A new support fund has been launched to help local communities in the North Highlands during the coronavirus pandemic.
The North Highland Initiative’s Community Support Programme has been set up to provide grants of up to £1,000 for small initiatives in the education, conservation, and community service and support sectors in Caithness, Sutherland and Ross & Cromarty.
Priority will be given to those initiatives where Government support packages are unable to help, and those ineligible for emergency grants.
The North Highland Initiative (NHI) was established in 2005 as a direct result of His Royal Highness The Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay’s involvement in bringing together the farming community, local businesses and the tourism industry to address the challenges facing rural communities in the far north of Scotland. The NHI also works to build and develop a regional identity for the area.
The charity’s three key areas of activity are food and farming, tourism, and community support and leadership.
Given the current crisis, and for the foreseeable future, applicants for the Community Support Programme must be able to demonstrate that their project has been established as a direct result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
They must show that their project meets a “genuine and urgent community need”, and that the project carries no financial benefits for private individuals within the community.
The Community Support Programme will not support applications from statutory organisations, individuals or projects outwith the North Highland region.
Applications opened today (Tuesday 24 March), with a deadline of 30 April.
David Whiteford, Chair of the North Highland Initiative, said: “Our Community Support Programme is a means of financial help, aimed at communities that are experiencing particular hardship as a result of the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
“Our aim is to target areas, projects, and local initiatives for which Government Support packages may not be able to assist, and those ineligible for emergency funding.
“With a limit of £1,000 of funding per project available, this allows us to provide multiple smaller grants aimed at reaching out to as many communities as possible.
“Application forms are now available on our website and funds are ready to be distributed. Our Community Support Programme structure will be periodically reviewed in line with the progress of the current pandemic.