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£565,000 community power boost from Beatrice

Communities in Highland and Moray have received a power boost of more than half a million pounds in vital funding following the award of the latest round of the Beatrice Partnership Fund, supported by Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm, Scotland’s largest offshore wind farm.

Around £400,000 is being distributed to community groups in Highland with around £165,000 distributed to groups in Moray.

The Beatrice Partnership Fund was established in 2017 by offshore wind farm co-owners SSE Renewables, Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners and Red Rock Power Limited to support projects which create opportunities for skills and employment; empower communities to be more resilient through long term social, environmental or economic improvements; or encourage meaningful regeneration to improve local infrastructure, landscape or heritage.

This year’s funding awards see support from Beatrice for transformative local projects in both regions as well as initiatives to help further develop community resilience in these regions during the current Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.

This latest award brings the total funding granted to non-profit-making community groups in Moray and Caithness to over £2.3m since the Beatrice Partnership Fund was first established. This is the fourth, and penultimate round of the Partnership Fund which is managed by the Community Investment Team at SSE Renewables on behalf of the joint venture partnership.

Fraser Grieve, Chair of the Beatrice Partnership Fund panel, said: “This year more than most we’ve recognised the role that this fund can play in supporting communities and building resilience. Once more we’ve seen some outstanding projects that we believe will make a positive lasting difference and we recognise the challenge that many face in accessing the other funding they need.

“Each one of these projects is built on the passion and commitment of those wishing to make a positive difference for their area and this funding is an important link between the investment put into Beatrice and the communities closest to it. I look forward to seeing the progress made and the difference delivered as people benefit from this funding power boost.”

Marianne Townsley, SSE Renewables Community Investment Manager, said: “As we continue to live with the Coronavirus outbreak, it is hugely important that communities have access to funds to help them move forward in their next stages of development. We are very pleased to be making a difference to communities in both the Highland and Moray areas and it is great to see the positive difference the funds will make.”

In this round, £402,180 was distributed to 12 groups in Highland, including organisations and charities from the east coast communities in Caithness and Sutherland and the community council areas of Edderton, Tain, Inver and Tarbat. These include Caithness Community Connections; Connecting Communities; Dunbeath and District Centre; Dunnet Foresty Trust; East Sutherland Rescue Centre; Golspie Community Council; High Life Highland; Home-Start Caithness; Science 03; Staxigoe Community Football Pitch Committee; Tain and District Development Trust; and Tain and District Youth Café YMCA.

Graham Nutt, Senior Youth and Community Worker at Tain Youth Café, said: “One of the most important factors of our work is building relationships and the three-year funding grant to support our youth work service will enable us to strengthen the relationships made with the children and families within the community. This has been particularly important following the lockdown period and during the Covid-19 pandemic. Helping families as we come out of lockdown and return to a new normal will be a key part of our work and without the support of the Beatrice Wind Farm Partnership Fund this would not be possible.”

Karina Ross, Programme Manager of Connecting Communities, said: “For the last few years we have been committed to reducing the impact of our work on the environment. The introduction of an electric van supported by Beatrice Partnership Fund will help us to even further reduce our carbon footprint. During the Coronavirus pandemic, demand for our freshly-prepared meals increased significantly, and we expanded the service to Dornoch and Embo. The introduction of this second van to our fleet will future-proof our efforts to continue operating in this area and allow us to introduce our meals to other local communities too.”

In Moray, £164,322 was distributed to six charitable and community groups operating in the region’s coastal communities and in the areas of Buckie, Keith, Lennox and Strathisla. These include Cullen, Deskford and Portknockie Heritage Group; Friends of Blairs Loch; Findhorn Foundation; Garmouth and Kingston Amenities Association; Lossie 2-3 Group; and Moray Baby Bank.

Ian Sutherland, Secretary of Moray Baby Bank, said: “This grant from the Beatrice Partnership Fund will allow Moray Baby Bank to buy a new electric van. The van will allow us to collect donated baby items from members of the public throughout Moray and also to distribute them to Moray families in need of our support. We are very grateful for the support from the panel and we are excited to take delivery of our van later in the year.”

Jim MacKay, Vice President of Cullen, Deskford and Portknockie Heritage Group, said: “Our group has accumulated a collection of memorabilia and artefacts over many years and we have a long-held ambition to open a Heritage Centre to move the organisation forward from focusing on events to having a permanent venue. The grant from the Beatrice Partnership fund will enable us to refurbish the Memorial Hall and create a space that will benefit the wider community, tourism industry and local economy.”

The awards are listed below - for more information and to apply for funding, click here

Highland Funding Awards - £402,180

Caithness Community Connections

Funding towards the development of a base to support the community of Lybster, enhancing current activities including a drop-in youth service and a project to support adults

Connecting Communities

Funding towards an electric van to extend the geographic area of the ‘Dinner to your Door’ service which has been of vital assistance during the Coronavirus pandemic

Dunbeath and District Centre

Two years of funding for a manager to deliver day-care services to further strengthen community resilience following a well-organised response to Coronavirus

Dunnet Foresty Trust

Three years funding for a part-time development officer to expand the existing volunteer capacity

East Sutherland Rescue Centre

Funding towards the development of a new inshore rescue centre, based at Dornoch to house the lifeboat, trailer and provide two training areas

Golspie Community Council

A contribution to the phase two construction of an accessible path to Loch Fleet, located in a National Nature Reserve

High Life Highland

Funding to extend a Youth Support Work outreach service to support young people in their own remote communities

Home-Start Caithness

Funding for a Peer-Support Group for Dads and classes to develop parenting skills

Science 03

Two years of funding to contribute towards the running cost of the Caithness Science Festival in 2021 and 2022

Staxigoe Community Football Pitch Committee

Funding towards a feasibility study examining the development of a green energy model for the Football Ground’s Pavilion to better serve the wider community

Tain and District Development Trust

Funding towards a tourism initiative to market the local area and improve visitor numbers

Tain and District Youth Café YMCA

Three years of funding for a children's development worker to deliver outreach work along with the Free School Meals session and young carers programme

Moray Funding Awards - £164,322

Cullen, Deskford and Portknockie Heritage Group SCIO

Funding for refurbishment works to establish a permanent heritage centre in Cullen

Friends of Blairs Loch

Funding to refurbish a stable building into an educational hub/classroom with the provision of toilet and storage facilities

Findhorn Foundation

Funding to upgrade the Cluny Hill building including the purchase of a PV solar array on the roof of the building to generate green power

Garmouth and Kingston Amenities Association

Funding for upgrade works at the community hub in Garmouth, including improvement works to the old cottage roof, insulation, and installation of new double-glazed windows, door, and skylights

Lossie 2-3 Group

Funding towards the refurbishment of a new community venue to develop a family and wellbeing hub in Lossiemouth

Moray Baby Bank

Funding towards the purchase of an electric van for the collection and distribution of items for the Baby Bank

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