The charitable trust is being urged to think again over cuts to community grant schemes after the SIC development committee recommended a new grant aid scheme that still has to pass further council hurdles.
According to the report on the scheme titled “Support to Community Facilities” £80,000 should be available to provide grants of up to 75 per cent for sports and community organisations.
The committee heard that the Shetland Charitable Trust had been premature in cutting its grants in the expectation that the council would do likewise once “transitional” arrangements expired that were intended to wean community ventures off public support.
These transitional arrangements had been extended for a year once it became apparent that few community organisations had seriously addressed how to survive without support. Now the new grant scheme is being proposed to help them out.
The committee agreed to make a formal approach to the trust to reverse its cut-backs.
SIC leader Gary Robinson said: “I do believe that the charitable trust has been premature in withdrawing funding on the presumption that the council would withdraw its funding. I would hope that the charitable trust considers its contribution to this not as a new bid but an existing bid.”
West Mainland councillor Frank Robertson said: “I welcome this report because supporting community facilities is really supporting the strength of Shetland. I have had a lot of representation from community groups concerned about their viability.”
Mr Robertson said that Shetland’s young people were now competing at national level thanks to community efforts and facilities.
He added: “I feel aggrieved at the position of the charitable trust and support Gary in writing to ask them to reconsider the grant that was hastily removed.”
North Isles councillor Henderson said: “Speaking as a representative of one of the most outlying areas of Shetland, if we cannot encourage our young people to flourish in our outlying communities, where in the name of heck are we going to support?”
More from this meeting in tommorrow’s Shetland Times.