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£80k windfall from energy fund for Loch Ness community groups

By Niall Harkiss

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A new fund of over £80,000 has been shared between community projects in the Loch Ness area.

The Great Glen Energy Co-op Fund, which was launched late last year, was set up to support community projects which address environmental, education and equality issues.

Andy Griffin and Russell Fraser from Loch Ness Hub.
Andy Griffin and Russell Fraser from Loch Ness Hub.

Among the awardees was Glen Urquhart Rural Community Association (GURCA), who received £20,000 to contribute to the cost of solar panels and renewable heating as part of major renovation works planned for the community hall in Drumnadrochit.

Glenmoriston Millennium Hall Community Association was awarded £4725 to fund a feasibility study to investigate renewable energy options for the hall in Invermoriston, and West Glenmoriston Community Company will receive £20,000 to fully fund a project to create an ecological garden, which will improve biodiversity and become an educational and community space.

Boleskine Community Care will receive £18,000 over three years to contribute to core costs of securing and expanding the local services they provide, which improve health and wellbeing and reduce isolation in the Stratherrick area.

Loch Ness Hub was also among those to benefit, awarded £18,000 to purchase six multi-terrain ebikes for local hire to reduce car travel and generate income for the community.

Andrew Griffin from the Loch Ness Hub said: “Loch Ness Hub and Travel in Drumnadrochit are absolutely thrilled to have been selected for this award from Great Glen Energy Co-op Fund to purchase electric Multi-Terrain Bikes for hire to our community and visitors.

"This will enable environmentally friendly and healthy access to the amazing forest and mountain tracks around Glenurquhart and beyond.” (image below)

Murdo Macdonald from the Great Glen Energy Co-op board said: “The GGEC has carefully considered applications from a wide range of organisations and we are delighted to be able to help where we can across the Great Glen geographic footprint.”

Community groups can apply for up to £20,000 with four application rounds planned per year. The next deadline is May 13 for a decision in mid-July.

Small grants of up to £2500 can be applied for at any time and will receive a decision in three weeks.

Organisations developing projects which benefit groups and individuals in the following community council areas can apply: Glenurquhart; Fort Augustus & Glenmoriston; Glengarry; Stratherrick & Foyers; Dores & Essich and Inverness West.

The funding comes from the Great Glen Energy Co-operative’s stake in the Millenium Wind Farm, which is located in the hills north of Invergarry and southwest of Fort Augustus. It is the highest wind farm in Scotland.

When the wind farm is operating fully, its 26 turbines generate enough clean, green electricity to supply around 36,000 average homes and will help reduce reliance on existing less environmentally friendly energy sources.

The fund is being administered by Foundation Scotland and potential applicants can contact Inverness based Fund Adviser Marion McDonald for support or advice with their application on 07912 759524 or via email at marion@foundationscotland.org.uk.

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