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The Ledge and Whin Park among projects vying for Inverness funding

By Nicola Sinclair, Local Democracy Reporter

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The Ledge Climbing Gym is due to open soon. Picture: James Mackenzie
The Ledge Climbing Gym is due to open soon. Picture: James Mackenzie

Inverness councillors will hold a special meeting tomorrow to decide how to allocate more than half a million pounds of community funding.

But the city committee faces some tough decisions, with an £89,000 shortfall meaning not all projects will secure funding.

There are 11 bids competing for Inverness’s share of Highland community regeneration funding. This funding pot is an amalgamation of the coastal communities fund and place based investment funding. Taken together, the city has £574,181 left to spend.

However, the combined cost of funding all 11 community projects comes to £663,000.

The three biggest hitters in terms of spend are The Ledge, Whin Park and Lovat Shinty Club.

The Ledge climbing facility, which is due to open later this month, has already secured the lion’s share of its £1.4 million cost. However the charity is seeking another £100,000 from the community fund to meet its target.

The project has attracted some controversy, as High Life Highland (HLH) announced that it will close its own indoor climbing centre at Inverness Leisure.

HLH chief executive Steve Walsh said the operating costs are unsustainable, and it can’t compete with a second facility.

A programme of improvements is planned for Whin Park. Picture: James Mackenzie
A programme of improvements is planned for Whin Park. Picture: James Mackenzie

Highland Council has itself applied for a £150,000 cash injection, which will help towards the £700,000 cost of the Whin Park regeneration project.

And Lovat Shinty Club in Kiltarlity is seeking £146,261 to develop its community facilities. This includes a larger pitch, floodlighting and play park equipment. The club has secured some donations of materials and labour locally.

They say the enhanced facilities will expand shinty groups, especially for girls under 12, provide a playing space for the local football club and meet community demand for outdoor space.

The other eight applications include:

South Kessock residents association – £55,000 towards a new play park

Inverness YMCA – £17,000 towards a wheelchair lift

Elsie Normington Foundation – £80,669 towards a £4.6 million facility for young people with severe learning difficulties

Velocity café and bicycle workshop – £7610 towards ‘Mums on wheels’ cycling support group in Hilton

Community Action Raigmore Estate (CARE) – £20,000 towards the purchase of the "shack" to run as an office base

Crown Connects – £11,550 to host three ceilidhs to welcome families from Ukraine

Dalneigh play park – £55,228 towards the redevelopment of the local play park

Stratherrick and Foyers community trust – £20,000 towards improving local pathways

Inverness councillors will decide whether to grant, defer or refuse the funding at a special meeting of Inverness city committee tomorrow.

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