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Sutherland groups can apply to £1m fund for local paths

By John Davidson

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The historic Ardnish Path on the Isle of Skye.
The historic Ardnish Path on the Isle of Skye.

More than £1 million has been made available for community groups to develop paths in their area.

Organisations in Sutherland and across the Highlands are being encouraged to apply to the Ian Findlay Path Fund (IFPF), which is now open for a third year.

Administered by Scotland’s national walking charity, Paths for All, on behalf of Transport Scotland and the Scottish Government, the IFPF will support projects that aim to enable more people to walk, wheel, or cycle for everyday journeys through the improvement of local path networks.

Eligible groups with plans to improve active travel networks in and around their communities can apply for a grant ranging from £10,000 to £100,000 towards the cost of project delivery. Funding is also available through the fund to cover the cost of producing detailed design plans for projects at an earlier stage of their development.

Yvonne McLeod, senior development officer for the fund at Paths for All, said: “The time since the fund initially opened in August 2022 has just flown by and it is astonishing to look back and see just how much has already been achieved by communities all across Scotland in such a short space of time.

“The IFPF team has made a concerted effort to visit community groups interested in applying, in a bid to learn more about their projects. It has been both very enjoyable and invaluable learning about how we can support groups to deliver a very wide range of projects. Helping them turn their vision into reality has been an absolute privilege.

“Seeing the difference the fund is making and speaking to the people who have benefited is quite humbling and is a fitting legacy for Ian Findlay, in whose name the fund was established.

“We are absolutely delighted to be reopening the fund for its third round and are very much looking forward to seeing what comes next.”

The fund has awarded more than £2.5 million since its inception and supported nearly 40 community led projects, including revitalising the historic Ardnish Path on Skye to enabling Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh to create an entirely new active travel link.

The fund uniquely offers a combination of financial support, advice, and guidance with the aim of empowering communities to implement impactful changes through delivery of the projects they are passionate about.

Named in honour of the late Ian Findlay CBE, former chief officer of Paths for All, the fund continues his vision of making Scotland's great outdoors more accessible to all.

Applications will be accepted until February 2025 or sooner if all funding is allocated within this time. Interested groups should contact the IFPF team at IFPF@pathsforall.org.uk to discuss their projects in the first instance. Guidance for who may apply and the type of things that may be funded can be found on the Paths for All website.

Paths for All works to create more opportunities and better environments for everyone in Scotland, no matter who they are or where they live, to stay active through walking, wheeling, scooting or cycling.

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