Additional funding boost to Highland fishing communities

The Highland Fisheries Local Action Group (FLAG) has been successful in securing further funding to support coastal communities as part of the European Fisheries Fund Axis 4 programme.  There is now over £200,000 still available to assist projects which contribute to the sustainable development of fisheries areas around the Highlands. 

Axis 4 funding can be used to support a wide range of projects such as those relating to skills development, eco-tourism, diversifying activities, adding value to fisheries products, infrastructure improvements and the promotion of the culture and heritage aspects of fisheries communities.

Latest funding rounds have seen four Highland projects already take a share of over £350,000 from the Axis 4 pot. Successful applicants included the Kyle of Lochalsh Community Trust who secured a total of £233,004 towards the upgrade of harbour infrastructure to benefit the local fishing and tourism sectors.   The provision of a new 20 berth pontoon installation with additional mooring space will allow Kyle to offer a more accessible and versatile port for marine users, while onshore the upgrading of existing services to include shower, washing and laundry facilities will provide the necessary amenities for visitors to the area and encourage longer stays.

Mallaig Harbour Authority intend to contribute to on-going plans to revitalise Mallaig harbour area with an award of £82,471 for the development of a new shore side promenade aiming to enhance the attractiveness of the area and the accessibility of its facilities.  A new walkway will link existing pavements from the village centre to the marina area whilst providing seating and viewpoint areas and interpretative panels displaying information on Mallaigs harbour development and fishing heritage.  “I think it’s an exciting project”, said harbour CEO Robert MacMillan, “and has the double benefit of improving amenities for tourists and local residents but also ensuring that the fishing heritage of the port is documented and remembered.”

Applecross Historical Society was successful in securing £25,571 towards interpretation of the culture and heritage aspects of fisheries communities of the Applecross peninsula. Through the employment of a Project Officer the society aims to capture, at a crucial demographic juncture, the disappearing knowledge of the older fishing community members.  Funding will support a series of community engagement activities to record, save and share fishing and marine traditions through oral histories, video and audio slideshows and small publications.

A further £11,400 was awarded to Staffin Community Trust to carry out feasibility studies to consider the social and economic development potential of Staffin Slipway and its surrounding area.  Staffin Trust Chairman, Donald MacDonald said “The Staffin Trust is extremely grateful for the assistance given towards the initial consultation phase of this project. This has huge potential and could lead to 40 or 50 quality jobs being created in a 'Fragile Area' of north east Skye. The Trust hopes that the community will be able to develop further projects based around tourism (including marine) that will help to drive forward social and economic benefits for the area.” 

Chair of the Highland Fisheries Local Action Group, Councillor George Farlow said: “The Highland FLAG has an excellent record for delivering Axis 4 funding. But, that has always depended on support from our communities. We all therefore need to work together to ensure that this new money with appropriate co-funding will also bring forward excellent investment. The legacy we might leave will be worth the efforts required in this next phase with such tight deadlines.”

To coincide with additional funds being made available the programme deadline has now been extended to June 2014.  Any local groups and businesses wishing to seek funding are invited to submit expressions of interest for potential projects by 6th December 2013 for consideration by the Highland FLAG as part of the next funding round.  Further rounds will be announced in due course.

Groups or businesses looking to discuss a project idea or seeking further information, should contact the EFF Regional Development Officer, Sarah Lamb on 01955 609560 Email Sarah.Lamb@highland.gov.uk or visit the website  www.highlandeff.org.uk

25 Nov 2013
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