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North-east community projects receive funding boost

By Kyle Ritchie

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Groups in Banffshire are celebrating after receiving a total of nearly £20,000 to support projects in the area.

The Banffshire Partnership and Cornhill and Ordiquhill Community Council were allocated the grants from the The National Lottery Community Fund.

The partnership was given £9974 which will help fund the employment of two part-time staff members to run its minibus transport and shopping delivery service for older and vulnerable people.

Telephone and doorstep chats are also part of the service, helping to mitigate against the loneliness and isolation of living alone in remote and rural villages in the area.

The community council was awarded £10,000 and will use the funding to create safer walking routes around the village.

The Fernie Loop is a popular route and there are areas of road that are considered dangerous by walkers. The funding will allow the creation of footpaths in these areas.

For the partnership the funding will allow its Dial-A-Bus service to continue, which is a lifeline for many people.

Operations manager Rebecca Ross said: "Banffshire Partnership is delighted to receive National Lottery funding in what has been a very challenging year for us.

"Although the Dial-A-Bus service is partially funded by Aberdeenshire Council, we raise the additional money for running the service through our other activities, such as our first aid training.

"All these additional activities had to be completely suspended during the Covid-19 crisis yet the Dial-A-Bus continued to run as a lifeline to some of the most isolated people in our community.

Banffshire Partnership operations manager Rebecca Ross.
Banffshire Partnership operations manager Rebecca Ross.

"In August we resumed carrying our passengers, in a very different way of working. Additional staff and hours were required to ensure that we could run in a socially distanced and safe manner, whilst ensuring our customers could return to as normal a life as possible.

"Put simply, in addition to much-increased cleaning of the vehicles internally, we currently need to run two vehicles where previously we would have used just one.

"The National Lottery funding allows us to meet these additional running costs.”

As a difficult year draws to a close, 17 community groups across Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen are ending 2020 with some good news, a £235,673 cash boost from The National Lottery Community Fund.

They are amongst 161 projects across Scotland sharing in £3,931,314 for a range of activities, many of which will help people to support each other through the Covid-19 crisis and beyond.

The National Lottery Community Fund’s Scotland chairwoman Kate Still said: “At the end of what’s been a very difficult year for everyone, I am delighted that these groups in Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen have some celebratory news to end 2020.

"These groups are all working so hard to ensure their communities thrive during these difficult times. Thanks to National Lottery players, they can now continue their amazing work.”

The National Lottery Community Fund in Scotland is currently focusing its funding on those projects that are supporting organisations and communities to respond to the challenge of Covid-19.

To find out more visit www.TNLCommunityFund.org.uk

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