Posted Wednesday, August 01, 2018
Our HEN AGM will be held on 30 August 2018 at 3pm at Abriachan Forest Centre, by Inverness, IV3 8LB
For more details, please contact Suzann Barr, firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted Sunday, May 13, 2018
Our news items are now out of date while HEN manages with reduced capacity.
Posted Sunday, June 18, 2017
Climate Challenge Fund grants of up to £150,000 are available to community-led organisations each year for projects taking place between 1 April 2018 and 31 March 2020
The deadline to submit an expression of interest is 5pm on 28 August 2017
Posted Sunday, May 28, 2017
This is an interesting opportunity to learn about the variety of environmental activities going on in Highland and help share this information with others.
You will help to connect community-based environmental activities across Highland by sharing relevant information and encouraging our members and subscribers to share information themselves.
Ideally you will be comfortable using email, updating our website and perhaps using social media too.
You will need access to the internet and have your own PC, laptop or other device. Training will be given.
If you'd like to find out more, please email Alison Craig.
Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) and the Centre for Mountain Studies (UHI) are conducting a review for the Scottish Government of existing research on wild deer management. The aim is to identify gaps in the existing knowledge-base through gathering the views of stakeholders and reviewing existing material. The project has been developed to facilitate more effective exchange of knowledge, provide a fuller understanding of the issues involved in deer management and help deliver targeted, informed and sustainable deer management in Scotland. As part of this process workshops are being run across Scotland, including four regional workshops, one trainers workshop and one policy makers-researchers workshop. To enquire about attending a workshop, please see the required contact details below.
If you'd like to be a wise OWL the best place to find out how will be at the Outdoor & Woodland Learning Fest on Saturday 7 May from 10.00 - 3.00pm at Kinmylies Primary School, Inverness
Forestry Commission Scotland has produced some inspiring resources to support outdoor learning which will be used by South Highland Outdoor & Woodland Learning (OWL) group to run workshops for those working in primary schools and with early years.
Join this free CPD if you are interested in ...
If you are a teacher:
Please book your place on this CPD event through the Highland Council CPD site (Course ID: 49932) and then please ALSO email your name, contact details, school class/place of work & rank your workshop preferences (A-G, ranked 1-7) to shona.Amos@forestry.gsi.gov.uk
If you are not a teacher but work with children and young people:
Please email shona.Amos@forestry.gsi.gov.uk to book your place, and give your name, contact details, school class/place of work & rank your workshop preferences (A-G, ranked 1-7)
This CPD event is the launch of the new South Highland OWL Group.
For more details about the event call Suzann Barr at Abriachan Forest Trust on 01463 861236.
10.00 – Registration & refreshments
10.15 – Welcome
10.30 – Workshop 1
11.30 – Workshop 2
12.30 - BYO picnic to share & Outdoor Learning market place
13.30 – Workshop 3
14.30 – Feedback & looking forward
15.00 - Close
These practical workshops will take place outdoors whatever the weather, so please come prepared! Workshops will be allocated on a first come first served basis.
A: Is There Room on Your Broom? (Early Level) Shona Amos, Forestry Commission Scotland environmental ranger, Forest Kindergarten practitioner.
Come prepared to bring Julia Donaldson’s stories to life through a variety of active and crafty activities.
B: Wolf Brother’s Mesolithic technology. (Level 1/2 ) Roni Smith, Forest School Practitioner, Abriachan Forest Trust.
Test your survival skills in the woods beside the canal and see how they compare with those of Torak the young hero in Michelle Paver’s books. You will build, test, problem solve, cook and, most probably, eat.
C: Tree Stories with an active twist (Level 1/2) Suzann Barr and Lynda Beveridge will use the FCS Tree Stories to lead a walk through the woods, identify the trees through games, tell some tales and make sure you leave the session with lots of cross curricular outdoor learning activities to use....plus a copy of the book.
