Loot for Lerwick gives boost to town charities

Local groups will gain a cash windfall after “Loot for Lerwick” was held at the Islesburgh Community Centre.

The participatory budgeting event allowed a host of visitors to cast their votes for their favourite good causes.

In all, 260 people went through Islesburgh’s doors to find out more from the competing groups – a turn-out organisers Lerwick Community Council described as “fabulous”.

Grants of up to £1,000 were being made available as part of the initiative, with eight organisations vying for funding boosts.

Representatives from the various groups were on hand to provide information to visitors on what they needed the vital funds for.

Disability Shetland will benefit from £950 as a result of the event, while Bell’s Brae Primary Pupil Council stands to gain £781.57.

Islesburgh Drama Group gets the full amount, with £1,000 being made available. Shetland Amateur Athletics Club will also get a grand in the hand, as will Lerwick Boating Boating Club.

There was £268.43 left after the five top favourite groups had been awarded their grants. That sum was awarded to Year of Young People Ambassadors, in conjunction with the Scottish Youth Parliament, to put towards the £1,000 asked for.

Speaking after the event, community council chairman, Jim Anderson, said the day had been a great success. He added all the competing groups had put in a huge amount of effort.

“I think everybody was more than impressed,” he said.

“There were 260 votes. It was busy the whole morning, and even the interaction between the groups themselves was all quite good.

“To my mind it was a 100 per cent success.”

The community council decided to extend the deadline in October when not a single application was received.

But Mr Anderson said extending the deadline had since proved well worthwhile.


There were 260 votes. It was busy the whole morning, and even the interaction between the groups themselves was all quite good. JIM ANDERSON


“We were conscious of the fact we were running into the Christmas period. We were always trying to get a free weekend and there were the October holidays right in the middle of it.

“Our time scale was adventurous in the first instance, but we got more than enough interest. It was really well attended and the format we chose this time worked a lot better than what we had last year.”

Mr Anderson said visitors had warmed to the opportunity to ask questions of the groups. He said he preferred that method than the one adopted for the 2016 event, which saw group representatives under more pressure as they gave presentations to visitors.

“This way, with the set up of stalls, it allowed folk to go round and have a chat with them. It meant folk who were there were better able to make a decision. It increased awareness across the board.”

Left empty-handed was Archaeology Shetland and the North Staneyhill Community Association, which had both been in the running for funding as well.

But Mr Anderson said those groups would be pointed towards Michael Duncan from the council’s development department to see if other funding streams could perhaps be identified.

“Part of his job is working with external groups and potential funding for them,” he said.

He added “the calibre of the displays and the effort everybody put in” was worthy of mention.

“Thanks to everybody who turned up. All the displays were of a pretty high calibre. Everybody made a real effort.”



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