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Community / New £2m fund opens to support ‘green economic recovery’ in the islands

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A NEW island communities fund (ICF) worth £2 million is now open for applications.

The Scottish Government fund aims to support projects focused on supporting island economies and the journey towards net zero.

Businesses and community groups located on Scotland’s inhabited islands can now apply for grants of up to £150,000.

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Islands secretary Mairi Gougeon said: “Each of our islands are unique, so I look forward to seeing the development of innovative ICF projects that recognise the particular and distinct challenges facing individual communities.

“The ICF will help our islands to thrive through community-led initiatives that contribute to our ongoing population priorities. Projects will support employment, community resilience and a green economic recovery from the ongoing impacts of the pandemic.

“This fund will help to deliver projects that contribute to Scotland’s fair and just transition to net zero and to climate resilient living on our islands. We’re looking for ‘shovel-ready’ green infrastructure activities to support a strong and sustainable future for our islands.”

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Gougeon said the fund builds on the government’s Islands Green Recovery Programme, which supported 67 projects in six local authority areas, providing a ‘real term’ investment of more than £2.7 million.

The announcement of the fund was welcomed by Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart.

“This is good news for the climate emergency. I hope this will spark minds to produce innovative projects,” she said.

“I would urge anyone with a sustainable project in mind to apply before the July deadline. It is good that we will see the outcome of projects by March next year.

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“Bureaucracy should not be an excuse to delay our transition to ‘net zero’. I hope success in this programme will see it extended in funding and deadlines.”

Grant applications will be submitted through Inspiring Scotland, which will manage the fund.

Inspiring Scotland CEO Celia Tennant said: “The Island Communities Fund will support local communities and organisations to develop their local economy and support local employment in an environmentally responsible way – a vital step towards supporting wellbeing while reducing our collective impact on the planet.”

Scotland has a national target to achieve net zero emissions of all greenhouse gases by 2045. The government said this is tougher than a net-zero carbon target, which commits only to balancing carbon dioxide emissions.

The application form can be found here. The deadline for applications is noon on Friday 16 July, and projects should be completed by 31 March 2022.

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