D: Cross-curricular Picts (Level 2) Matt Ritchie, Forestry Commission Scotland Archaeologist
This is an introduction to the FCS cross-curricular learning resource 'The Picts'. Matt will explore how indoor learning in the classroom and museum can be blended with outdoor learning at the hill fort and symbol stone. He will show how the observational science of archaeology leads to subjective interpretation and supports creative arts and storytelling.
E: Reasonable risk assessment for outdoor learning (All levels) Ben-Brittain-Dodd, Outdoor Education Officer, HighLife Highland
A practical session de-mystifying risk assessments for educators wishing to take learning outside, be it the playground, local parks and areas of wild space. How can we create a document that is functional, meets people’s needs, is actually useful and most importantly empowers people to want to take groups outside!
F: Working around water margins. (All levels) Ben-Brittain-Dodd, Outdoor Education Officer, HighLife Highland
How close is too close and how wet is too wet? With so many opportunities and positive experiences to be gained around bodies of water, this is a chance to ask questions, discuss good practice and take away sources of information to empower informed decisions. Using the canal as a discussion focus, this session will be outside but not too wet, hopefully.
G: Woodland Workout (all Levels)
Help learners develop enterprising knowledge, skills and attitudes and promote physical health and wellbeing using this active woodland trail. Based on an FCS education resource.
Dear HEN Supporters,
The future for HEN is changing (and challenging).
As reported in a recent HEN Feed, the Highland Council funding that has supported our core activity - the network - has been withdrawn, as part of the savings necessary as a result of budget reduction.
In order to maintain the network - the weekly HEN Feed, quarterly themed e- newsletter, website and environmental directory - the Board of HEN are looking to our supporters for help in the form of a regular monthly donation of £1 (or quarterly/ annual equivalent, whichever suits you best!)
Our recent project, Working Together, contacted communities and organisations around the Highlands to see how we could better provide you with support. Your feedback showed that you most valued:
Your donations will allow us to continue to provide these services.
For those of you who haven’t recently visited the website, or had the time to fully digest a recent HEN Feed, HEN’s objectives are to:
Provide a Highland-wide Network which connects people involved with, or interested in, environmental matters
Your support will give an endorsement that there is a continued need for HEN to provide these services.
With it we will be able to continue the network and directory, upgrade the website and keep building our links with public bodies, third sector organisations, communities and individuals - essential in this challenging climate.
We will also seek out and deliver specific projects on our key themes of environment and sustainability. These will help to improve the places we live in and protect their future.
To give us this vital support, we’d welcome your donations via a standing order or bank transfer to:
Highland Environmental Network
Bank of Scotland
Account Number 00439840
Sort Code 80-91-26
With gratitude for your help and understanding,
Vanessa Halhead (Chair)
Alison Craig (Vice-chair) on behalf of the HEN Board
See the Press and Journal article on the launch of the Highland Partnership Against Wildlife Crime
Local charity Soirbheas is keen to get the communities of Strathglass and Glen Urquhart growing! Over 2,000 seed potatoes will be distributed via local schools, nurseries and local groups to be sold and grown in the community. The aim is to inspire children, their families and the wider community to get growing.
As part of the project Soirbheas is working with the Glen Urquhart Horticultural Society to hold a Tattie Day on Saturday 12th March from 10:30—12:30 in the Craigmonie Centre, Drumnadrochit.
With over 25 varieties of seed potatoes to select from on the day, there will also be tips on getting the best yields, advice on suitable varieties as well as how to store your tatties.
A recipe swap will also form part of the event, so we would love you to bring along your favourite tattie recipes to share with others. In addition, those who come along will get to sample some tasty alternative ways to cook tatties.
Refreshments will be available and for the children there will be an activities corner too. So whether you are new to growing or an old hand at gardening we are confident that you will find this a motivating event to attend.
This is a family friendly event and open to all members of the local community. Proceeds from the sale of the seed potatoes will go to Glen Urquhart Childcare Centre & Glen Urquhart Horticultural Society.
