Campaigners in Moray have unveiled a five-year vision for how they intend to use an annual cash boost from wind turbines to improve the community.
The Finderne Development Trust receives an annual fund of £138,000 from Hill of Glaschyle Renewables, which is the developer behind the Logie Wind Farm.
Yesterday the group opened its new office at Logie Steading while unveiling its strategic plan for how it intends to use its money over the next five years.
Projects have been included to support broadband for villages in the area as well as housing options, energy schemes and increasing opportunities for tourism and business.
Trust chairman Chris Piper said the group was committed to ensuring that Finderne, which covers the villages of Rafford, Dallas, Dunphail and Edinkillie among others, would remain an attractive place to live and work despite rural pressures.
He said: “What drives us is a hugely strong sense of place and a passion for making long-term positive difference for the communities that live here.
“To encapsulate these things, we have formed a vision to make Finderne home to a welcoming community where people of all ages want to live, work and visit because of its outstanding environment and quality of life it offers.
“We see our role as bringing together active members of the community to identify opportunities to address local issues in creative ways that will bring about long-lasting benefits – not just for our own generation but for generations to come.”
Consultation events were run with local residents in order to set priorities for what the trust should direct its money towards.
The trust has secured funding for the next five years, at which point it will be reviewed by the wind farm developer to ensure the group is meeting its aims.
Last night’s launch also included the appointment of Pery Zakeri, who previously held posts at the Tomintoul and Glenlivet Development Trust and the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival, as the group’s first full-time employee as development manager.
Moray MP Douglas Ross, who opened the new office, said: “It’s clear the trust has worked with the communities they cover to get their input into this five-year plan and I’m excited about some of the projects they might take forward.”
Moray MSP Richard Lochhead said: “The trust has the potential to deliver real economic development opportunities for the local area.
“It is great to see communities in Moray benefiting directly from community benefit – a policy introduced by the SNP government – as part of local wind farm developments.”