Trust urged to explain decision to axe ‘vital support network’ for young people

Calls are being made for Shetland Charitable Trust to explain why it has axed funding to Shetland Youth Information Services (SYIS).

Trust chairman Bobby Hunter said on Thursday that the cut was down to concern over how the SYIS’s Market Cross premises were being run and not about saving money.

The daily drop-in service for young people is now closed “until further notice”.

On Thursday trustees of the charitable trust voted in private to pull the plug on £188,840 of funding for 2013/14, just three days before the new financial year starts.

It is understood a review of the service had suggested providing funding for six months until a new way forward was found. But trust management instead recommended that funding should be removed altogether.

One of Shetland’s youth MSPs, Emily Shaw, said it was a “cause for concern and not what I would like to see”. She will be writing to the trust to ask why the decision was taken.

Talks about how SYIS could fit into a new council strategy for youth services have been taking place since August. SIC children’s services director Helen Budge met staff for fresh discussions on Friday afternoon.

Ms Shaw told The Shetland Times: “I think what is important now is that I ensure that I work with the local youth service team and Young Scot to ensure youth information continues to be provided at a local level through a variety of platforms.

“I would urge the young people who previously used SYIS to make the most of these alternative platforms.

“Once lessons have been learnt about why this organisation has had its funding removed, hopefully the Shetland Charitable Trust can ring-fence the investment for future use for youth provision in Shetland.”

On Thursday SYIS’s full-time manager Barry Callieu said he and his 12 part-time staff were “devastated” on behalf of those who used the service regularly.

Neil Pearson, who worked with SYIS for a number of years, said his thoughts went out to staff left in a “very difficult and unenviable position” and to users of the service, who have been “left without a vital support network”.

SYIS’s website says it aims to offer information and support to young people in a “non-threatening environment” to allow them to “take constructive steps to affect positive change in their lives”.


Add Your Comment
  • john Irvine

    • March 30th, 2013 14:10

    Maybe they need the money to pay the directors etc involved with the white elephant better known as Viking Energy.

  • ivan coghill

    • March 30th, 2013 14:34

    Young people can shut up and go to The (subsidised) Hays Dock Cafe for some pate de foi gras.

  • James Moir

    • March 30th, 2013 18:07

    I don’t know what this office does but my three questions are
    (a) What will happen to the staff?
    (b) Why wait until three days before the start of the new financial year to make this
    (c) Will the services be provided by anyone else?

    Presumably there is a need for these services as the reason given for not funding is how the place is being run. Strange then that rather than work on sorting out the running of the place the trust cuts funding completely.

    This all sounds very strange and the explanation raises more questions than answers

  • ivan coghill

    • March 30th, 2013 21:44

    SYIS Mismanagement? The Hays Dock Cafe, the museum cafe, is publicly owned, publicly subsidised and publicly managed. It price-excludes half of the population of Shetland. Deliberately.

    Now, that is what I call mismanagement. It is that kind of special, slapstick Shetland mismanagement.

  • Ewen Adamson

    • April 1st, 2013 8:58

    Ivan, if the prices at Hays Dock Cafe were reduced then surely the subsidy they require would increase. No? You seem annoyed that the cafe is subsidised with public money, yet you are also annoyed with their high prices? How would you change things then? What is your solution to this particular problem?

  • Wayne Leask

    • April 5th, 2013 10:42

    Ivan Coghill, I am a member of staff at the hays dock cafe restaurant and was a member of staff at the SYIS and a member of the board before this and to the best of my knowledge the hays dock cafe restaurant has to put their prices as high as it does to meet financial goals set by the amenity trust and to pay for the high quality food stuffs we buy in for the public. As for the SYIS it was a charity funded building to allow us to educate the youths of today in a wide variety of subjects an in a way that was informal and suited them. The two businesses cannot be linked as one is a profit based organisation and the other is a charity.

  • Brian Smith

    • April 5th, 2013 15:52

    Dear old Ivan doesna go in for solutions!

  • Gordon Harmer

    • April 6th, 2013 5:22

    You would know all about Ivan, Brian!

  • ivan coghill

    • May 5th, 2013 17:14

    Trust me, the ONLY reason that there is not a spectrum, a range of prices available at Hays Dock Cafe is to EXCLUDE people on low incomes. Hays Dock is more expensive than a private business, for goodness sake. What does it do with the money? Is it that special kind of mismanagement, that “Shetland mismanagement”?

    Solution: have a range of prices from low to high thereby allowing access to all to a public facility. I thought that was so obvious it would not need to be stated.

    You folk take the biscuit, you really do.

  • ivan coghill

    • May 5th, 2013 18:08

    The Twilight Zone and Shetland – the only two places where ‘socialists’ think that it is okay for people on low incomes to be excluded from public facilities.

  • Sandy McDonald

    • May 6th, 2013 8:14

    I know Ivan, why not make the prices even higher then means test everyone that comes through the door, if you earn over a certain threshold you must pay for your food, if you earn under then you get it for free! yay! Why should people have to pay for things after all? I was at the cafe on Saturday and found the prices what you would expect for restaurant standard food, there was a good atmosphere and the place is child friendly.

  • ivan coghill

    • May 6th, 2013 23:08

    Sandy McDonald, the way it is currently is not acceptable on several grounds. If low income folk canna get in … this is a problem for a publicly owned, subsidised and managed facility. It is also, by definition, not a community facility. The free market would be better than this – a benchmark which the public sector must exceed.


Add Your Comment

Please note, it is the policy of The Shetland Times to publish comments and letters from named individuals only. Both forename and surname are required.

Comments are moderated. Contributors must observe normal standards of decency and tolerance for the opinions of others.

The views expressed are those of contributors and not of The Shetland Times.

The Shetland Times reserves the right to decline or remove any contribution without notice or stating reason.

Comments are limited to 200 words but please email longer articles or letters to for consideration and include a daytime telephone number and your address. If emailing information in confidence please put "Not for publication" in both the subject line and at the top of the main message.

200 words left

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Get Latest News in Your Inbox

Join the The Shetland Times mailing list to get one daily email update at midday on what's happening in Shetland.