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Parklands Pathway Fund boosts community projects

Community projects across the Highlands and Moray and are set for a cash windfall after receiving a share of funding from care home operator Parklands.

The group, which has 12 homes in the Highlands, Moray and Aberdeenshire, launched the Parklands Pathway Fund to support community projects that create a lasting legacy.

So far, 14 projects have received funding.

Findhorn based charity Growing2gether has received funding for a project which aims to empower disadvantaged young people aged 13-15 in Inverness and Tain by giving them the confidence and skills to mentor younger children with social and personal communication challenges within a nursery environment.

The Inverness Highlanders Junior Ice Hockey Club, based at Inverness Ice Rink, applied to the Pathways Fund to buy 100 synthetic ice tiles, allowing the club to train off season during the summer months.

Beyond Inverness, other recipients include Highland and Islands Blood Bikes, based in Alness, Cromarty Youth Café, Black Isle Cares, The Fiddler of Strathspey Festival, Buckie Men’s Shed, Craigellachie Primary School Parent Partnership and sustainability charity REAP, based in Keith.

Highland and Islands Blood Bikes delivers cerebral spinal fluid and cancer samples to the NHS using bikes. The charity will receive funding to support its volunteer recruitment drive.

Cromarty Youth Café received funding to support their programme of free weekly sports, arts, culture, and digital learning activities for young people, and to promote intergenerational activities that help tackle loneliness and isolation.

Black Isle Cares is a registered charity which aims to improve the well-being of local people, reduce loneliness and isolation and keep people active and connected in their local community. Through a new three-year initiative, ‘Our Black Isle,’ they plan to expand their intergenerational activities, recruit and support more volunteers and develop new community partnerships.

The Fiddler of Strathspey Festival is an annual music festival which celebrates the culture and history of Grantown and Strathspey. The Pathway Fund will help support this year’s festival, which takes place over three days in September, and will include drumming and singing workshops for local children, fiddle workshops for adults, a concert, ceilidh and guided walks.

Craigellachie Primary School Parent Partnership will use its funding to improve play facilities at the school, introducing new play equipment and upgrading the games pitch.

REAP (Rural Environmental Action Project) will use its funding to create a community garden in Keith to promote sustainability and address social isolation and mental health challenges.

Segun Adebayo, REAP Manager, said: "We are excited to have been awarded funding from the Parklands Pathways Fund. The grant will no doubt support our community growing project in Keith which fosters the community's capacity to take action on local food sustainability."

Diana Whitmore, Co-CEO and founder of Growing2gether said: "We are delighted to receive a grant from the Parklands Pathway Fund for our Growing2gether Nursery mentoring project. This will make a huge difference to young people facing disadvantage in Tain and Inverness. It will transform young people's futures by building their skills and confidence and helping them succeed in school through the positive experience of mentoring a child with social and communication challenges.”

Anne McDonald, Chairperson, Black Isle Cares, said: "Funding from the Parklands Pathway Fund will support activities connecting older and younger people. ‘Our Black Isle’ will improve the well-being of many living on the Black Isle, empowering young people, alleviating loneliness and isolation, and keeping people active and connected.”

Jo Fry, Co-ordinator of Fiddler of Strathspey Festival, said: “Parklands’ generous contribution towards the Festival will ensure that the Festival can be brought to all, helping to make it a truly inclusive event, not just for the residents of Grantown-on-Spey and all of the Badenoch and Strathspey area, but for visitors and tourists too.”

Wanda Mackay, Chair at Cromarty Youth Café said: “We are all absolutely delighted to have received funding from the Parklands Pathway Fund. This will allow us to further develop our exciting Intergenerational sessions and activities for young and older people across the Black Isle.”

Ron Taylor, managing director of Parklands Care Homes, said: “We’re delighted to be supporting such a diverse group of local community groups. They are very different in nature but each of them contributes a great deal to the sporting, health and social richness of the region.

“Every penny invested in these projects will create a lasting legacy for the local community, making a real impact on people's lives and contributing to the overall well-being of our area. We look forward to seeing the positive impact these projects will have for years to come.”

Fortrose and Rosemarkie Bowling Club, Muir of Ord Bowling Club, Young Enterprise Scotland, Grantown on Spey Tennis Club, and Buckie Men’s Shed also received funding.

The Pathway Fund is now closed to new applicants. Applications will re-open in the autumn.