Dingwall and Culbokie environmental community groups given funding boost for safeguarding nature
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TWO Ross-shire groups playing their part helping nature to recover have been successful in securing funding to support their projects.
And a looming deadline for a fresh round of applications to the Highland Nature Restoration Fund has been flagged by a senior councillor.
A total of six organisations were 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.
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.
Culbokie Community Trust were chosen to receive a £5500 grant to go towards their Culbokie Green Pollinator Bed project.
The Dingwall Community Woodland have also recieved a funding sum of £3300 towards their Orchard and Wildflower Project.
Grants between £2000 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 wild flower meadows and the removal of rhododendron which is an invasive non-native species.
Chair of the council’s environment and infrastructure committee, Councillor 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."
Imogen Furlong, a High Life Highland 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."
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 Gowans continued:“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 November 22 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 per cent 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 www.highland.gov.uk/naturerestorationfundor email the Nature Restoration Fund Team for application queries.