For more information on the event and the list of available varieties please visit www.soirbheas.org
Greggs Foundation has a number of funds which aim to address the needs of disadvantaged local communities, to which they have added a new programme, funded by the 5p levy on carrier bag sales in Greggs shops, that aims to improve people's lives by improving their environment.
This programme is a pilot and the outcomes will be reviewed at the end of six months to ensure the programme achieves the desired level of impact.
There are small grants of small grants up to £2,500 and large grants up to £10,000 available.
Find out more from their website
What do you think of SUDS (sustainable urban drainage systems)?
Marcia Rae, Highland Council SUDS intern would like to know and she has devised a short Survey Monkey questionnaire to find out. The survey only takes ten minutes to complete and is an opportunity for people to have their say about these systems and how they are working. Click here to complete it.
In the past drainage techniques have traditionally been below ground tanks and pipes, which transported water away as quickly as possible, leading to rivers becoming overloaded and causing flooding.
SuDS are designed to act more like natural habitat. They collect rainwater from roofs, roads and pavements in man-made ponds or detention basins where it can be slowly released in to rivers and streams to prevent flooding.
The successful collaboration between Scottish Natural Heritage and Highland Council in 2015 resulted in the identification of forty SuDS ponds and Detention Basins in the Inverness and Culloden area. These sites were assessed in detail for their contribution to biodiversity within the city.
Come along to the Highland Wildlife Fair in Inverness College, UHI Campus on Saturday 16th April to chat to Marcia, hear her talk about her work and go on a SUDS tour of the UHI Campus.
For more information about this work, funded by Highland Council and SNH contact Marcia Rae at email@example.com or telephone 07753352400.
Village SOS is a campaign that aims to inspire local community action, through supporting new,developing and existing community projects that benefit residents in rural communities.
Projects involved with Village SOS can receive around three days of free consultancy support to help them make progress. Village SOS will help projects to develop a set of actions, in a bespoke plan of support to be delivered by Rocket Science, Forth Sector or other source of specialist support.
Rocket Science is an Edinburgh-based consultancy firm with strong ties to rural support networks in Scotland and expertise in rural development, business and strategic planning, facilitating consultation and community governance.
Forth Sector Development are leaders in thinking and practice on social enterprises, business development, procurement, community benefit, and organisational transformation.
If it sounds like your community would benefit from participating in Village SOS contact Toby Renouf on 0131 226 4949 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Take a look at this new video from Peatland Action on the importance of Scotland's Peatlands.
Stories in school and other excitements with Creeping Toad, during Summer 2016.
Gordon MacLellan – Creeping Toad – is one of Britain’s leading environmental art and education workers and will be on tour in Scotland from April 25th - May 6th and September 5th - 16th.
Gordon has a whole host of imaginative workshops he can offer, including a new one for 2016 'Heroes for stories' during which you'll be building characters, both as quick puppets and as written pieces: capturing the qualities of their characters for stories: their ambitions, triumphs, disasters and secrets - skills for a richer tale. Sounds like a lot of fun! Find out all about them on and how to book a workshop for your school or community on Gordon's Toad blog.
£10.3 million of funding is available for carbon reduction projects that will run over the next 12 months. There are very tight deadlines for applications. A new project expression of interest has to be in by 5th Feb and current project extension bids by 19th Feb. Find out more on their website.
SNH’s Green Infrastructure Fund is now open for applications. It’s a a competitive Challenge Fund that’s looking for the best proposals for new or improved greenspace projects in urban areas, and which deliver a wide range of benefits, particularly for disadvantaged communities.
The Green Infrastructure Fund is seeking proposals for activities which:
Further details can be found at www.greeninfrastructurescotland.org.uk
The closing date for applications for this round is 1 April 2016.
Biological Recording in Scotland (BRISC) bursaries towards attending a training course in natural history field studies skills are open until 31st January.
