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Community / Funding boost for Westside projects

The Skeld Pier is among the projects which received funding.

A HOST of community groups and organisations in the Westside have received funding through a participatory budgeting event.

Invest in the West was held in June having been delayed from 2020 due to the pandemic.

It invited people to vote for projects which they wanted to see receive funding.

The Sandsting and Aithsting and Sandness and Walls Community Councils secured £30,000 from the Scottish Government’s Investing in Communities fund to distribute locally.

Twenty groups applied for funding totalling more than £44,000, with the virtual event running from 21 to 27 June.

A total of 421 individuals cast their vote, 398 virtually and 23 using paper forms, resulting in 12 projects being fully funded and one partially funded.

The unsuccessful groups will receive support to identify other potential sources of funding for their projects.

The successful projects will be monitored and will give feedback on their impact once they are completed.

The following groups from across the area were successful in securing funding for a wide variety of projects:

  • Michaelswood for a rechargeable Mobility Bike with rough terrain capabilities, so that visitors with physical disabilities can have the same access as able-bodied ones
  • Da Gairdins to provide tools and equipment for use by volunteers
  • Walls Show to assist in building an additional shed
  • Walls Swimming Pool to finish renovation of front porch and to make it accessible for wheelchair users
  • Sandness Hall to upgrade the heating system
  • Skeld Pier for a shelter to house the aquarium sited at the pier
  • Happyhansel Parent Council for a disabled access picnic bench and shelter
  • Sandsting History Group to create a space for storage of the group’s items and archives
  • Aith Hall to upgrade their games room
  • Whitedale Junior Football Club to provide new equipment and facility hire
  • Aith Badminton Club to provide support for coaching
  • Bixter Hall to purchase a PA system and projector
  • Aith marina to provide safety equipment

Sandsting and Aithsting Community Council chairman John Priest said: “I am happy with how the voting round of the Invest in the West Event has operated with a large number of folks taking part.”

“There was a good geographical spread of successful projects but the success of the scheme is tinged with sadness for the unsuccessful community groups.

“However, the community involvement and development officer for this area will work with them to hopefully find funding for their projects from other sources.”

Chairman of Sandness and Walls Community Council Ian Walterson added: “We were delighted to be successful in securing this Scottish Government funding for distribution to a variety of groups and clubs in our local communities on the Westside which highlights the tremendous amount of voluntary activity that takes place in the area.

“Although it was very unfortunate that the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted the planned participatory budgeting event, representatives of both community councils along with assistance from their community support worker adapted to the situation and held a selection process for all the applications by alternative methods.

“So a huge thank you to all involved in holding a very successful event.”