Community initiatives in Wester Ross are to benefit from a share of £100,000 to aid in their recovery from the pandemic.
The Highland Council’s Wester Ross, Strathpeffer and Lochalsh area committee have allocated funding from the place based investment fund to support local initiatives across the ward.
An investment fund worth £100,000 was allocated to each of the 21 wards throughout the Highlands for the 2021/22 financial year.
During a recent meeting, committee members agreed how to invest £40,000 to improve residential and rural paths within the area with the scope for projects to be carried out internally or through community-led projects.
The remaining £60,000 funding will be invested in community-led projects being delivered by local constituted groups.
Chairman of committee, Councillor Ian Cockburn said: “COVID-19 has brought our economic and demographic challenges into even sharper focus. Now we need to focus on recovery, building resilience in our businesses and communities so they can be sustainable and grow, retaining and creating employment and attracting new population and investment.
“The community spirit throughout our ward has been incredible during the COVID-19 pandemic and I strongly believe those living at the heart of our community are best placed to gauge the most suitable projects to support recovery.
“I am sure some very worthwhile projects will come forward from the community groups who have been supporting people and working so hard.”
The place based investment fund is intended to enable a flexible local response to address the four harms of COVID-19 which are identified as direct health harms; health impacts not directly related to COVID-19; societal impacts and economic impacts.
Funding will be distributed by the local authority at the end of September and December, with all projects needing to be completed by December 2022.
Applications for the first round of funding will be open at the end of September.
Any eligible grant requests for £10,000 or over will be presented to a future Wester Ross, Strathpeffer and Lochalsh Area Committee for approval.
Mr Cockburn added: “As for the money set aside for improving out path networks, we look forward to further discussions with our Access Officer and the local groups who are already delivering path improvements.
“At a time when we are encouraging people to become more active and walking is proven to have benefits on our physical and mental health, the more we can do to improve access to footpaths for locals and visitors the better.”