Caithness Committee Members Approve £310,848 For Twelve Projects
24th April 2021
Twelve successful projects have been awarded a share of £409,652 Highland Coastal Communities Fund (HCCF) yesterday (Thursday 22 April 2021) by The Highland Council's Caithness Committee.
£98,803 was agreed to be invested in moving forward an economic development project that will benefit the whole of Caithness, with a view to securing match funding for local partners. This will be brought to public forum at the next Caithness Area Committee.
The Highland Coastal Communities Fund is designed to support economic regeneration and sustainable development around coastal areas in Highland. The fund is derived from revenue generated by Crown Estate marine assets. A total of £3,034,703 was awarded to Highland.
Chair of the Caithness Committee, Councillor Nicola Sinclair said: "This is the first time in my term so far that elected members have had access to funding with complete local control over how it is spent. The result is a suite of applications from the community that are incredibly exciting both in their ambition and in their contribution to community life and the expertise being brought to the table. From forest walks to coastal paths to mental health support services and Harbour improvements, taken together these applications show the outstanding work of our local third sector. The remaining funds from this initial two-year allocation now give us the opportunity to secure match funding and accelerate the pace of some of the economic opportunities we see on the horizon. These will benefit the whole county in terms of employment, supply chain development, skills and training, and ultimately form part of our ambition to reverse population decline in Caithness. We look forward to taking those discussions forward and reporting back to the public at the next meeting of Caithness Area Committee."
Applications for the Caithness (HCCF) were oversubscribed with fourteen projects exceeding the total amount of funding available. The following applications were awarded:
Caithness Voluntary Group - Here for Caithness - mental health ‘one stop shop website’ - £9,082
St John’s Episcopal Church Wick – Provision of Accessible Toilet and Improved Accessibility to Church Building - £15,000
Dunnet Forestry Trust – Community Forest Projects - £22,436
Keiss Primary School Parent Council – Trim Trail - £23,000
Thurso Youth Club – Refurbishment Phase 1 - £40,923
John O’Groats Mill Trust – John O’Groats Mill Trail - £30,080
Befrienders Highland – Caithness Expansion - £7,360
Caithness Voluntary Group – Listening Ear - mental health crisis support -£39,700
Thurso Community Development Trust – Socially Grown Greenhouses & Hub – Part funded agreed for the ‘Thurso Grows’ project and for the employment of a part-time greenhouse manager - £67,791
Brough Bay Association – Brough Bay Harbour Project - £27,000
Bridgnorth Ironmongers Ltd – New Post Office For Wick - £9,775 (on condition of a business plan submitted)
Scrabster Harbour Trust – Cruise Ship Gangway Upgrade - £18,700
Projects are expected to prioritise economic recovery, community resilience, mitigate the impact of climate change or address the challenges of rural depopulation. The successful projects will also demonstrate sustainability or viability, value for money, additionality, local support/benefit to their community and evidence the positive impacts for their coastal community/economy.
projects were declined by the committee on grounds that they did not sufficiently demonstrate value for money. They can return to a later funding round with a new application if the issues are addressed.
Members at today's full meeting of Highland Council agreed a motion from the Leader and Chair of Corporate Resources, which would call for a fairer share of income derived from the development of the region’s natural resources to establish a Highland Renewable Fund. In the motion Highland Council Leader, Cllr Margaret Davidson, highlighted that at a time when private energy companies are making huge profits from the abundance of natural resources of wind and water in the Highlands the region’s roads were suffering.
At the Highland Council Gaelic committee to beheld on 18th May 2021 the committee will be asked to agree that the National Mòd for Inverness in 2021 should be given a further £80,000. The council has an agreement to pay £40,000 annually that aids the Mod to come to Highland every three years.
Anja Johnston from Thurso will take up the role of Highland Youth Convener early in May 2021 This full-time role is a bursary position that will run for 12 months. The 24-year-old, has previously worked as an Assistant Youth Worker, delivering the YOJO digital youth project with High Life Highland.
Since the launch of the Highland Employment Recruitment Offer (HERO) in March 2021, there has been a positive uptake of the grant scheme across Highland as 157 applications have been approved in principle, with 73 recruited/currently being recruited. HERO is funded by The Highland Council and the Scottish Government under the No One Left Behind and Young Person's Guarantee Funding Streams.
Members of the Highland Council's Economy and Infrastructure Committee have agreed to allocate up to £200k of the Council's Cycling, Walking and Safer Routes 2021/22 grant award to the delivery of a new Council 20mph programme, and 10% of this annual budget is to be used in future years. The introduction of more 20 mph speed limits on Highland roads will help the Council to meet the challenging road casualty reduction targets set out in the new Scottish Road Safety Framework launched in February this year.
With the majority of businesses re-opening this week, Highland Council's Environmental Health team with assistance from Police Scotland will be undertaking joint visits to premises throughout the Highlands. The visits aim to help raise public confidence that businesses are doing all they can to protect public safety as the lockdown restrictions are eased.
A bid to fund the design and delivery of over £55 Million of transport infrastructure in Highland was submitted to Transport Scotland today. A partnership including The Highland Council, bus operators and other stakeholders has put together a package of measures to prioritise buses in congested parts of the network.
The Highland Council is inviting people to follow them on YouTube so that the local authority can broadcast live the Highland constituencies and the Highland and Islands Regional results. Please follow (subscribe to) Highland Council's YouTube at: www.youtube.com/user/TheHighlandCouncil (external link) Constituency and Regional Returning Officer, Donna Manson explained: "Due to COVID-19 restrictions and the need to provide a safe election we are facing new challenges and opportunities in delivering the Scottish Parliamentary Election count and declaration of results.
The Highland Council's Tourism Committee has approved a final draft Visitor Management Plan for 2021 yesterday (Wednesday 21 April) which aims to assist communities and the public during the anticipated busy summer months. Chair of the Tourism Committee, Cllr Gordon Adam said: "Welcoming visitors back to the Highlands from Monday 26 April is a positive sign that the road to recovery can finally commence.
The largest leisure centre in the Highlands will temporarily suspend sporting activities in favour of regional democracy when it becomes one of the locations where votes in the Scottish Parliamentary Elections will be counted. Douglas Wilby, Director of Sport and Leisure with High Life Highland said, "We have been working closely with the Returning Officer and colleagues in The Highland Council to accommodate the substantial changes in the way this count is taking place, in order to offer those involved a COVID-safe environment.