Groups across the north and north-east have been given a share of nearly £2million from the National Lottery Community Fund.
The allocation will be supporting a wide range of projects across the north of Scotland, from wheelchair sports events in Aberdeen to Shetland’s first Pride festival.
A total of 10 groups in Aberdeen have been awarded funding, along with eight in Aberdeenshire and four in Moray.
A further 12 groups benefited from the fund in Argyll and Bute, 11 in the Highlands, three in the Western Isles, three in Orkney and two in Shetland.
Chairwoman of the Scottish branch of the fund, Kate Still: said: “National Lottery funding continues to make amazing things happen in local communities right across Scotland.
“National Lottery players can be proud to know that the money they raise is helping to support this vital work and helping communities thrive.”
‘Introducing sustainable, healthy living’
Camphill Wellbeing Trust is one of the 319 community groups across the country who were awarded funding by the National Lottery.
With its £150,000, the group hopes to continue transforming dilapidated buildings into health and wellbeing hubs for the local community.
Catherine Redgate, assistant manager at the trust, said: “The award will help drive us forward in the right direction for the community. The growth of the project team will benefit both site and volunteers by providing extra manpower at a crucial time in our development.
“The funding will help develop our outdoor growing areas, provide activities for additional volunteers and help get our social prescribing project up and running. The outdoor environment is a safe space where the local population can tap into our resources and discover new ways to introduce sustainable, healthy living in their own lives and improving wellbeing.”
They hope the money will help them expand their team and buy equipment for a zero waste kitchen.
‘There was an overwhelming feeling of letting families down’
An award of £90,000 means Grampian Disability Sport can set up more opportunities for people with disabilities to get involved in cycling.
The funding was welcomed after the pandemic, when the group struggled to accommodate people with disabilities.
Claire McDonald, chairwoman of Grampian Disability Sport said: “Throughout the pandemic there was an overwhelming feeling of letting families down who were desperate to access activities outdoors for a family member with a disability. We had many requests for access to accessible bikes we were unable to fulfil.
“The funding will help us to address this and make adapted cycling much more accessible by building on the number of adapted cycles available at multiple locations.
“For the first time ever, we will also have a dedicated adapted cycling coordinator who will work to embed adapted cycling hubs within local communities to ensure long term sustainability.”
‘For every little thing that I gave, I received a lot more’
Befrienders Highland train volunteers to provide supported befriending for people who are lonely and isolated because of their mental health, memory loss or caring role.
They have received £150,000 from the community fund, which they say will be used to extend their in-person services to Drumnadrochit, Tain and Fort William over the next 3 years.
One of the volunteers, Nancy, reflected on her five years with the organisation: “When I started my journey with Befrienders Highland, I thought it was all about giving to someone who faces problems bigger than mine, someone who is isolated and feels lonely, maybe a bit depressed.
“Reflecting back to these five years I would say that for every little thing that I gave, I received a lot more. Meeting new people, feeling part of my community, feeling a sense of accomplishment were just a few of the things that befriending gave me.”
Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer with Befrienders Highland can contact them on 01463 712791 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
New floor for Westdyke
Westdyke Leisure Centre in Westhill has already made the most of its nearly £10,000 funding with an upgrade on its wooden floor.
Manager Shona McBain said: “When our gym floor started to raise up and cause a major tripping hazard we were advised that the only solution was to re-varnish.
“We were delighted to receive an award from the National Lottery Community Fund made possible by National Lottery players. We got the work carried out and everyone is delighted with the new smooth floor.”
Classes including Kindergym, pilates and rehabilitation groups can now get back to using the facility safely.
The full list of groups who have received funding can be found here.