Funding to support local economies and communities
Projects designed to stimulate economic activity, boost tourism and improve community assets on Scotland’s islands will share £4.1 million in the latest round of funding from the Islands Programme.
A total of 13 initiatives will benefit from the funding include the a community recycling hub on Shetland, the construction of new accommodation for workers in Mull and the development of a new bike park on the Isle of Arran.
Over £700,000 has also be used to help preserve the 18th Century Garrison House complex in Millport, Great Cumbrae.
Islands Secretary Mairi Gougeon announced the news whilst attending a conference on sustainable islands in Shetland – part of a two-day visit to the region where Ms Gougeon will be meeting with local businesses and communities.
Ms Gougeon said:
“I recognise the continued resilience shown by Islanders in response to the climate and cost of living crises but I am mindful that ongoing support is needed in order to ensure the long term sustainability of our island communities.
“This new funding displays our commitment to enact our National Islands Plan across all six island authorities in Scotland in order to tackle island depopulation, boost local economies and bolster tourism.
“Whilst here on Shetland I am happy to announce almost £800,000 of funding for Shetland Islands Council to support a community growing space, the expansion of the Shetland Home Project and the renovation of a building to provide an inspirational hub for arts and health.
“I look forward to seeing the positive impact that the projects will have in their respective communities.”
Neil Rutherford, Senior Associate Director, Scottish Futures Trust said:
“Our infrastructure experts have worked closely with Scottish Government and the island local authorities to ensure the Islands Programme continues to deliver positive outcomes for island communities.
“The awards further support equality of opportunity, and community social enterprise ventures that will support repopulation, economic growth and local jobs, and we’re looking forward to continuing to work with the community project teams to see their visions move into reality and achieve what the communities need most.”
Shetland Islands Council Leader Emma MacDonald said:
“I am delighted with this investment in Shetland from the Scottish Government’s Islands Programme.
“The projects which we put forward for consideration were developed and driven by local communities, and address vital issues for our future such as employment support for vulnerable people, regeneration of community assets, food security, and addressing climate change through the circular economy.
“This news will be an incredible boost for these groups and we can’t wait to see the projects in action.”
North Ayrshire Council Leader Marie Burns said:
“We’re absolutely delighted to receive funding for two projects of major significance on the islands of Cumbrae and Arran.
“This will secure the future of the historic Garrison House in Millport, allowing it to be enjoyed by future generations.
“We’ll work closely with Cumbrae Community Development Company to deliver the much-needed conservation work and improvements.
“And we are also thrilled to accept funding which will support the creation of an accessible, all-weather bike park at Dyemill on Arran.
“This will help make Arran High School Mountain Bike Club’s vision for the park a reality and make a major contribution to encouraging residents to engage in cycling activities.
“The support for these two projects through the Scottish Government’s Islands Programme is most welcome.
“It will contribute to the delivery of our ambitious Island Plans and have a real and lasting impact for both island communities.”