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Expressions of interest invited for new fund

By David G Scott

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Over £400,000 will be available in Caithness as part of a funding initiative set up by Highland Council and supported by Scottish Government.

The council is inviting communities to come forward with expressions of interest for projects that, if successful, could receive a share of funding aimed at supporting coastal communities throughout Highland.

The Highland Coastal Communities Fund has been set up by the council following an allocation of over £3 million from the Scottish Government of Crown Estates revenue funding. Most of the funding (£2.6m) is to be devolved to area committees with a strategic fund of 15 per cent being retained for Highland wide projects.

Wick and other parts of the county could benefit from the funding initiative. Picture: DGS
Wick and other parts of the county could benefit from the funding initiative. Picture: DGS

The eligibility criteria for deciding which projects go forward for consideration and the decision on how much funding is available to each geographic area has been calculated in line with same formula used by the Scottish Government to allocate the funding across Scotland.

The distribution across Highland area committees will be as follows:

Caithness – £409,652

Black Isle, Dingwall and Seaforth – £22,015

Easter Ross – £108,107

Inverness – £12,156

Lochaber – £462,032

Nairnshire – £12,090

Skye and Rassay – £505,492

Sutherland – £700,407

Wester Ross, Strathpeffer and Lochalsh – £347,543

Chair of the council’s environment and infrastructure committee, Councillor Trish Robertson said: “I hope communities take up this opportunity to submit their expressions of interest as this funding can make a difference getting projects up and running that will bring a very welcomed boost to our coastal communities and play a part in the wider economic recovery of the Highlands.

“In line with our commitment to localism, the decision on which eligible projects will receive funding will be taken by members at Area Committees so local decisions will be made about local applications.

Expressions of interest can be submitted using a form on the council’s website where further information about the scheme is provided – www.highland.gov.uk/coastalcommunitiesfund

The deadline for expressions of interests for this first round of funding to be submitted is Friday, December 3. A second round of expressions of interest will take place in January 2021.

Council leader, Councillor Margaret Davidson, said: “It is good news that we are at this stage of asking communities to engage with us so we can distribute the profits from the marine assets of the Crown Estate across Highland coastal communities.

"The team of our staff managing the project have made the process to apply as straightforward and accessible for applicants as possible. I am sure there will be a lot of interest in this first tranche of funding, so I advise communities to get in touch with their expressions of interest before the deadline of Friday, December 3.”

SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT VIEWPOINT: Apply early to get new benefit

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