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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
economic impacts.
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.”


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