Staff and users of SYIS service left ‘in limbo’ by abrupt closure

Employees at Shetland Youth Information Service (SYIS) remain “in limbo” a week after the shock decision by the charitable trust to cut all funding to the organisation.

Though the drop-in centre at the Market Cross is now closed, the 14 members of staff have received nothing in writing to confirm that their jobs are to come to an end. Nor have they been given any clear indication of what might happen next.

Speaking to The Shetland Times this week, staff expressed anger and frustration.

“We’ve been really let down by the charitable trust,” said one worker. “They’ve made this decision and that’s it:  game over! No jobs! And obviously we’ve got bairns, and mortgages to pay. But we’re in total uncertainty now about what to do.”

The chairman of SYIS’s board of directors Brian Gregson agreed that the sudden loss of funding was difficult to justify.

“The clientele are without a service to go to, the staff are without jobs and any security,” he said. “It really is a fairly drastic thing to do in the circumstances. We had three-and-a-half days to shut the door, basically.”

However, as part of an investigation into the decision in this week’s paper, The Shetland Times spoke to charitable trust vice-chairman Jonathan Wills who defended the cut and the timing of the decision.

He said the SYIS board had “ample warning that things had to change, or there would be a consequence”, though he conceded he personally “might have been in favour” of giving two or three months’ notice.

But he added: “I can perfectly understand why a majority [of trustees]  thought we should just deal with it now.”

For more reaction from, SYIS staff, The SIC and Mr Wills, see this week’s paper.


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