Coll, Ulva and Islay benefit from £1.5m fund

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Cafes, heritage centres and tourist attractions across the Highlands and Islands are to benefit from a £1.5 million pot to safely cater for visitors.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has distributed monies to 55 projects with nine schemes across the Argyll and the Islands area receiving help, and 14 across Lochaber, Skye and Wester Ross.

The money comes from HIE’s community-led tourism infrastructure fund which is being used to upgrade infrastructure and introduce safety measures to welcome back visitors.

It is going towards capital projects involving upgrades of community buildings, adaptations to kitchens and take-away points, outdoor seating and public walkways.

Places to benefit include Coll, Gigha, Ulva and Islay, with projects such as outdoor seating, car parking and motorhome hook-up, toilet improvements, e-bike and storage, providing electric vehicle charging points, and Covid-19 safety measures.

Neil Ross, HIE’s head of community growth, said: ‘All through the pandemic community organisations have been vital in ensuring emergency funds have reached those most impacted by the effects of Covid-19.

‘More recently we’ve seen demand grow for help as organisations prepare to restart normal activities.

‘Our short term Covid-19 investment funding has helped kickstart local supply chains and prepare community buildings and social enterprises for a safer re-opening.’

It has been announced that from Monday, April 26, all parts of Scotland currently in level four are expected to move down to a ‘modified’ level three.

That would mean journeys between Scotland and other parts of the UK are set to be lifted.

Restrictions on journeys throughout mainland Scotland are also expected to be lifted entirely by April 26.

It has been tipped to spark a big getaway around the upcoming May Day weekend.

From April 26, the hospitality sector is also set to reopen with cafes, restaurants and bars able to serve people outdoors in groups of up to six from three households.

Pubs would be able to serve up until 10pm with alcohol permitted and no requirement to order food.

There would also be limited reopening of indoor hospitality – restricted to the serving of food and non-alcoholic drinks until 8pm for groups of up to four from no more than two households.