Shetland Amenity Trust has launched a new strategy, “Caring for Shetland’s Heritage”, which endorses a new direction for the organisation’s future activity.
The plan outlines what trustees want to achieve for the isles and for the trust over the next five years.
The work of the trust ranges from archaeology to woodlands, Da Voar Redd Up to Shetland Wool Week, and Sumburgh Head to the museum and archives.
Although those activities are rooted in the local community, they are said to support efforts to strengthen the economy. Volunteers make a large contribution, especially during the redd up when around 4,000 people are involved.
Amenity trust chairwoman Ruth Mackenzie said the key ambition of the plan is to ensure that Shetland’s natural and cultural heritage was cared for while making it as accessible as possible to all.
She said: “Shetland has outstanding natural and cultural heritage but it is facing some huge challenges. Not least of these are the impacts of a changing climate and reducing funding.
“As a trust we need to ensure that people can engage with our heritage and work with us to care for it. Vitally, we also need to ensure that the trust itself is fit for purpose and sustainable in the longer term.”
The plan has been over six months in the making and during that time Mrs Mackenzie said the trust had taken stock of its own priorities and the priorities for Shetland.
Earlier this year the trust’s consultation programme included public drop-in events and extensive discussions with staff, trustees, partners and the public. These explored the state of Shetland’s natural and cultural heritage and considered the focus of the trust and its work. All that feedback was considered as the trustees finalised their plan.
Vice-chairman Alastair Hamilton said: “Trustees and staff have worked hard to produce this plan. But it doesn’t exist in isolation: it’s closely linked with wider efforts to make Shetland an even more attractive place in which to live, work, or study, and of course to visit.
“Our heritage not only inspires pride and confidence, it also stimulates the many kinds of creativity that underpin our economy. We’re fortunate to be part of a community that’s so engaged in, and enthusiastic about, that heritage.
“It’s well known that the trust and its staff have had a challenging few years. We’ve had to face up to many organisational issues and we do have a long way to go.
“However, we’re making progress thanks to our dedicated, skilled staff, committed trustees and the support of partners and the community. I’m sure this new plan will provide an excellent foundation for the next five years.”
The plan can be seen here, along with the consultation feedback and analysis.