Major cash boost for Highlands and Islands communities

Communities in the Highlands and Islands have been awarded more than £2 million to find new ways to improve people’s lives and services.

The funding will benefit 22 community and third sector groups who will use the investment to deliver innovative and long-lasting projects which tackle inequality, poverty and support inclusion in the local community.

The projects span across arts and heritage, local history and environment, creative writing, and music and dance and in the Western Isles groups such as An Lanntair’s Full Circle Western Isles; Cearns Community Development Project; Western Isles Community Energy Trust; Comunn Eachdraidh Nis - Integrated Pathways; Cothrom Ltd. - Grow Me; Kinloch Historical Society - Kinloch Community Inclusion Project; Taigh Chearsabhagh Trust - Cridhe Ar(t) Taigh Chearsabhagh; Urachadh Uibhist - Consulting and Preparing the Case for an Outdoor Nursery Service in Uist and Urras Coimhearsnachd Bhradhagair agus Arnoil - Grinneabhat Taigh Ceilidh will benefit from the funds available.

The funding will be delivered through the Aspiring Communities Fund (ACF) and is supported through the European Social Fund.

Talking about the funding Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell, said: “Local communities understand what works in their own areas, and this funding will enable them to help create a more equal Scotland.

“It will support organisations across the Highlands and Islands to deliver tangible, innovative approaches to improve lives, based on local priorities, and will address poverty and inequality in their area.

“Each of the projects backed by the Aspiring Communities Fund is empowering and enabling local people to tackle the disadvantages they face, leaving a long-lasting positive impact on their communities and their lives.”

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) works with more than 200 community groups and social enterprises across the region and supported the development of the fund.

Douglas Cowan, HIE’s director of strengthening communities said: “The fund offers a significant opportunity for community organisations across the Highlands and Islands to develop and design a range of locally relevant services to address local circumstances and needs.

“It is designed to empower communities and will help to strengthen community resilience, sustainability and quality of life. It’s great to see projects in the Highlands and Islands receiving support through this fund which will help them deliver new initiatives and services for their communities.”