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Seven Highland groups benefit from Port of Cromarty Firth community sponsorship programme; James Support Group based in Cromarty, Nigg Community Hall, Ross Sutherland Rugby Club, Invergordon Golf Club, Blackrock Recreation Hub, Evanton Community Wood and Ross County Girls and Women Football Club all receive grants for 2021

By Hector MacKenzie

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Patrick and Wendy Mullery's James Support Group is a beneficiary.
Patrick and Wendy Mullery's James Support Group is a beneficiary.

The James Support Group, run by Patrick and Wendy Mullery, is receiving £2500 towards its support work with those bereaved or affected by suicide.

The Cromarty-based couple launched the group following the loss of their son James, and since then have devoted their time and energy into ensuring vulnerable people and families struggling with their mental health are listened to and supported.

The money will help the group expand their services over the next 12 months across the Highlands, to provide a listening ear for more people to talk openly about their experiences and difficulties, by funding advertising and hand-out materials as well as venue rents for in-person meetings and workshops.

Patrick Mullery said: “We are extremely grateful to the Port of Cromarty Firth for this support from their Community Sponsorship Programme.

"The money will go a long way to helping us extend our vital work throughout the Highlands so we can reach even more vulnerable people and give them hope in what can be a very difficult time in their lives, especially during the current Covid-19 pandemic.”

Meanwhile Nigg Community Hall will receive a further £1000 to help continue to transform the building which is hugely popular with local groups, hosting weekly coffee mornings and lunches, as well as traditional village wedding receptions and children’s parties.

The cash will go towards improving the insulation in the building – especially in the attic – so it is warmer in the wintry months.

It follows the recent secondary glazing of its windows, which was funded by a previous £600 grant from Port of Cromarty Firth.

Veronica Morrison, Chair of Nigg Community Hall, said: “We are delighted to be able to carry on our important work upgrading Nigg Community Hall.

Funding will go towards further improvements at Nigg Community Hall.
Funding will go towards further improvements at Nigg Community Hall.

"The hall is a key part of our community and helps provide a home for so many events, receptions and gatherings.

"Everyone is very appreciative of this ongoing financial support from Port of Cromarty Firth.”

Other recipients:

Ross Sutherland Rugby Club: £10,000 as part of a deal to support the club’s development and expansion within the local community and wider region;

Invergordon Golf Club: £2750 to support road repairs and establish a 24-space car park;

Blackrock Recreation Hub: £1875 towards the second phase of its refurbishment at Blackrock Recreation Park, including heaters, insulation, decorating and floodlights;

Evanton Community Wood: £1000 to provide a composting toilet for its wider ‘Mag’s Wood’ project;

Ross County Girls and Women Football Club: £1000 towards kit and equipment for the increasing numbers attending the club’s popular training sessions, as well as coaching qualifications for volunteers and venue costs.

Bob Buskie, chief executive of the Port of Cromarty Firth, said: “We love working closely with the communities that border the firth through our community sponsorship programme.

"Every year the submissions we receive provide us with a fantastic insight into the important work that goes on around the area.

“This year, following the Covid-19 pandemic, we realise that the assistance we provide is more important than ever.

"Indeed, between January and March we received a much higher number of project applications than in previous years.

"We will continue to do our utmost to help these vital projects and support the positive impact which they have within our local communities.”

There is funding for the Mag's Wood project in Evanton.
There is funding for the Mag's Wood project in Evanton.

The community sponsorship programme aspires to improve, safeguard and develop Cromarty Firth communities, for the benefit of the local people.

Community projects, schools or local organisations based in one of the nine communities that border the Cromarty Firth are welcome to apply for support.

They can do so by submitting an application form stating the project’s objectives, aspirations and the benefits to the community, along with a letter/email of support from their local community council.

Projects must be collaborative and meet at least one of the five eligibility criteria: skills development, employability or job creation; vessel crew or passenger support; environmental protection or enhancement; events or projects which encourage inter-community collaboration; Covid-19 related support.

Applications are reviewed on a quarterly basis and the deadline for submissions are the last day of March, June, September and December.

Application forms are available by emailing cfpa@cfpa.co.uk

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