26th March 2019
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Vibrant voluntary sector highlights its successes

It may have been a challenging year for the third sector, but Voluntary Action Shetland (VAS) has highlighted a wealth of figures showing the vibrancy of charitable and voluntary organisations.

Voluntary Action Shetland team leader Wendy Hand with the document produced to highlight the work taking place across the isles. Photo: Dave Donaldson

A list of facts and figures has been produced by VAS which show just what the sector has achieved during 2018.

It is hoped the figures could be used to argue the case for more long-term funding. VAS says the voluntary sector benefits the isles’ economy to the tune of £20 million a year.

It comes less than a month after Shetland Women’s Aid announced it was scaling down the level of support it was offering to clients, with chairwoman Catherine Williams citing funding cuts as a “concerning” issue.

The new figures, which have been described as a “taste of the third sector”, have followed a forum meeting which allowed a wide range of bodies to come together for peer support.

During the year VAS helped organisations based in Lerwick’s Market House bring in £3.8 million, with around a quarter of that coming from outwith the isles, providing a welcome boost for Shetland’s coffers.

VAS team leader Wendy Hand says the findings gave a real “wow factor”.

“What we’ve found is that we’ve got a strength in coming together – a stronger voice,” she said.

“The year has been negative from a funding point of view. Things are getting harder. We have to look at sustainability, going forward.

“But we thought, ‘let’s have a celebration of what we’ve achieved’. It was great to take that step back and look at it.”

• For more findings from the report see Friday’s Shetland Times.

About Ryan Taylor

Ryan Taylor has worked as a reporter since 1995, and has been at The Shetland Times since 2007, covering a wide variety of news topics. Before then he reported for other newspapers in the Highlands, where he was raised, and in Fife, where he began his career with DC Thomson. He also has experience in broadcast journalism with Grampian Television. He has lived in Shetland since 2002, where he harbours an unhealthy interest in old cars and motorbikes.

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