Caithness Allocates Cash To Combat Covid Harms
16th August 2021
Caithness councillors agree allocation of Place-Based Investment Fund to address local Covid-harms within Ward 2 and Ward 3
As part of the Health and Prosperity Strategy agreed by the Highland Council in March 2021, a £100,000 Place-Based Investment Fund was allocated to each of the 21 Wards throughout the Highland region for the 2021/22 financial year. This fund was designed to enable a flexible local response to address the four harms of Covid which are identified as:
direct health harms;
health impacts not directly related to Covid;
societal impacts; and
Both Wards which together form the Caithness region were allocated £100,000 each - Ward 2 (Thurso and Northwest Caithness) and Ward 3 (Wick and East Caithness).
Early discussions with local members at Ward-level, and building on wider community conversations, identified initial priority areas for spend against the Place-Based Investment Fund for each Ward.
Members of last Thursday's Caithness Committee considered a report – reflecting the outcomes of the earlier discussions which had taken place – summarising the proposed priorities for each Ward. Members agreed the allocations of the Place Based Investment Funds as follows:
Ward 2 ؘ–
Up to £60,000 towards the infrastructure projects to carry out drainage works at Sir Georges Park, Thurso (aka The Dammies) along with pitch improvements at Ormlie Park. Both these areas have been identified by local stakeholders and members as key projects in the Ward.
Up to £40,000 towards play park refurbishment/repairs/improvements with an emphasis on those parks in a rural setting. It is noted that match funding would be sought from local grant providers and local groups to complement this allocation
Ward 3 –
Up to £35,000 towards an infrastructure project to replace/relocate bus shelters around the Ward. This has been identified by a number of local communities as a priority and in discussion with Ward Members.
Up to £40,000 towards play park refurbishment/repairs/improvements. It is noted that match funding would be sought from local grant providers and local groups to complement this allocation.
The agreed proposals allocate the full £100,000 from Ward 2 and £75,000 from Ward 3. A further report will be brought to Members to allocate the remaining Ward 3 funds during a future committee which will focus on supporting the Wick Town Centre Project.
Councillor Willie MacKay, who chaired Thursday's Caithness Committee, said: "The allocation against priorities agreed by members were driven by the aim to address the ongoing issues around outdoor green spaces. Once these projects and works are complete, I hope this will encourage greater use of outdoor space, deliver positive impacts on communities and address the wellbeing impacts triggered by Covid."
He continued: “During our Committee, we also agreed a motion which was put forward by Cllr Raymond Bremner. The motion acknowledges that while the Place-Based Investment Funds are very much welcomed by Caithness residents and members, we would like to see the formation of a pan-Highland sustainable playground strategy which considers the needs and expectations of our communities and supports the active play, well-being and social activity of our children and their families.”
The Highland Council's resilient digital learning estate continues to connect and support learners and educators across Highland, including the creation of a new digital toolkit for teaching staff. Education Chair, Cllr John Finlayson said: "The extensive digital learning estate available across Highland for staff, pupils, parents and carers is an effective way to empower and develop digital opportunities across Highland schools.
Members of the public are being invited to comment on a Draft Gambling Policy Statement for the coming years 2022-25. The Highland Council is consulting on the draft policy statement on behalf of The Highland Licensing Board under the Gambling Act 2005.
At the meeting of The Highland Council Members supported a starred item put forward by Caithness Members. The Thurso and North West Caithness and the Wick and East Caithness Ward Councillors asked that the Council creates and implements a Council wide playground strategy that considers the needs and expectations of communities and supports the active play, well-being and social activity of children and their families.
Members at a meeting on 9 September 2021 of the Highland Council agreed the scope, budget, phasing and timescale for 5 priority school projects including Beauly Primary, Culloden Academy, Dunvegan Primary, Park Primary, and St Clements School. It was also agreed that these projects are to be incorporated into the Council's current capital programme.
Given the importance of tourism to the Highland economy and the need for the tourism experience to be positive for visitors and communities, members have agreed to extend the Visitor Management Plan funding into the 2022 season by a one-off investment of £1.5m. A one-off Visitor Management Plan investment of £2.4m agreed by the Council in March 2021 for this year's season has enabled a range of service improvements.
On behalf of The Highland Council, High Life Highland has this week advertised a tender and invitation to quote seeking creative filming and photography input to the Inverness Castle - Spirit of the Highlands project. The tender and invitation to quote will contribute to Spirit:Journeys, a natural and cultural heritage initiative that will deliver many benefits for local communities, helping to unlock economic potential and improve visitor experiences across the region.
Artists and craft makers across the Highlands, Moray and the Western Isles can apply for bursaries of up to £750 for their creative development. The Visual Artist and Craft Makers Awards (VACMA) are funded by Creative Scotland in partnership with Inverness Museum and Art Gallery (IMAG) and can support artists at all stages of their career.
A planned Family Music Day in Inverness has been postponed, High Life Highland has said. Due to take place on September 11 in Bellfield Park, a decision was taken following careful monitoring of the evolving Covid-19 situation across the Highlands.
A letter has been sent to parents and guardians of pupils in S1 and S3 at Wick High School on Friday 27th August 2021. Dear Parent or Guardian, We have identified a possible case of COVID-19 in a pupil in your child's year group.
The Highland Council has today (27 August 2021) welcomed Scottish Government's publication of a forward-thinking report on coastal change for the area in East Sutherland stretching from Golspie to Coul. It provides a summary of the latest ‘Dynamic Coast' science and is intended to support key partners in developing and implementing a response, which could include resilience and adaptation measures.