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Think Local, Be Local is theme of Highlands and Islands Climate Festival

By Alan Hendry

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Culduthel Woods Group in Inverness hosted its first woodland gathering as part of last year's Highland Climate Festival to celebrate community ownership.
Culduthel Woods Group in Inverness hosted its first woodland gathering as part of last year's Highland Climate Festival to celebrate community ownership.

Organisers of the 2023 Highlands and Islands Climate Festival say they are looking forward to seeing a range of events being planned across the region.

The festival is being billed as a celebration of localism and community engagement, with a focus on climate action, and will take place throughout September.

It follows the success of two independent festivals last summer which saw more than 150 events taking place either in person or online. These ranged from active travel sessions to film screenings, as well as talks, swap events and growing sessions.

The festival's digital platforms were launched this week by the Highlands and Islands Climate Hub and a dedicated working group of community groups and organisations.

The theme is Think Local, Be Local. Groups are encouraged to host events that showcase the community climate action work they are carrying out and engage with the wider community to highlight that climate action can take many forms.

The Highlands and Islands Climate Hub has produced an independent digital presence for the festival. This includes a dedicated website and social media platforms.

Hub manager Joan Lawrie said: “The formation of the working group has been brilliant to make sure there has been community representation from the outset. We’re thrilled to be launching the website and social media channels and can’t wait to see events and funding applications flood in.

"The beauty of the festival is that the decision-making powers lie with the communities that take part. Our working group has representatives from Shetland to Skye who have worked together to produce an inclusive and exciting festival offering.”

Members of the hub team have worked with Highland-based website designer Kirsty M Design and artist Aimee Lockwood to produce the digital presence and festival brand. They say careful consideration went into each planning element to ensure inclusivity and equal representation for all communities.

Hub and membership coordinator Marion Reid said: “Working with Kirsty and Aimee to create the website and bring the brand to life has been incredible. Kirsty quickly understood what we were hoping to achieve, as did Aimee who created illustrations that represent the festival and our vibrant Highland communities perfectly.

"It’s important to us that our digital presence is mindful of carbon impacts. This was taken into consideration at every step of the planning and design process.”

The social media hashtags are #HiClimateFest #HiLocal.

In addition to producing the digital presence, the Highlands and Islands Climate Hub offers financial support to communities to host festival events. There are two small grant funds open for applications via the new website, www.hiclimatefest.co.uk – the Event Fund and the Big Local Picnic Fund.

The Event Fund offers up to £250 for communities to host events. This could cover professional fees, film screening costs, travel, venue hire and other expenses.

The Big Local Picnic Fund offers up to £200 so that communities can host an indoor or outdoor picnic which brings the community together to celebrate local food and drink.

Within the website, users will also find helpful resources to make sure their events run as straightforward as possible. These resources include a branding pack complete with poster templates and social media cards, template health-and-safety documents and guides on hosting a sustainable event.

Once communities have decided on the event they would like to host, they are encouraged to register it via the website.

An online information session which will talk communities through how to participate in the festival will take place on Wednesday, July 12, from 2pm.

The Highlands and Islands Climate Hub is a Scottish Government funded project.

The festival will coincide with the Scottish Government’s Scottish Climate Week.

Funding will be awarded to members of the Highlands and Islands Climate Hub only.

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