Disability Shetland will benefit from a major funding boost with almost £100,000 from Children in Need coming to the charity over three years.
The money will help the organisation cover costs of services it provides to children with disabilities – chiefly Saturday clubs, which have proved popular with both parents and children.
It follows a previous Children in Need application which failed to attract funds.
Trustees, particularly daring septuagenarian Sandy Peterson who undertook a series of fundraising ventures, have done much since then to raise the charity’s profile and raise vital cash. Around £50,000 has been raised by supporters of the charity over the last two years.
Team leader Stephanie Bain voiced “relief and delight” that the latest application to Children in Need had proved successful.
But she said the charity still needed support from the generous public.
“It’s £99,722 split into three years – so the first year we get just over 32, and then 33 and another 33.
“That’s to cover the children’s side of things. It will cover the stuff that we’re already doing, making sure we can do that for another three years.
“That will cover the Saturday clubs, our integrated clubs and the one to one stuff that we do up in Yell and Unst and Urafirth and North Roe.”
She added: “Local folk, the community, has been throwing money at us recently, so it’s been great.
“Trustees really put themselves out there. Everybody kens who Sandy is now – he was climbing Ronas Hill, I mean, he’s in his 70s.”
She admitted there had been “a real panic” when the previous application to Children in Need was rejected – particularly because of the important work Disability Shetland does.
“Disability Shetland does work that nobody else does outwith the council,” she said.
“There’s social care and there’s obviously education, but there’s no other sort of thing you can put your bairn to for bairns with disabilities.
“We were trying other places for money, but we put that much into Children in Need locally, it’s fine to get it back for local stuff.”
The news came as Whalsay Gala committee members agreed to donate surplus cash from a week of activities to Disability Shetland.
“Whalsay are doing loads because they’ve got a lot of bairns involved accessing more services. Parents are saying ‘what are we going to do if we don’t have this?’.”
She said continued support was “still really important” because the money being given did not cover everything that the charity wanted to do.
“When you put funding applications they’ll never give you the full amount. There’s always bits you have to fund yourself,” she said, adding the charity still did a lot of work relating to adults who used its services.
“This is just a peerie part of it, so we still need folk to be behind us, and they are.
“This keeps us running but we want to do new stuff as well.”