Three jobs to go from Promote Shetland, amenity trust chairman confirms

The future of Promote Shetland is hanging in the balance following news Shetland Islands Council will not renew Shetland Amenity Trust’s contract, according to trust chairman Brian Gregson.

He says the decision showed the SIC does not have any intention of continuing to promote the isles and said three people would be losing their jobs as a result. One of those is understood to be manager Andy Steven, who is also acting as amenity trust general manager following the death of Jimmy Moncrieff.

Shetland Amenity Trust chairman Bran Gregson.

The trust’s extended contract for running Promote Shetland expires at the end of this month, said Mr Gregson.

“We are still working out how we’re going to organise that. We’ve necessarily had to start the redundancy process because it affects people’s lives.”

Mr Gregson added the trust was also examining some of the “commitments” Promote Shetland had made. He said Shetland Wool Week would take place “this year” but did not give any assurances beyond that.

“There are things like wool week, for example, which is already fully booked for this year.

“We’ve actually got somebody looking specifically at that.

“Wool week will take place this year anyway, but beyond that we’ll have to see.”

He said the 60 North magazine was “up for grabs”.

“Certainly, by the end of the month we won’t have the editorial team that put that together, so that’s very much one of the questions that we are having to try to answer.”

He added: “We have been working on the basis of a decision taken by the council in September last year to continue the funding at the level which it has been and to issue another contract in January this year.


We’re disappointed for Shetland because we think it is an essential thing to develop Shetland and make it an attractive place to live and work. BRIAN GREGSON


“That was done and we bid for it. At the end of three months we heard nothing and were asked if we would consider a three month extension. That extension ends on 30th June, and in the meantime we’ve had a meeting on Monday followed by a hard copy letter yesterday saying we hadn’t been awarded the contract, and nobody else had either.”

He added: “Promoting Shetland is what the amenity trust has been doing for 30-odd years. We were delighted when eight or nine years ago the council said, ‘this is important to do, we want to promote that’.

“They drafted a contract which we won fair and square and allowed us to develop the team to run it.

“We’re disappointed for Shetland because we think it is an essential thing to develop Shetland and make it an attractive place to live and work.

“We’re disappointed by that side of it because the council apparently doesn’t have any intentions of continuing to promote Shetland, dare I say. Obviously we’re disappointed on our own behalf because we happen to think we’ve done a pretty good job since we’ve had the contract.”

• In-depth coverage in this week’s Shetland Times.


Add Your Comment
  • Gradon Forsyth

    • June 7th, 2017 17:33

    I am just writing to say that I am shocked to discover the Shetland council’s decision to stop the funding of the Shetland amenity trust, so much that I have opened up an online petition to try to reverse the decision as I feel it is vital to sustain Shetland on the world map

  • Alan Skinner

    • June 7th, 2017 17:59

    I have just heard Councillor Cooper being interviewed on Radio Shetland. He seemed completely unprepared and not at all in charge of the facts. It is astonishing that he is Chairman of Development. The tender process sounds a completely unprofessional shambles. There is obviously no contingency plan from the Council and Shetland’s reputation is damaged yet again.
    There have to be resignations or dismissals after this fiasco. Promote Shetland have done an absolutely outstanding job and it is outrageous that excellent quality people should be made redundant. I have been complimentary about the Council’s performance over the last five years, but this is a shameful beginning for the new regime.

    • Louise Scollay

      • June 7th, 2017 19:39

      Reckon Dianne Abbot could of done a better job of explaining yun as Cllr Cooper! (and that’s saying something)
      This is such a short sighted decision. The implications of this are going to be devastating to Shetland, it’s brand and it’s tourism.

    • louise

      • June 7th, 2017 23:27

      Sadly, there isn’t a “Shetland County Council” any more. This petition would need to be directed to “Shetland Islands Council.”

      • Gradon Forsyth

        • June 8th, 2017 10:36

        louise, I do apologise, an error on my behalf, the petition heading has now been corrected to Shetland Islands council

      • Fiona Cope

        • June 9th, 2017 1:10

        And strictly speaking it’s not “Shetland amenity trusts contract” not being renewed but Promote Shetland’s. Shetland Amenity Trust continues.

      • Fiona Cope

        • June 9th, 2017 15:54

        PS – The tartan Jimmy hat has no politician connotations! It was kindly given to me during chemo a few years back.

  • Peter Hamilton

    • June 7th, 2017 21:07

    Oh no Louise! I had been hoping this would have been an election free thread. Time now for Ian, John and Gordon to make some spurious connection in order to attack Miriam Brett…

  • Jonathan Wills

    • June 7th, 2017 22:21

    This decision is completely bonkers and a massive act of self-harm. The reasons given are patently spurious. Officials seem to have ignored a policy decision taken by elected members. I imagine newly-elected councillors will want to ask questions about the so-called “quality criteria” and the obviously biased and manipulated scoring method used to evaluate the bids from Shetland Amenity Trust and other tenderers. Fair enough if the amenity trust really did not meet the standards (despite exceeding them for the past eight years) but not to award the contract to anyone, and thus destroy Shetland’s hard won international online recognition, is grossly irresponsible. But, of course, the municipal underlings are never fired, however arrogant and overbearing they become. This stinks.

  • ian tinkler

    • June 8th, 2017 7:53

    Peter Hamilton, three good people, are losing their jobs here, and a true asset to Shetland folk is under threat. What a shallow wit you have to try and gain political points from such an event. It speaks volumes about you and does nothing to help Miriam, whom I have previously said is a genuine and nice young lady. It is just her politics I take issue with; she is on the wrong side. Some of her advisers and political friends, like yourself, are well highlighted by your sad attempt at wit, satire or just plain nastiness. Now just run along and take out your frustrations on someone else.

  • Peter Hamilton

    • June 8th, 2017 10:43

    And there he goes again. At least we agree it is a terrible decision.

  • John Groat

    • June 8th, 2017 15:47

    Do I see the hand of outside consultants in this project and final decision, or is it that they just want to take it in house to secure SIC jobs ? Very strange decision considering the success of Promote Shetland over the past eight years.

  • Sandra Brooks

    • June 9th, 2017 11:47

    It seems very short sighted to not to renew Promote Shetland. If you want more tourists to visit Shetland and bring in the much needed revenue that the business’s need then the contract should be renewed for always.

    It also mean’s the loss of three jobs.


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