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Area committee chair welcomes grants for projects across Sutherland

By Niall Harkiss

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14 community projects across Sutherland have been awarded funding totalling £528,500 from the area’s Community Regeneration Fund.

Richard Gale
Richard Gale

Councillor Richard Gale, chair of the Sutherland area committee, welcomed the successful bids.

He said: “I am delighted that we were able to grant a significant number of projects the funding they applied for.

"Some projects have asked for investment towards the development of playparks in the area, the introduction of wellbeing initiatives supporting vulnerable members of our communities, and the employment of several positions to work in the area.”

Lairg & District Community Initiatives (LDCI) secured £60,000 for a project to install a new 'all-abilities' chilren's playpark on land adjacent to Ferrycroft Visitor Centre.

In partnership with Highland Council, who have agreed to maintain the site if funding was secured, LDCI say the playpark development is the "first stage" in improving the wider Ferrycroft site to make it a "focal point" of central Sutherland.

Durness Community Group also secured a grant of £56,899 for playpark renovation. The group aim to install new equipment at a site on School Road, which is in close proximity to Durness Primary School and Nursery.

Funding for the village park will be used to supply and install new equipment, while also buying two recycled plastic picnic benches and two outdoor park benches.

Durness Community Group are fundraising for a new play park in the village.
Durness Community Group are fundraising for a new play park in the village.

RELATED: Fundraising drive for new, inclusive play area in north-west village

Ross Street playpark in Golspie was also the subject of an application from Go Golspie Development Trust, who secured £85,000 to refurbish and replace dilapidated play equipment and benches.

The funding will allow the well-used recreational space to be kitted out with new accessible equipment – such as a sensory boardwalk and a roundabout with wheelchair access – as well as a new entrance, paths, signs and lighting.

An award of £18,765 was also granted to Golspie Golf Club, who are aiming to put in place a long term water management solution to ensure the sustainable of the course.

Funding will now allow the club to drill a borehole to enable the installation of a groundwater abstraction system which they hope will tackle drought conditions.

RELATED: Community and neighbouring golf courses rally round to help restore Golspie Golf Club after major storm damage

A Strathnaver Museum initiative to host professional and curated exhibitions has moved a step closer to its target March start date.

The recently refurbished museum has been awarded £5755 for its project, Exploring the Archives, which aims to welcome professional artists to the museum to explore topics relevant to the community, create new artwork and exhibit items from their collection.

Strathnaver Museum
Strathnaver Museum

The museum requested funding to cover costs of materials, marketing, hospitality, an events programme and residency for artists.

RELATED: Strathnaver Museum relaunched following £2.3 million 'transformation'

A grant of £90,000 has been awarded to Assynt Development Trust (ADT) to cover the cost of obtaining a building warrant and road construction consent connected to the building of 10 housing units at Lochinver Glebe.

Plans for the two-site development, which forms part of a wider community-led housing initiative, were submitted to Highland Council in November.

Ten new homes will be built in the first phase of the Lochinver Glebe development. Photo: Oberlanders Architects
Ten new homes will be built in the first phase of the Lochinver Glebe development. Photo: Oberlanders Architects

RELATED: Plan to build 10 homes on Glebe land at Lochinver is 'hugely important milestone'

ADT received further award of £21,600 for the continuation of its development officer post.

The People's Mobile Archive (PMA), a "ground-breaking" social wellbeing movement aimed at addressing social exclusion, loneliness, and isolation in Helmsdale, has secured a £31,964 award.

The project, led by Helmsdale Heritage and Arts Society (Timespan), plans to utilise its diverse heritage collections of over 12,000 items to provide several services and events to "promote a sense of community belonging".

RELATED: Community heritage library and film archive launched in Helmsdale

Brora Development Trust were awarded two separate grants of £29,163 and £20,250 as it continues to work on a three-year programme of community-led projects in and around the village.

A first grant of £29,163 has been approved to fund its Development Officer project, to continue the role beyond March 2024.

A second award, for £20,250, was awarded to fund the continuation of a full time Visitor Information Officer. March 2024.

Brora Development Trust's recently appointed visitor information officer, Odhran McLeod.
Brora Development Trust's recently appointed visitor information officer, Odhran McLeod.

RELATED: New Brora visitor officer's 'pleasure' at appointment

Dornoch Heritage SCIO were awarded £18,985 for their Historylinks Heritage Hub community programme. Run from their newly built Heritage Hub, the company aims to encourage local residents to use the new facility as a community-led resourse used to "enjoy heritage" and to foster well being and a "strong sense of belonging".

A project to improve access to amenities and services for isolated, older and vulnerable people in north-Sutherland has secured £30,360.

Farr North Community Development Trust requested funding for two 20-hour posts (manager and development officer) to enable the delivery of the Farr community action plan covering community councils of Bettyhill, Strathnaver, Altnaharra, Strathy, Armadale and Melvich.

In an application on behalf of NorthWest2045 (NW2045), Assynt Development Trust (ADT) has secured a grant £50,110 to address the causes of rural depopulation across north-west Sutherland.

NW2045, who represent areas from Coigach to Durness and the east of Bettyhill, have outlined a need for a project officer to lead the momentum behind its community-led place plan.

Community Regeneration Funding is an umbrella term for a number of funds that are available for communities/organisations to access in Highland.

It comprises elements of the UK Government’s Shared Prosperity Fund along with the Highland Coastal Communities Fund and the Place Based Investment Programme, both of which are Scottish Government Funding streams to support economic regeneration and sustainable development in Highland.

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