Youth project faces uncertain future

The future of the Peer Education Project in Shetland is uncertain as funding for another year was not approved by the education and families committee today.

However the committee agreed to ask the NHS and Shetland Charitable Trust for help.

The project, formerly part of Shetland Youth Information Service, involves young adults giving workshops on subjects such as drug and alcohol awareness and sexual and mental health to other young people.

The PEP started in 2011 and attracted funding which was matched initially by Shetland Charitable Trust. But now the charitable trust is refusing any more funding and the council has been approached.

However at the education and families committee meeting chairwoman Vaila Wishart said she was “not happy” about giving a grant of £12,000 to the project for one more year. The project has funding from the Robertson Trust until 2016, but this has to be matched.

Director of children’s services Helen Budge said the project had been “very successful” but there had not been a specific budget for it.

Ms Wishart acknowledged PEP was worthwhile, but said the council “can’t keep picking up things” that could be funded elsewhere.

Gary Robinson said that as the subjects touched upon by the project were pertinent to the NHS, that organisation should be approached for funding. Vice-chairman George Smith said he remembered the charitable trust’s commitment to funding, and they should also be approached.

Mr Robinson said: “We shouldn’t rush to provide funding.” He proposed that the issue be referred to the NHS and the charitable trust to contribute a package of measures for at least one more year, and this was agreed by the meeting.


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