Highlands and Islands Communities Awarded £1.5m to Tackle Poverty

Eleven community organisations in the Highlands and Islands have been awarded a total of £1.5m to develop and deliver long-term solutions to tackle poverty based on local priorities and needs.

The Aspiring Communities Fund, which levers in European Social Funds, was launched by the Scottish Government in 2017 to help reduce poverty and enable inclusive growth in disadvantaged and fragile communities across Scotland.

Regional development agency, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), helped community organisations in the region to apply to this recent round of funding.

The funding was approved shortly before the COVID-19 lockdown.

HIE is now working with groups leading the projects to help ensure delivery of the benefits in the context of the pandemic.

Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell (pictured) said: 

“The Scottish Government wants to create a fairer and more equal Scotland and we know that local communities understand best where funding can make a difference in their own areas.

“The Aspiring Communities funding will support organisations to deliver tangible, innovative approaches to tackle poverty and inequality based on local need and priorities.

“I’m confident that each of these great projects will support people to tackle the disadvantages they face and have a long-lasting, positive impact on people’s lives and the communities they live in – many of which have been impacted by the non-health harms caused by Covid-19.”

Douglas Cowan, HIE’s director of communities and place, said:

“It’s great to see more projects in the Highlands and Islands receiving support from the Aspiring Communities Fund.

“The fund supports community organisations to develop relevant services to address local circumstances and needs.

“It is designed to empower and strengthen community resilience, sustainability and quality of life by supporting valuable local initiatives that tackle poverty and social inclusion.

“The COVID-19 lockdown has presented news challenges for everyone and we are working with the community organisations leading the projects to help ensure they can progress in the context of the pandemic.”

Aspiring Communities Fund 5th round approvals:

An Lanntair, Stornoway

Stepping Stones

£175,858

Caithness Voluntary Group

Adaptive and Collaborative Communities – Caithness

£200,584

Carloway Community Association, Lewis

Building Brighter Futures

£75,550

Ceolas Uibhist Ltd, South Uist

“Crossing Over” integration and inclusion of all forms of activity

£116,155

Garadh a Bhagh a Tuath, Isle of Barra

Growing the Garadh

£50,232

Kyle of Sutherland Development Trust

Adaptive and Collaborative Communities – Sutherland

£249,168

Pairc Playgroup, Lewis

Pairc Nursery Expansion

£96,940

The Shieling Project, Dunmaglass near Beauly

Celebrating Places: Community-Based Learning

£130,934

Voluntary Action Orkney

Community engagement – dismantling barriers, co-producing solutions

£85,688

Voluntary Action Orkney

Extending the reach of the EWIOIC project

£247,187

West Harris Trust

Community Participation Project

£102,004