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A new direction for the Shetland Amenity Trust

Published: 15 November 2019

At their meeting this morning, Friday 15 November, Trustees will launch ‘Caring for Shetland’s heritage’, their new Strategic Plan, which endorses a new direction for the Trust’s future activity.

The plan outlines what Trustees want to achieve for Shetland and for the Trust over the next five years.  The work of the Trust ranges from archaeology to woodlands, Da Voar Redd Up to Wool Week, and Sumburgh Head to the Museum and Archives.  Although these activities are rooted in the local community, they support efforts to strengthen the economy.  Volunteers make a large contribution, especially during Da Redd Up, when around 4,000 people are involved.

The key ambition of the plan is to ensure that Shetland’s natural and cultural heritage is cared for while making it as accessible as possible to all.  Ruth Mackenzie, Chair of the Shetland Amenity Trust 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.  During that time, the Trust has 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 of this feedback has been considered as the Trustees finalised their Plan. 

Alastair Hamilton, the Trust’s Vice-Chair, 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.”

He continued: “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 online, along with the consultation feedback and analysis, at www.shetlandamenity.org/Strategic-Plan.