Funding boost for Western Isles projects

Hundreds of thousands of pounds have been ploughed into businesses and communities in the Outer Hebrides as part of the latest Rural Priorities funding round.

Five projects have been given the green light, safeguarding or creating around 20 jobs in the region and providing much needed support to local businesses and the wider community.

Among the projects being supported by the vital funding are Teampull na Trionaid Conservation Association who received 193,997 pounds to enhance and preserve North Uist’s Teampull na Trionaid, or ‘Church of the Holy Trinity’, one of the most impressive and best known medieval churches in Western Scotland.

Also benefitting from the investment is the company Lickisto Blackhouse and Camping, which has been running a small scale camping business on the east side of the Isle of Harris for the last 18 months.

The business has been very successful since its opening, and was classed as ‘Number 1 in Scotland’ by ‘Cool Camping’ in its first year of trading.

Its proprietors will receive £13,745 to expand the business so that it better meets the market demand for comfortable camping or ‘glamping’.

Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment Richard Lochhead said:

“A diverse range of valuable community, business and environmental projects will benefit in the coming years from the latest awards under our Rural Development Programme.

“The investment of 538,280 pounds of Scottish and EU funding in the Outer Hebrides will create or safeguard around 20 jobs and help to spark sustainable economic growth in the area for future generations. It will enhance biodiversity, increase renewable energy and reduce the effects of climate change.

“The Scottish Government has ensured the maximum amount of funding is available to the widest range of recipients possible in this funding round, despite budget cuts imposed by the UK Government.

“We have now held ten Rural Priorities funding rounds in only three years, ploughing over 450 million pounds of awards into our rural communities to kick-start more than 5,650 exciting projects. We will soon publish details of a further Rural Priorities round to take place in the autumn. In the meantime, we’re working in partnership with stakeholders to make sure that funding is targeted where it is needed most.

“I’m confident that Rural Priorities can continue to bring maximum benefit to rural Scotland until the scheme’s end in 2013.”

Further announcements concerning funding in the region are still to be made, with projects being further assessed to ensure they contribute to national outcomes and deliver maximum benefit.