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Grant fund available to community groups ahead of Highlands and Islands Climate Festival

By Alan Hendry

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Groups such as this one in Fearn are at the heart of community-led climate action in the Highlands and Islands.
Groups such as this one in Fearn are at the heart of community-led climate action in the Highlands and Islands.

A small grant fund is available to community groups from across the region that are keen to be part of the 2023 Highlands and Islands Climate Festival.

The celebration of community-led action is being organised by the Highlands and Islands Climate Hub and will take place throughout September to coincide with Scotland’s Climate Week, an annual event to raise awareness of the global climate emergency.

It follows on from the Highland Climate Festival in June last year and the Orkney Climate Festival in September. The latter was in collaboration with the Orkney International Science Festival.

Each festival was well received, with more than 150 events taking place during the two week-long programmes. These ranged from talks and seminars to repair cafés, growing open days and fashion-swishing events.

Feedback was gathered from participating communities and a working group for 2023 was formed. This year's event will cover the Highlands and Islands as whole, with a festival website to be launched next month.

The working group is made up of 11 participating communities aiming to create a vibrant festival with equal representation from across the region.

The Highlands and Islands Climate Hub will administer a small grant fund that will help groups to take part in the festival. Events will be advertised on the website.

The funding opened for applications this week and groups are encouraged to apply early.

Applications can be made in two ways.

The General Event Fund supports professional fees, film-screening licences, resources or travel expenses, and sums of up to £250 can be applied for.

The Big Local Picnic Fund supports communities to get involved with the finale event of the festival on Saturday, September 30. Funding of up to £200 is available to groups to host an indoor or outdoor picnic that celebrates their community as well as local food and drink.

The hub's website is www.hiclimatehub.co.uk and enquiries can be made by email to enquiries@hiclimatehub.co.uk

Hub manager Joan Lawrie, who was previously development manager with Thurso Community Development Trust, said: “We are so looking forward to the 2023 Highlands and Islands Climate Festival and cannot wait to highlight the incredible community-led climate action work going on from Shetland to Skye.

"The small grant funds will allow communities to get involved to bring their communities together to take climate action, meet new people and celebrate local. Localism is at the heart of the festival, with communities and event attendees encouraged to think and be local.”

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