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Health / Active travel schemes benefit from healthy islands funding as local projects secure £130k

MORE than £130,000 is coming Shetland’s way from a new Scottish Government fund designed to get island communities living healthier lifestyles.

The big winner when it comes to funding is Shetland Recreational Trust, which has secured nearly £103,000.

Chief executive Steven Laidlaw said this money will partly be used to promote active travel in Unst and Lerwick.

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The trust intends to increase the number of electric and ability bikes in Unst, as well as install bike charging points and storage on the northerly island and in Lerwick too.

Funding has also been secured for a new sensory room in the Clickimin Leisure Complex which will be able to be used by all.

The recreational trust has also applied for funding from the Crown Estate for a Changing Places room, which is a fully accessible toilet facility.

Among the other local recipients of the Healthy Islands Fund is Ability Shetland, which has received £15,000 for adapted bikes.

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North Yell Development Council has secured nearly £10,000 for a ‘walk, jog, run, cycle’ project and the Sandwick Social and Economic Development group has bagged £5,000 for a hot meals project.

The New Life Shetland church has also been awarded £2,000, while there is University of Highlands and Islands project on mental health and wellbeing which has secured £1,496.

The Healthy Islands Fund is providing a total of £1.3 million across 56 projects in the islands.

It is part of the wider Islands Programme, and it aims to increase wellbeing and promote “healthy and resilient islanders and communities” in the recovery from the Covid pandemic.

Islands secretary Mairi Gougeon said: “It’s important that local communities have initiatives that can promote participation and equality in physical activity, as we’ve outlined in our National Islands Plan.

“We need to ensure that these are locally-led and local community groups are often best placed to provide these services on our islands.”

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