrew financial sup­port for the organisation today.

The decision, which was made in private by the trust, means that funding of £188,840 for the 2013/14 financial year, beginning next week, will no longer be made available.

Manager of SYIS Barry Callieu said that he and his staff were “devastated”.

“We are particularly devastated on behalf of the young people who regularly use [the service]” he added.

When The Shetland Times spoke to Mr Callieu yesterday, he had still not been given any firm details of the decision.

“I am totally unsure about what plans are in place” he said, “as to whether we finish on the 31st March, or whether contingencies are going to be made for us to carry on for a few months. I do not know”.

Chairman of Shetland Charitable Trust Bobby Hunter was unwilling to offer further details about the reasons behind the cut, except to say that “there were concerns over the service provision of the organisation”.

SYIS is based at the Market Cross, and provides a daily drop-in service for young people, giving them access to information and support in a “non-threatening environ­ment”. According to the organisation’s website, they aim to “provide support to allow young people to take constructive steps to affect positive change in their lives”.


Add Your Comment
  • john Irvine

    • March 28th, 2013 18:04

    Is this the same charitable trust who have pumped our millions into the huge white elephant that is Viking energy?

  • Sandy McMillan

    • March 29th, 2013 1:19

    Is there much more this Council can close, First of all they throw the elderly, now the youth on to the streets, and also we canna fin ony wy tae hiv a PEE, The Council might as well close the whole of Shetland down, before we cannot afford the fare to get away, SNHS had better buy in beds, and the Police start recruting, and the Government better get a grip of Serco, before we have to spend our pensions to buy a half loaf and a tin of beans, Shetland is being run by rouges

  • Brian Smith

    • March 29th, 2013 7:05

    The objections to this are misplaced. Bobby & Co. have more than enough to be doing in providing us with pylons to be faffing roond wi youth.

  • JohnTulloch

    • March 29th, 2013 8:05

    This isn’t easy to understand and on the face of it, it seems a clumsy act.

    It also seems to be the kind of thing that SCT could legitimately support without offending OSCR -if not, what can it support?

    If there were concerns about the operation and outcomes of SYIS, did anyone take them up with Mr Gregson and the SYIS board ahead of this precipitate action?

    What were the concerns that were sufficiently serious to justify summary closure?

  • Sue Wailoo

    • March 29th, 2013 9:52

    UN-Charitable Trust, more like.
    What are the young people using this service supposed to do now? What message does this give them? That they are not “worth it” as many of them probably already believe. For shame!
    And what are the workers supposed to do with their income so suddenly stopped? This cannot be right either.
    Shetland Charitable Trust funds are supposed to meet the needs of the Shetland population over and above statutory provision by authorities like the council.
    As other readers have commented above they are obviously more concerned with fantasy profits from a wind factory.

  • Jenny Kerr

    • March 29th, 2013 13:00

    Having worked at the SYIS in the past, I have seen first hand how dedicated the staff are to ensuring that the young people that access the service are provided with information and support that is distinctly lacking in other areas of the third sector, the local council and NHS, despite under constant funding pressures and clearly, pressure to pull rabbits out of magic hats when it comes to outcomes for these young people. I have also seen how much the young people rely and bond with the staff and I think it is outrageous that funding should be cut so suddenly and without any thought as to what happens next to these young people.

    I would like to ask the charitable trust what they intend to do to instead with this money to ensure that young people are supported and educated in matters out-with formal education. It is a small organisation yes, but surely something is better than nothing?

  • connor harris

    • March 29th, 2013 13:14

    This has been coming. The SYIS has had absurd amounts of money thrown at it for far too long, without seeming to do a whole lot. The whole youth sector is in need of a damn good shake up, I applaude the council on this decision. We have to be looking at cutting non-essentials, Hayfield house would be next on my agenda. Too many staff doing nothing of value.

  • Jim Moran

    • March 29th, 2013 15:43

    The staff at SYIS have a petition going to let the powers that be know how we feel about the removal of this important service for the young people of Shetland. Please call in and sign the petition. Make your voice heard.

  • Neil Pearson

    • March 29th, 2013 17:02

    Connor Harris,

    in all fairness i’ve never heard of you and am unsure what you do/have done for work. much like you and the services offered by the SYIS i suppose.

    it’s obvious you have never had to use the SYIS or any of its AWARD WINNING services, but ive had a thought. I have never needed to call upon you in a crisis and you are therefore un-necessary to me, based on your completely rediculous statement, maybe we should cut your funding/pension/lifeline services/ source of income? show some support for people who make a difference to other peoples lives or sit down.

    i worked for a number of years with the SYIS and was devastated to learn that such a vital service to so many young people had been entirely cut off, my thoughts go out to the staff who have now been left in a very diffucult and unenviable position and the young users of the service who have now been left without a vital support network. my thoughts mr Harris do not go out to you!

  • John Tulloch

    • March 29th, 2013 20:00

    Well said, Neil!

  • Cathy Goudie

    • March 30th, 2013 12:19

    That’s brilliant Neil and so true!

  • Jane Park

    • March 30th, 2013 16:59

    Well said indeed Neil, Best if folk don’t pass comment on matters they have no knowledge of.

  • tina chalmers

    • April 2nd, 2013 12:15

    syis closed its doors for the last time on sunday. i (untill sunday) was a drop in support worker for syis. what has this world come to when a service that supports vulnerable young people in a variety of ways gets its funding cut and is seen as not being needed? i for one am devastated. i may have lost my job but to me it was so much more than that. it was a connection to the real shetland and i learned so much from our young folk and cherish the relationships built up both with the young folk and the incredible one of a kind staff. i will never have a job like that again. we saw well over 100 folk over the last 2 days we were open, countless people in tears and many angered by the decision. where will those people go now? for those who think the decision was right (connor harris) you clearly have never been in a situation where you have a problem and your alone and someone offers you some help. purely for your benefit this is a short list of the things we provide the you people of shetland-
    a safe space to speak about how they feel, sexual health advice (including free condoms), info on drugs and their effects, health advice, cookery skills, up to date local jobs, help applying for jobs and uni applications,interview techniques, references, referral to other services, volunteer opportunities, we provide a space for eric grey service users twice a week, young mums group, and more than anything else we really listen to when they have to say, no one would ever be dismissed and attitudes/ behaviors were always challenged including racism and sexism. and all of those things are just a few of the things we do just in the drop in. so you may think money has been thrown at us before for no reason ask some of the young folk who use our service if they agree.

  • Wayne Leask

    • April 3rd, 2013 17:39

    Hey all,

    I was a young person that attended the SYIS on numerous occasions whilst attending the OPEN peer education project for 2 years and in those 2 years i achieved a job/career out of it. From my experience of the SYIS it is a sorely needed service that has SO much to offer the youths of today. I know a ton of people that agree that the SYIS should have stayed open. My heart goes out to all the youths missing out on the service presently and to those who will miss out on them altogether. My heart also goes out to MOST of the staff at SYIS as they will be having a hard time with losing their main job :(. For all those who are opposing the decision there is a petition for you to sign going to be in circulation soon.


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