The bursaries will be for £200 or 75% of the cost of the course, whichever is lower. There are seven bursaries available - for full details of these, and an application form, see www.brisc.org.uk/bursaries
A recent survey of the Highland Council’s citizens panel revealed that almost two thirds of residents in the Highland Council area believe that climate change is an immediate and urgent problem. This is an increase from 53.8%, which was recorded in a similar survey conducted by the Council in 2011. The survey also revealed that 87.2% of 1,027 respondents felt that climate change is either partly, mainly, or entirely caused by human activity. These figures are higher than Scottish and UK-wide responses to similar questions.
In response to the survey results Leader of the Highland Council, Councillor Margaret Davidson committed the council to continue measures to reduce the carbon footprint across the Highlands, commenting that: “This survey shows that residents in Highland have a progressive, proactive view towards tackling climate change. The Council will continue to look for ways to cut its carbon footprint and help communities reduce their own emissions.
The survey identified the top three priorities for addressing climate change in the Highlands as:
The survey also showed that there are high levels of support for community projects that would enhance or improve use of the natural environment.
Other figures of interest from the survey are that:
Many more interesting statistics, including the challenges many people face with fuel poverty, are available from the Highland Council website - where you can also download the full report.
The second National Meadows Day will take place on 2nd July 2016.
This is organised as part of Save Our Magnificent Meadows, a UK partnership project for wildflower meadows, grasslands and wildlife.
They're looking for places to take part . . .
The plan is for events to take place at nature reserves, country parks and other sites across the UK to encourage people to visit and enjoy their local meadow or grassland. Events can include guided walks, open days with family activities, kids craft days, photography walks etc.
All National Meadows day events will be publicised through a number of channels including the project website, Plantlife magazine, social media and press releases.
Find out more on the Plantlife website or contact Fiona Perez at Plantlife at email@example.com or 01722 342730.
Funding available for three weeks. The Postcode Local Trust opens for bids today (5th January) until - 28th January.
The funding is for projects that benefit wildlife, enhance biodiversity, or renovate/create new green habitats. Consideration will also be given to sustainable energy projects benefitting local areas.
The first ever Sustainable Drainage (SuDS) Conference in the Highlands was held on the 27th November at the Highland Council chambers to great success. Over 60 people attended the event form The Highland Council, Scottish Natural Heritage, Moray Council and Aberdeenshire Council, in addition to individuals involved in the local community and development.
The aim was to improve communication about the use of sustainable drainage and ensure these systems are reaching their full potential to provide multiple benefits for people and wildlife. Speakers included Dr Brian D’Arcy “the grandfather of SuDS” an independent consultant who has been instrumental in the implementation of these systems in the UK and Alison Duffy from Abertay University who works on projects to assess the whole life cost of these systems. They discussed the potential for SuDS to provide amenity space for local people, provide health benefits to local residents, encourage more wildlife within our cities and increase the quality of our water. All at a lower cost than conventional drainage systems.
Find out more and download the presentations from the Highland Biodiversity Website.
What’s the future for Cairngorm mountain and Glenmore? That’s what the new consultation on how this area should be managed would like to hear from you.
You can get your responses in until Tuesday 8th March 2016, before which there will also be an opportunity to make your views known at a community open event in Aviemore (date TBC). Click here to submit your thoughts.
The consultation has been devised through the Cairngorm and Glenmore Partnership, which includes the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA, Highlands & Islands Enterprise (HIE, Forest Enterprise Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage and The Highland Council. These partners are working directly with businesses in the locality including the Scottish Youth Hostels Association (SYHA), Glenmore Lodge, Cairngorm Reindeer Company, Camping in the Forest, Loch Morlich Watersports, High Life Highland and the and Glenmore Shop & Café. Natural Retreats – the company which now leases the ski operation from HIE – are consulting in tandem on their future plans for Cairngorm Mountain.
