Local organisations to benefit from the 2023/24 Highland Nature Restoration Fund as round 1 project approvals are announced.

Orchard planting photo

Six organisations have been awarded funding from the first round of the 2023/24 Highland Nature Restoration Fund to projects that will support positive actions to help nature recover.       

Chair of the Council’s Environment and Infrastructure Committee, Cllr Ken Gowans said: “I would like to congratulate the successful organisations who have applied so far.  The projects they had put forward were well presented with clear biodiversity outcomes. Although all very different, they shared the goal of being proactive and taking local action to improve our environment that will benefit generations to come. “

Established by the Scottish Government, the Nature Restoration Fund (NRF) is a capital fund designed to help support projects that will deliver nature restoration, safeguard wildlife, and tackle the causes of biodiversity loss due to climate change.

Grants between £2,000 and £25,000 are available for community groups and organisations to bid into for projects that meet the eligible criteria.  The 2023/24 Nature Restoration Fund has three decision making rounds where applicants can apply for funding.  Projects approved during the first round include the restoration and creation of several new wildlife ponds; ash die back removal and tree planting initiatives; creation of wildflower meadows and the removal of rhododendron which is an invasive non-native species. 

Successful applicants include Highlife Highland who are to receive £7,755 towards their ‘Puddles to Ponds’ project which will restore the old curling pond at the Highland Folk Museum and establish 8 new wildlife ponds at other locations. 

Imogen Furlong HLH Ranger said “The planned curling pond renovation at the Highland Folk Museum is a fusion of nature's diversity and cultural history. At High Life Highland we're not only rejuvenating this habitat but also creating a living classroom where our Countryside Rangers will educate visitors on freshwater ecosystems. It's a place where heritage and the environment come together for everyone to appreciate."

Also successful were Culbokie Community Trust who will receive £5,453 towards the ‘Culbokie Green Pollinator Bed’ project. 

Penny Edwards Director of the community trust said: “The funding will enable us to develop the final part of our design for Culbokie Green - a large new pollinator bed. Carefully selected pollen-producing plants will complement the wildflower meadows that we’ve already established and will attract additional native invertebrates such as moths, bees and butterflies. Children already come to the Green to study wildlife – and we know they’ll love this project.”

Cllr Ken Gowans added: “As we have taken a different approach in making the fund more flexible this year, I would like to remind other potential applicants that there is still time to apply for funding. 

“The deadline to submit applications to the second round is by 22 November with approvals announced during December.  There is widespread interest in the fund and demand is increasing so the sooner applicants apply, there more chance of success.  The application form is light touch to complete with the main questions centred around biodiversity outcomes. 100% intervention rate is available meaning that applicants do not require match funding.  Please refer to the website for key information, funding dates and to download a copy of the application form.”

For full information please visit our website or email the Nature Restoration Fund Team if you’ve any queries before applying on NRF@highland.gov.uk.

Full list of funding awards

Culbokie Community Trust - Culbokie Green Pollinator Bed - £5,453

Kentallen & Duror Community Centre - Memorial Wood & Nature Restoration Project Phase 3 - £ 8,960

Dingwall Commuity Woodland - Orchard and Wildflower Project - £3,330

Highlife Highland – Puddles to Ponds - £7,755

Balvonie Park Association - Ash Dieback – restoration of trees and bat protection - £ 11,796

Raasay House Community Company - Rhododendron Removal Community Land - £25,000

14 Nov 2023