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Caithness And North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership - Update

12th April 2019

Week Commencing 8th April 2019

Energy & Business Services:

It was good to see this week in the Press & Journal's Energy Voice a piece confirming the transformational impact that the Beatrice Offshore project is having on Wick. It is a timely reminder that although the £2.6Bn project is nearing the end of its construction phase, the economic impacts in the north will continue over the lifetime of the project through the operations base in the restored harbourfront buildings in Wick, which will be home to around 90 workers. https://www.energyvoice.com/otherenergy/196670/beatrice-offshore-wind-farm-to-create-close-to-100-jobs/

Enabling activities:

The launch of the "IMPACT 30" programme has taken place, and it is good to see that Craig from Highland Drones, which is based in North Sutherland, is one of the 12 company directors set to benefit from the first phase of this exciting opportunity. IMPACT 30 is a fully-funded, 12 month programme that supports the next generation of business leaders through personalised support, coaching and mentoring that is tailored to their growth needs. It is part of the Northern Innovation Hub, an initiative led by Highlands and Islands Enterprise with funding from the Inverness-Highland City Region Deal and the European Regional Development Fund. The next round of applications for IMPACT 30 will open later this year, and it is very interesting to note the significant proportion of eligible companies that are based in the Caithness/ Sutherland area. In the meantime to find out more about the Northern Innovation Hub see https://nih.hie.co.uk/

RJ Mcleod, who were appointed by Transport Scotland to construct the A9 Trunk Road improvements at Berriedale Braes, have published the first Newsletter to keep residents and stakeholders in the north up to date with progress with the project. As highlighted here before, the early enabling studies into the project's feasibility were taken forward with support from CNSRP partners Highland Council and the NDA. https://www.transport.gov.scot/media/44572/newsletter-spring-2019-a9-berriedale-braes.pdf

Jennifer Harvey, who is taking forward the Aspiring Communities work in support of the Wick Locality Plan, was holding a drop-in session in Caithness House in Wick today, and I stooped in to talk through what feedback is being generated through Jennifer's numerous engagement events. As with last week's conversations in Lybster and in Thurso, some key themes were emerging (transport, health, employment) so it will be good to have a wider discussion on these when the Caithness Community Planning Partnership meets in the Pentland Hotel, Thurso on the 17th. http://www.highlandcpp.org.uk/caithness-community-partnership.html

Communications:

As part of an ongoing process of helping communicate progress with the delivery of aspects of our economic transition programme CNSRP's partners work together to generate news stories for local, regional and national media. I also speak on a regular basis to individuals and organisations across the area to update on progress. This week:

I was delighted to see this week's news that the John O’ Groats Mill Trust has secured funding of almost £350,000 from the Scottish Land Fund to help purchase the John O’Groats Mill, which The Trust intends to restore the Mill to its former working condition and develop it as a visitor attraction and a social and heritage centre, creating a number of employment, volunteering, training, and skills development opportunities. The purchase also includes 9.5 acres of adjoining land, and two former mill buildings now converted as self-catering holiday properties. The funding will also support the recruitment of a project post to help For more information on the award see https://www.tnlcommunityfund.org.uk/news/press-releases/2019-04-10/over-500-000-for-four-community-ownership-projects

HIE’s Liz Howard has worked with the Trust as it developed its plans for the project, as the SLF is a joint project for HIE and the National Lottery Communities Fund. For more info see http://www.hie.co.uk/community-support/community-assets/scottish-land-fund-iii.html

Another Development Trust on the move is Thurso Community Development Trust, and I met with its tourism officer Scott Maclean this week to hear thoughts on its new social media activities (under the "Discover Thurso" brand) and wider current opportunities around next year’s 2020 Year of Coasts and Waters (which you can read more about at http://www.eventscotland.org/news/2017/3/scotland-s-future-themed-years-unveiled-programme-extended-until/)

Eann Sinclair- Area Manager, Caithness & Sutherland

 

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