Meeting the funders roadshow

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To mark the launch of the Outer Hebrides LEADER and European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) 2014-2020 Programmes, the Outer Hebrides LEADER and EMFF Local Action Groups, in co-operation with Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s Regeneration Team, have organised an ‘Outer Hebrides Meet the Funder Roadshow 2016’ to take place throughout the islands in February.

With events taking place in Stornoway, Tarbert, Balivanich and Castlebay community groups and businesses will get the opportunity to meet with various funding bodies, who may be able to assist with developing their projects, by providing useful advice on needs and any potential financial assistance.

The Big Lottery Fund, Business Gateway, Scottish Natural Heritage, Western Isles Development Trust are just a few of the organisations that will join LEADER, EMFF and the Comhairle’s Regeneration team on each day and Storas Uibhist will also be present at the Balivanich event.

All events will run from 1pm-7.30pm in the following locations:

Tuesday 16 February at Lews Castle Museum Community Room, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis

Wednesday 17 February at Balivanich Community Centre, Isle of Benbecula

Thursday 18 February at Castlebay Community centre, Isle of Barra

Tuesday 23 February at Tarbert Community Centre, Isle of Harris

The Outer Hebrides LEADER 2014-2020 Programme will provide support to community enterprises, groups and businesses to develop innovative community-led projects and developments.

The Outer Hebrides LEADER Co-ordinator, Kathlene Morrison, stated: “LEADER has previously supported many innovative projects throughout the islands and encourages all groups and businesses who have an idea to come along to their local event”.

The new European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) was launched recently covering a number of areas which will support the delivery of sustainable economic growth in the sea fisheries and aquaculture sectors and supports communities to deliver economic benefits.

Support is available across a number of different areas including fishing vessel energy improvements, investments on board fishing vessels, investments to shore based facilities, aquaculture, processing and marketing.

Pete Middleton, Outer Hebrides EMFF Officer said: “This roadshow gives fishing communities a great chance to find out more about these funding opportunities.”

The Comhairle’s Chair of Sustainable Development Committee, Cllr Alasdair MacLeod, added: “The Comhairle’s Regeneration Team will be attending each ‘Meet the Funder’ event and they have supported a total of 21 community economic development projects so far from the Community Capital Grant Fund levering in £8.40 of external funding for every £1 of Comhairle funding.”

If you are thinking of starting a business, thinking of expanding your existing business or require funding of some general business advice the Comhairle’s Business Gateway team will also be available to provide essential business advice and support.

Scottish Natural Heritage will also be present to provide advice on the natural environment including access and biodiversity which may impact or be the focus of your new projects or businesses.

A Big Lottery Fund Scotland spokesperson commented: “We are delighted to be meeting groups across the Western Isles to discuss our new funding programmes with them. We recently opened a new five-year £250 million funding scheme – with a focus on helping people and communities most in need.

“We have refreshed our approach so we will work with communities and organisations to support activity which is people centred, strengths based and has good local connections and we look forward to receiving applications from like-minded organisations – ensuring our Lottery funds make a truly life-changing and inspirational difference.”

For further information on the events please do not hesitate to contact either Kathlene Morrison Outer Hebrides LEADER Co-ordinator or David MacLeay, Senior Regeneration Officer on 0845 6007090.

Pictured is Leverburgh Community Pontoons, Isle of Harris - LEADER funded project.