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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.


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