A SUPPORT fund launched to help local communities in the North Highlands during the pandemic has helped 50 initiatives since it was launched in March.
The North Highland Initiative’s Community Support Programme has given £45,000 worth of funding to small organisations in the education, conservation, community service and support sectors.
The recipients in Caithness, Sutherland and Ross & Cromarty have received grants of £1000 to help keep their activities going.
Marine conservation charity Ullapool Sea Savers are the fiftieth successful recipient of the vital funding resource.
The community group run by kids, for kids, was set up in response to the inspirational work of the Scottish Wildlife Trusts’ Living Seas Project engaging people in the value of the Wester Ross Marine Protected Area.
Vital funding was needed to provide PPE and road signs for volunteers. As a result, the support will allow local children to continue their work in keeping Ullapool and the surrounding area clean from rubbish and preventing any litter and waste from ending up in the sea and damaging marine environments.
Janis Patterson Volunteer Co-Ordinator at Ullapool Sea Savers said: “The contribution from the North Highland Initiative to the kids at Ullapool Sea Savers has helped secure some vital PPE and a road sign to allow us to continue the lay-by litter picks safely.
“Bagging up the rubbish has made us realise that a lot of plastics and other rubbish can be dropped without thinking, but once washed down to the sea, these may be in our environment for many, many years and possibly contribute to harming wildlife and nature – as well as spoiling the marine environment for locals and visitors alike.
“We hope that additional protective equipment, signs and clothing can ensure we continue to carry out our work.”
David Whiteford, Chair of the North Highland Initiative added: “Our Community Support Programme was a means of financial help, aimed at communities that were experiencing hardships as a result of the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
“We are incredibly proud to have been able to help so many vital resources and community groups in the North Highlands and to see the difference it is making already.”