£1.3m safety net in place to help protect jobs and services
Shetland Charitable Trust has put in place a £1.3m safety net to help four of Shetland’s biggest charities which are struggling to cope with the loss of customers during Covid-19 restrictions.
The contingency fund for 2021/22 will be available in case Shetland Recreational Trust, Shetland Amenity Trust and Shetland Arts suffer a repeat of the financial hardship endured this year as a result of a drastic drop in trade and visitors. A similar arrangement is being offered to the social enterprise company COPE which operates retail outlets where sales have been hit.
Trust chairman Dr Andrew Cooper said: “The signs are positive that we might soon be able to resume the social and recreational activities denied to all of us during the pandemic. We have to hope so for many good reasons, but it’s important that Shetland Charitable Trust is ready to answer the call from the three trusts and COPE if restrictions on social contact continue to prevent us supporting their valued services.”
The one-off contingency fund was agreed by trustees who met today to set the trust’s budget for 2021/22. Overall, the trust is prepared to spend £12m, up from £10m this year.
Trustees agreed payments of £8.3m under the Main Grant Scheme, including annual funding packages for the three trusts and other major charitable organisations in Shetland. Details of the allocations will be released next week once applicants have been informed.
The trust’s five-year financial strategy put in place last year aims to use its funds to benefit and improve the quality of life of all people living in Shetland and to preserve the trust reserves for future generations.
The charitable trust’s funds invested around the world have shown strong growth since the losses of the first three months of 2020 when Covid-19 struck. Trustees heard that external investments by the fund managers leapt in value by £114.5m in the six months to the end of September, reaching a total value of £411.8m.
The trust is benefiting from investing in business sectors, such as technology, which have seen accelerated growth during the virus crisis. However, some UK investments have not fared so well with Brexit uncertainty contributing to a stagnant market, followed by concerns about the economy resulting from the Covid-19 crisis.
Since it began in 1976, the charitable trust has paid out around £330 million to local organisations. Priorities have remained the support of services to people in need, the elderly, children and young people, as well as contributing to maintaining and developing Shetland’s environment.
Contact: John Robertson
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