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Shetland Amenity Trust reflects on a busy year

Published: 17 December 2019

Annual Review 2018-19 CoverThe Shetland Amenity Trust (SAT) published its annual review this week looking back over the 2018/19 financial year.   It has been a busy year for the Trust as it continued to deliver a range of services, projects and initiatives all aimed at caring for Shetland’s natural and cultural heritage. 

The Trust has had a number of well publicised financial challenges in recent years and is now emerging under new leadership and with a key focus on effective governance.  The review provides a summary of just some of the key activities the Trust has undertaken over the past financial year.  Highlights include the Hans Holbein exhibition which saw the Trust exhibit one of the most important artworks ever to come to Shetland.  As lead partner they also hosted the Follow The Vikings Roadshow which toured Europe with a professional cast engaging world-wide audiences in our Viking heritage.  A range of environmental improvement, natural and cultural heritage projects and services were also delivered for the benefit of Shetland.  The Trust’s work ranges from Da Voar Redd-up to tree planting, Sumburgh Head lighthouse to the Museum and Archives, and Wool Week to the regional archaeology service.

The Trust’s accounts for 2018/19 have been fully audited and demonstrate that the Trust has managed to reduce its debt by over 12% from the previous financial year.  This is despite cuts of over £75,000 from key funding partners in a single year. 

Chair of the Trust, Ruth Mackenzie said, “I am immensely proud of the work we have done over the past year in what have been challenging circumstances.  The Hans Holbein exhibition was a real highlight for me, and looking back on the rest of the year it is amazing how much has been achieved.   I cannot thank the Trustees and Staff enough for their continued commitment and hard work.   Our thanks must also go to our funders, partners, volunteers and to the Shetland Community for their continued support.”

Natural heritage activities saw the Trust germinate over 5,000 trees, restoring over 100 acres of peatland – the equivalent of saving 2,000 tonnes of carbon emissions, collecting and de-polluting over 388 end of life cars, and delivering Da Voar Redd Up with volunteers collecting over 65 tonnes of rubbish.  They also provided expert natural heritage advice to partners to inform development proposals.

SAT surveyed over 700km of Core Paths on behalf of the Council, managed the delivery of major events such as Wool Week, Boat Week and Nature Festival and engaged over 1,700 school children in heritage activities.   They welcomed over 100,500 people to attractions at Sumburgh Head, the Crofthouse Museum, Old Scatness and the Shetland Museum and Archives.  The Museum service received donations of 295 new artefacts into Shetland’s collection over the year and hosted over 1,000 researchers in the Archives.  The Trust also operate the Regional Archaeology Service for Shetland advising on planning applications and recorded 64 new archaeology sites during the year.

Mat Roberts, Chief Executive of the Trust commented, “We have made fantastic progress towards setting the Trust on the road to a more sustainable future.  Unfortunately we still have challenges to face as we continue to see our funding reduce and our costs rise.  The team are working hard to increase our income from other sources, to make efficiencies, and to ensure we have a sustainable business model for the future.  We have achieved some remarkable things this year, and our ambition must be to continue to deliver for the people of Shetland and their heritage.”

You can read the Annual Review here.