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What are the priorities for wind farms funds?

September 26th 2022

A major public consultation to find the strategic priorities for using the Viking community benefit funds is being launched this week with the publication of an initial discussion paper, ‘Shetland Today’, outlining the issues and challenges for the islands as well as the strengths and opportunities.

Shetland Community Benefit Fund (SCBF) is holding the consultation to identify the community’s ideas and priorities for the £2.2m a year it will receive from the Viking Community Fund once the wind farm is operational in 2024. SCBF hopes the fund will be used to make significant changes in the islands, supplementing any existing funding from other sources, and leaving lasting legacies throughout the islands. The results of the consultation will be used to prepare a Business Plan for SCBF’s use of these funds.

Consultancy company IBP Strategy & Research will conduct the consultation independently from SCBF and they have produced ‘Shetland Today’ to set the scene for the consultation. It provides an overview of what is happening in Shetland now, the strengths we have, the opportunities available, the threats we face and areas where potential weaknesses have been identified. Its aim is to put forward some key questions that will be addressed in the next phase of consultation, looking at how Shetland Community Benefit Fund can contribute to these in a positive way.

This is the first stage of the nine-month consultation and the publication will be used as the basis for an extensive programme of community and stakeholder workshops, focus groups, telephone interviews and surveys, including a community survey form that will be made available online and delivered to every household in the islands.

Eddy Graham, Director of IBP, said: “We hope that this stage of consultation will be a creative process that generates ideas about how the Viking Community Fund can best contribute to addressing the challenges and opportunities that the islands face. This will be the first stage of an extended consultation programme over the next 9 months which we hope will reach every corner of Shetland and its communities”.

The “Shetland Today” discussion document is available on the consultation web pages at: www.ibp.eu.com/VCFconsultation which also allows people to register for the consultation mailing list. Details of the workshop programme are being finalised and will be widely communicated over the next few weeks. Copies of the document are also available from [email protected] by phoning IBP’s offices on 01698 532021.