Hamish Trench, the CNPA’s Director of Conservation and Visitor Experience commented: “We know that development in the past has been ad-hoc, which isn’t good enough for an area so important to the Park’s nature, culture and economy. We expect visitor numbers to increase and with it, pressure on the environment and facilities. We need to come together to plan for that, to ensure we’re offering a world-class experience for all and continuing to enhance the high quality environment."
Proposals developed by the Cairngorm and Glenmore Partnership include plans for a visitor hub, access infrastructure, parking and landscape enhancements.
Councillor Audrey Sinclair, Chair of The Highland Council’s Planning Development and Infrastructure Committee said: “The council is a key partner of the CNPA and recognises the importance of the Cairngorm Glenmore corridor as one of the most heavily used tourism corridors in the Highlands. We are keen to work with local businesses and communities to improve the visitor experience in this gateway location and encourage as many people as possible to respond to this consultation.”
Making Local Woods Work, a new project working to help support and grow woodland-based social enterprises across the UK is seeking expressions of interest. The project is being led by the Plunkett Foundation in partnership with the Community Woodlands Association and a range of other organisations.
The project will work with 50 woodland social enterprises across the UK over the next three years. It will provide them with a range of support tailored to their individual needs; all 50 will receive four days of specialist support, and there will be some additional support available for 30 of these, which is likely to take the form of a further 12 days of support per group. In addition, a series of training and networking events will be organised to help anyone interested in woodland social enterprise (not just the fifty pilots) to achieve their ambitions.
Making Local Woods Work is seeking applications from groups who are looking to undertake new activity that will help to bring a range of benefits for local people, bring woodlands into active management and generate trading income. They will be accepting expressions of interest until February, with the first deadline being 15 December 2015.
For more information on the project and to fill out the online expression of interest form, please go to www.plunkett.co.uk/woodlands. If you want to discuss your group's plans and whether Making Local Woods Work would be appropriate for you, please get in touch with Jon Hollingdale via firstname.lastname@example.org
Good news! The deadline for the Tesco Local Community Scheme has been extended to 11th December for expressions of interest and January 15th to complete a full application. The fund is for 140 grants of £8,000, £10,000 or £12,000.
The grants are funded from the money raised from the 5p bag charge in Tesco stores. The grant programme is administered by Groundwork, working with Greenspace Scotland in Scotland. Projects that will get the green light as a result of the funding will include building new pocket parks, sports facilities, school grounds projects, woodland walks and community gardens.
And even better news . . . The scheme is now more flexible. Here’s how:
• projects on school grounds
• community spaces which are for the specific use of housing estate residents or community centres, including gated areas
• spaces in the grounds of ‘closed community venues’ such as hospices and day centres
• allotments (although works to individual plots cannot be funded).
2. Landowner permission – Applicants will still need to demonstrate that they have (or can get) the permission of the landowner to undertake their project and that the project can be looked after in future in order to receive funds but they don’t need to have a signed form at this stage.
So . . . don’t miss out. Fill out this simple Survey Monkey expression of interest form.
A stimulating Holyrood presentation by Dr Duncan Halley on landscape-scale woodland restoration, wider land use, deer management, rural economy etc. in SW Norway, the area most climatically comparable area to the Scottish Highlands.
The Croft Woodlands Project aims to help create 500 hectares of new woodland on croft land by 2020. For more information about planting trees or managing woodland on crofted land email email@example.com or call 0343 770 5847.
Lochaber Environmental Group’s Zero Waste Project is gearing up for European Week for Waste Reduction (EWWR).
EWWR is the biggest waste campaign of its kind in the world with countries from all over Europe taking part, and is co-ordinated in Scotland by Zero Waste Scotland. The theme for this year’s campaign is cutting food waste, and Zero Waste Scotland is calling on people across Scotland to get involved and reduce their household food waste.
Avoidable food waste costs Scotland £1.1billion a year. One fifth of the food we buy every year ends up being thrown away! The ZeroWaste Lochaber team will be providing practical advice on how householders can reduce their food waste and save money during EWWR at several events across Lochaber.
