Funding scheme launched to support businesses in the North Highlands

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A SUPPORT fund has been launched to help develop sustainable infrastructure in the North Highlands.

Grants of up to £1,000 will be offered to communities in Caithness, Sutherland and Ross and Cromarty.

The grants are being offered by the North Highland Initiative and Dounreay Site Restoration Limited (DSRL) and the Community Infrastructure Support Programme (CISP).

North Highland Initiative
The new support fund has been launched to help local people, community groups and businesses develop sustainable infrastructure in the North Highlands following record numbers of visitors to the region.

These grants will be accessible to organisations that have been unable to receive other Government support packages and those ineligible for emergency grants.

Funding will address priorities such as litter and waste capacity, environmental improvements including public toilets and motorhome waste, creation of designated visitor parking areas and more effective signage and public information boards for visitors.

A key focus of the scheme will be supporting Initiatives that can demonstrate a focus on the development of sustainable and ‘green’ infrastructure in the region.

Successful applications will fall into the North Highland Initiative’s primary areas of activity; food and farming, tourism and community support and leadership.

CISP comes following the success of the North Highland Initiative’s Community Support Scheme, set up to help local communities during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

David Whiteford, North Highland Initiative - Business News Scotland
(Image provided) David Whiteford, North Highland Initiative

David Whiteford, Chair of the North Highland Initiative, said: “Earlier this year North Highland Initiative and DSRL partnered up to offer funding to businesses that hadn’t been able to benefit for government financial support or emergency loans in the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Now we are turning our attention to our environment which has never been more important.

“We’ve seen record numbers of visitors travel to the North Highlands this year which has highlighted the areas the need developing to support the travel industry and local communities.

“The new CISP funding is aimed to support local businesses and communities that are investing in sustainable services that will support the tourism industry and local economy.

“From the maintenance of private eco campsites, to designated waste disposal locations and educational materials for people visiting the area, we’re looking to hear from businesses making a real difference in their region.”

The Community Support Scheme distributed key funding to over 50 projects in the North Highlands and continues to work with communities across the region.

June Love, Community Relations Manager at Dounreay Site Restoration Limited (DSRL) - Business News Scotalnd
June Love, Community Relations Manager at Dounreay Site Restoration Limited (DSRL)

June Love, Community Relations Manager at Dounreay Site Restoration Limited (DSRL), said:

“We are delighted to be working with the North Highland Initiative again. Earlier this year, we worked together to fund community projects in response to the initial coronavirus outbreak and saw first-hand how small grants can make a big difference.

“Tourism accounts for a significant number of jobs in Caithness and North Sutherland and the success of the industry is critical to the area going forward.”

Applications are now open and will be considered in January. Applications will close when all of the funding has been allocated.