£900k boost for eco projects on the islands

The KelpCrofting team are looking forward to establishing community scale seaweed farming off the coast of Skye.

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Twelve eco-friendly initiatives on the islands are among the first to benefit from a share of a £2 million Scottish Government fund.

The Islands Green Recovery Programme announced in September has now seen £900,000 allocated to community projects in islands including Lewis, Skye and North Uist.

The funding aims to invest in projects which lower greenhouse gas emissions, help  active and low carbon transport and boost ‘environmentally-safe’ tourism.

Projects which help support food sustainability and zero waste are also included as part of the effort to help the islands recover from the pandemic.

The funding is managed by Edinburgh-based venture philanthropy organisation Inspiring Scotland which announced the cash awards.

Eshcol Guest House, at Breasclete on Lewis, has been awarded £60,791 towards its electric multi-purpose vehicles and a green laundry project.

It will establish an ‘eco laundry’ for itself and other tourism accommodation providers on Lewis to help reduce their carbon footprint and deliver more sustainable tourism solutions.

Donald MacArthur, for Eschol Guest House and partners, said: ‘We are delighted to be part of the Island Green Recovery Programme.

‘Investing in new innovative green technology is critical to securing a sustainable recovery for tourism in the islands and this programme has allowed us to accelerate that process during the most challenging of times.’

Barvas Community Company on the Isle of Lewis will receive £46,440 to support localised food production.

Also on the island, £46,128 will go towards the development of a coastal path linking the historic crofting communities of Point and Sandwick.

North Uist Development Company/Àrainneachd Àlainn Environment Centre was awarded £100,000 to develop the old school building into a community facility with an environmental emphasis.

Skye-based KelpCrofting Ltd will use its £35,292 to establish community-scale seaweed farming off the coast of Skye creating employment and developing products to support food and agriculture supply chains.

Kyla Orr, director at KelpCrofting said: ‘KelpCrofting is delighted to receive funding from the Islands Green Recovery Programme, which will be used to help set up our first seaweed farm on the Isle of Skye and to buy a vessel for working on the farm.

‘The funding will have a big impact on the success of our business and will facilitate growth of this emerging blue-green economy on the island.’

West Coast Organics (Skye) was awarded £8,560 to increase production of seasonal vegetables, salad and meat rearing.

Inspiring Scotland sought applications from island community groups, charities and businesses to help support capital expenditure projects.

Paul Wheelhouse MSP, islands minister with the Scottish Government, said: ‘These fascinating projects, driven by the ideas of islanders, will help our island communities to thrive, contribute to our work on population retention and repopulation.’

Celia Tennant, chief  executive of Inspiring Scotland, said: ‘This support will make a vital contribution to the economic, environmental and social wellbeing of island communities and we look forward to working alongside each project to maximise the impact of this programme.’

The Islands Green Recovery Programme is managed by four partners: Zero Waste Scotland, Energy Saving Trust, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Inspiring Scotland.