North-east projects benefit from Coastal Communities Challenge Fund grants
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Eight projects have been awarded £73,000 in funding from Aberdeenshire Council’s 2021-22 Coastal Communities Challenge Fund (CCCF) programme.
Grants were awarded to organisations along the region’s coast by the North East Scotland Fisheries Local Action Group (NESFLAG).
The funding programme distributes revenues generated by Crown Estate Scotland, from which Aberdeenshire Council receives an annual allocation.
In a highly competitive application round – assessed and approved by NESFLAG, a cross-sector partnership comprising representatives from Aberdeenshire’s coastal and fishing sectors – the successful projects were selected for their positive economic, social or environmental impact on coastal communities.
The successful projects are:
- Improvements to Banff Sailing Club’s clubhouse, and new equipment for sailing activities.
- Beach wheelchairs for disabled access to St Cyrus beach nature reserve.
- Security improvements and a defibrillator at Balmedie Beach football pavilion.
- New goalposts and games equipment at Sandend Hall and playing field.
- A new quad bike for farm and coastal tours at Down on the Farm near Rosehearty.
- Educational event materials for East Grampian Coastal Partnership (EGCP).
- New access point and redevelopment of community facilities at the Apex Centre in Peterhead.
- A new heating system for Aberdeen and Stonehaven Yacht Club’s clubhouse at Stonehaven Harbour.
Aberdeenshire Council has recently received confirmation of a further allocation from Crown Estate Scotland and a new application round will be launched later this year.
Chairman of the council’s infrastructure services committee, councillor Peter Argyle said: “I was hugely impressed with the projects which received funding last year and once again this latest round of funding is supporting a variety of great local projects which will continue to develop Aberdeenshire’s coastal communities.
"It is particular inspiring to hear of such innovative projects being supported such as beach wheelchairs for disabled access down at St Cyrus and a quad bike for farm and coastal tours at Rosehearty.”
Committee vice-chairman councillor John Cox said: “The much-needed investment being made in our local sailing clubs, football pavilions and playing fields clearly demonstrates the wealth of opportunity our coastal communities have through this funding programme.
"I look forward to seeing these projects develop this year and would once again encourage local groups to start considering making bids to our 2022-23 funding programme.”
Jamie Wilkinson, programme co-ordinator, said: “Following the success of last year’s programme, the 2021-22 CCCF has proved to be equally popular.
"Despite relatively short timescales we received a high number of applications, and the approved projects will deliver a range of positive social, environmental and economic outcomes.
"We encourage any eligible groups to get in touch ahead of the forthcoming application window which we hope to open in the coming months.”
The EGCP is a local coastal partnership that aims to support communities within the area between Fraserburgh and St Cyrus.
The funding award of £4616 will be used to support and deploy educational and outreach resources and equipment for EGCP for use by schools, community groups and volunteers. Equipment purchased will include event materials such as pop-up banners and A-frame signs, plus binoculars and telescopes for wildlife watching.
Mike Skitmore, of EGCP, said: “This funding will provide EGCP with a fantastic opportunity to both develop and promote a number of our proposed community educational and outreach activities relating to the preservation and conservation of the Aberdeenshire coast.
"As a direct result we will be able to engage with more people and to deploy more volunteers in some exciting new projects.”
Banff Sailing Club manages and maintains a small clubhouse on the harbour quayside and organises activities, events, talks and regattas on a regular basis.
The funding of £16,312 will go towards a project which addresses two of the club’s main ambitions: regeneration and expansion of the clubhouse; and broadening the club activities to include other water sports.
Improvements to the clubhouse will include new doors and an improved heating system, whilst new sails, an engine and a VHF radio will be purchased to enhance the club’s sailing activities.
Helen Robbins, of Banff Sailing Club, said: “Banff Sailing Club is delighted to be awarded more than £16,000 from the Coastal Communities Challenge fund.
"The grant will allow the club to offer a wider range of sailing opportunities to the public and new members, to offer the clubhouse to other leisure organisations and to widen our remit to cover sailing and water sports.”
The Apex Centre grant of £25,000 will go towards the refurbishment and new access to the community facilities within the building at Broad Street, Peterhead.
The project will provide a new staircase and rear entrance to the centre, opening up space for community activities.
The facilities will be made available to hire by a variety of users such as baby groups and yoga classes, and the staircase will open up use of the garden area at the rear of the building.
Daniel Sutherland of Apex Church said: “We are delighted to receive this generous award towards our community space enlargement project.
"The support from our local council and CCCF is greatly appreciated and will benefit the wider community of Peterhead.”
The £6400 grant for St Cyrus National Nature Reserve will pay for the purchase of two all-terrain beach wheelchairs, one for adult users and the other for smaller adults and children.
The wheelchairs will be based at the reserve and will allow access to areas of the beach previously impossible to reach by wheelchair users. Visitors with mobility issues will have the chance to join in activities and guided walks and explore other areas of the reserve such as the cliffs, bird hide and forest school.
Therese Alampo of NatureScot said: “Getting this grant is going to mean so much for everyone who gets to use the new beach chairs, not only the users themselves but to their friends and families too.
"Following the creation of a changing places toilet this is the perfect next step to making this beautiful National Nature Reserve more accessible to everyone. We are very grateful for the support.”
Sandend Amenities Council has been awarded a £2891 grant to upgrade facilities at the local playing field, and purchase games equipment for the village hall.
New full-size goalposts and a basketball stand will be installed, and line-marking equipment will be purchased. Family games equipment will be bought for the village hall and will be used for social events and activity nights.
Audrey Stewart, of Sandend Amenities Council, said: “Sandend Amenities Council is very grateful to receive the monies allocated by the Coastal Communities Challenge Fund.
"The grant will make a huge difference to the activities that we can offer both within the hall and also in the adjacent playing field. On behalf of the residents and the council we would like to offer our thanks for the much-needed grant, without which we would have been unable to make these improvements.”
A grant of £3457 has been awarded to Balmedie Leisure Centre Association to invest in facilities at the playing fields pavilion in Balmedie Country Park.
A new CCTV system will be fitted to deter vandalism, and a defibrillator will be installed.
Bill Murray of Balmedie Leisure Centre Association said: “Having a public access defibrillator available at the football pavilion is a fantastic asset that will be of reassuring benefit to all that use the football pitches and visit Balmedie Country Park.
"In an emergency it could be lifesaving, especially in a rural area like ours where ambulance response times may be longer.”
Down on the Farm is a farm-based tourism business which offers unique glamping accommodation and countryside tours on a farm near Rosehearty.
The CCCF grant of £4680 will be used to purchase a new quad bike to conduct trailer tours of the farm and the adjacent coastline and cliff tops.
Carole Short of Down on the Farm said: “We are delighted to receive this grant. There is growing demand for being outdoors, authentic experiences and meeting real people like farmers and learning about food.
"With this support we can further invest in our farm experiences to meet market demand for agritourism in Aberdeenshire.”
Finally Aberdeen and Stonehaven Yacht Club has been awarded £9687 to upgrade the clubhouse at Stonehaven Harbour.
Improvements include new doors and windows, as well as new radiators throughout the building.
The enhancements will enable the clubhouse to be used throughout the winter months as a base for the club’s activities and a community and social venue.
Further details about NESFLAG can be found at www.nesflag.org.uk