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Kinlochleven villagers are to be consulted on how a £50,000 allocation for local play areas should be spent, following last week’s meeting of Highland Council’s Lochaber Area Committee.
The committee approved the funding from the Place Based Investment Fund for three community initiatives at its meeting last week.
The £50,000 investment in play provision in Kinlochleven is to be ‘progressed in partnership with the local community’, according to the council, and to be matched with external funds where possible.
Councillors agreed the spend should be guided by and agreed with the community and the funding prioritised in line with these discussions.
It is hoped this will greatly improve both physical and mental wellbeing of young people in the ward as well as developing capacity within the community.
There is also a £20,000 investment in the feasibility study for Upper Achintore Community Hub.
Members heard that the provision of this facility will address previously unmet needs of a large community and will build shared, local pride and a sense of community.
This project has been identified as the highest priority project within the locality plan and is being led by the Upper Achintore Regeneration Group (UARG).
Commissioning of the feasibility study by UARG is the essential first step in achieving this goal. Additionally, the study will develop community capacity building, encourage rebuilding of community networks through the feasibility and related consultation and will instil community confidence.
In addition, Ward 11 (Caol and Mallaig) has projects under the themes of play provision, youth facilities and physical and mental wellbeing which are currently being developed and these will be reported to a future area committee.
Chairman of Communities and Place Committee, Caol and Mallaig ward councillor Allan Henderson, said the three proposed projects agreed will benefit a wide range of people living within Fort William and Ardnamurchan.
‘The community spirit throughout Highland has been incredible during the Covid-19 pandemic, those living in the area are at the heart of the community and are best placed to gauge the most suitable projects to support recovery,’ said Councillor Henderson.
‘Play-based outdoor activities for young people and safe spaces for people to reconnect after a long period of restrictions, isolation and for many a time of loneliness will be of real benefit. They will provide support against the harms of Covid-19 in areas of mental health and wellbeing.’
The funds allocated will be managed by the senior ward manager and any grants awarded of £10,000 or over reported to future Lochaber Area Committee for approval.
Councillor Andrew Baxter (Fort William and Ardnamurchan) said he was delighted that other councillors had supported his suggestion to award funding to improve play areas in Kinlochleven.
‘The council has a shameful record of neglect of play areas across the Highlands. I hope we can reverse that in Lochaber and help fund improvements elsewhere, he added.
‘I’ll be fighting to make sure that we get our fair share of new funding from the Scottish Government for play parks and that this doesn’t get swallowed up by the council in Inverness.’
Councillor Andrew Baxter pictured in one of Kinlochleven’s play parks. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, alba.photos
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Councillor Allan Henderson.
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