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Lybster and Lyth arts organisations enjoy success with Ideas Fund

By David G Scott

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A new grants scheme will benefit arts organisations in Lybster and Lyth after a successful funding bid was announced this week.

Among 13 projects based in the Highlands and Islands that will benefit from the Ideas Fund are two from Caithness – North Lands Creative and Lyth arts Centre.

The Ideas Fund is a new grants scheme, run by the British Science Association and funded by the Wellcome Trust, that enables the UK public to develop and try out ideas that address problems related to mental wellbeing through collaborating with professional researchers.

Lyth Arts Centre hosting an event before the lockdown. Picture: DGS
Lyth Arts Centre hosting an event before the lockdown. Picture: DGS

The initial application round received a total of 146 applications with 42 projects having now been selected to receive funding. The projects feature a broad range of topics from sport, nature and nutrition to issues faced by disabled, refugee and LGBTQ+ communities.

Lewis Hou, the Ideas Fund development coordinator for the Highlands said: “From Shetland to the Isle of Gigha, we have projects ranging from young people co-researching who gets to benefit from the nature on their doorsteps to groups exploring the links between wellbeing and culture. This is such an opportunity for new ways of working between communities and researchers which values the voice of both fully and I can't wait to see how it all develops.’’

Staff at the glass studio workshop of North Lands Creative in Lybster. Picture: DGS
Staff at the glass studio workshop of North Lands Creative in Lybster. Picture: DGS

Up to £1.6m of grant funding has been awarded including grants of up to £25K to help develop ideas that are at a very early stage and larger grants of around £90K to support, adapt and expand ideas that have already been developed and tested. All of the projects involve local communities working with researchers in the four UK locations that the Ideas Fund operates: the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, Hull, North West Northern Ireland, and Oldham.

This extra funding will deepen the reach and impact of the Ideas Fund in the four UK locations, and will further diversify the portfolio of grants, thus raising the profile of what’s possible when communities and researchers work together.

The Covid-19 pandemic has thrown a spotlight on the dangers of misinformation, and it is not unexpected that many communities have been left with a lack of trust in health research and researchers more widely. Building back trust in science and enabling communities to have an active voice in this work has never been more important.

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