Councillors greenlight £100k funding for Caol and Mallaig projects

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Councillors have agreed to spend £100,000 on six community intiatives in Caol and Mallaig Ward.

The Highland Council’s Lochaber Area Committee, which met on Monday, approved funding from the Place Based Investment Fund (PBIF) for the six community initiatives, including play park projects in Caol and Mallaig themselves.

The six schemes to benefit from funding are as follows:

  • Caol Play Space – Caol has few freely accessible areas where children can play games, football etc. A vacant site has been identified adjacent to the Community Centre which could be developed to provide an open grass site for use by the whole community.

Subject to approval being received from the owning service (Care and Learning) and an acceptable project plan being drafted which would consider project specification, security, management, cost and ongoing maintenance, consideration would be given to allocating £35,000.

  • Mallaig Playpark provision – outdoor play is seen as increasingly important after the past 18 months of lockdown for children.

In Mallaig a small group of parents have been working in conjunction with the Road to the Isles Facilities Group to upgrade and improve the currently outdated and dilapidated playpark in the area located Loch Nevis Terrace and Loch Nevis Crescent in Mallaig to enhance the play opportunities for children up to the age of 12 years old.

To date grant funding of £48,000 has been raised and it is considered an additional £30,000 would complete the project. Consideration could therefore be given to contributing this from the PBIF fund. Quotes would need to be obtained for the equipment and works. Total – £30,000.

  • Trishaw project – this is a project to provide an electric trishaw under the charity banner of ‘Cycling Without Age’ which allows accompanied excursions on specially developed bikes.

West Highland Wheelers members will volunteer as trishaw pilots and will take people who are no longer able to get out and enjoy the outdoors out on the front of the tricycle, with a carer or loved one seated beside them up front, and a cyclist manning the pedals behind.

This is similar to projects being developed very successfully in other areas. Cost for trishaw and ancillaries. Total  – £9,800.

  • Housing Needs Assessment – there is a lack of clarity and understanding of the extent of housing need in the area. A housing needs survey is currently being carried out with the business sector which will help to identify their needs in terms of being able to attract and retain staff. Total – £5,000.
  • Support for Young Carers Lochaber – operating under the Connecting Carers banner this proposal has two strands, both to support young carers. As follows:
    work with the local Youth Hubs and education partners to run awareness raising activities and training. This will improve professionals’ awareness of Young Carers and their needs and help to boost the number of referrals from the area. Total – £4,000.

Offer a range of short break activities, both single day events and residential weeks to Young Carers from the area. These would focus on confidence building, resilience, team building and play. Total – £8,000.

  • Community Planning – Caol suffers from a high level of deprivation and as such is one of the identified areas within the Lochaber Community Partnership to have a locality plan.

The community and partners have worked together to develop a number of priority projects, but more work needs to be done to broaden the work of the Community Action Group and to ensure the ongoing engagement and project development is comprehensive. Funding is required for both projects and facilitation which will contribute to the objectives contained within the Caol Locality Plan. Total – £8,200