They will be at:
If you would like to find out more about how to reduce your food waste please get in contact with us at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you’re interested in how a whole-school approach to food and food education can enrich the learning in your school and wider community, Food for Life is for you.
Complementing the Food for Life Catering Mark-awarded meals being served in many Highland schools, the Food for Life Scotland Education Framework is designed to help schools explore, understand, take action on, and celebrate the many ways in which food is intertwined with every aspect of our lives; including our own health and well-being, and the health and well-being of our local and global communities, economies and environments.
Food for Life will be running information sessions in the following locations on the following dates:
All sessions will run from 16.00 – 17.15
Photograph of Rosebank School Health day is from the Food for Life website
It's Big Energy Saving week and there's lots of tips on how to reduce energy use on the Energy Savings Trust website.
You can also make sure that you're not paying too much or missing out on any benefits or support that could help you manage your bills by calling Home Energy Scotland on 0808 808 2282.
Or go along to you local Citizen Advice centre for more fuel and money saving advice.
Carbon Brief has published their new interactive UK Energy Map. At a glance, you can now see the various sources of power generation across the UK, both in terms of their precise location and at the scale of their generating capacity. The information includes graphs for energy trends and for climate change showing key indicators, such as global emissions and sea level rise, and Carbon Brief will update them as new data is published.
Photograph is from energy.gov
Marine Scotland is seeking people who take part in long distance swimming, coasteering, land yachting, SCUBA diving, surfing / wind surfing, rowing / sculling, water skiing, to make sure these activities are properly reflected in the survey results. Of course, we would also like to hear from people who enjoy more popular activities such as canoeing, kayaking, sailing, bird and wildlife watching.
Marine Scotland’s national survey of coastal and marine recreation and tourism has received nearly 2,000 completed surveys across 22 activities, but they’d like even more. The survey is open until 31st October and can be completed online at:
www.marinerecreationandtourism.scot. It works best on laptop/desktop computers, rather than tablets or smartphones, due to the map-based sections of the survey.
There’s a separate survey for businesses involved in marine recreation and tourism. This survey is targeted at anyone who relies on the marine environment for their business – from a bed and breakfast owner in a coastal town to a tour operator. Currently, more than 200 business surveys have been completed. This survey can be accessed at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/marine_business_survey
Everyone who completes the survey of marine recreation and tourism activity will have the opportunity to enter a free prize draw with prizes that include:
o A short break in one of Scottish Canals’ holiday cottages
o Spa Day Experience for two guests at Portavadie’s new Spa
o Family tickets for Inveraray Jail and Inveraray Castle
o Two Return Tickets for the Kintyre Express fast passenger ferry from Campbeltown to Ballycastle in Northern Ireland
There are still spaces on the Forest School Practitioner training course to be held at Dunstaffnage, Oban from 16th to 20th November and on 28th and 29th November.
It’s for those interested in running Forest School sessions with children, young people or adults. It is for rangers, teachers, support workers and others who have experience of working with groups. The courses are small and friendly with experienced trainers. A mixture of indoor theory and outdoor practical work.
There are places remaining on the November intake of the Forest School Leader training being run by ecologist and trainer, Ross Preston of Rowan Ecology and Education Support. Ross and Janie have been involved in environmental education for many years and in Forest School in Scotland since it started in 2004. They were trained by Gordon Woodall who brought the movement to the UK.
Dates: each day (approx. 9-5pm) Monday 16th – Friday 20th November and Saturday and Sunday 28/29th November. There will be a further student support day (optional but recommended) which will be organised with the students once their self-directed study is under way.
Cost: £700 including college registration and course materials
Please see www.rowanecology.com for further details and links to information about Forest School.
To enquire about booking please send an email to email@example.com or call 01631 567326 or all Ross on 07788 190503
Venue: Eden Court Inverness - La Scala Cinema
Wednesday 14 October 2015 – 7.30 pm
A two-part presentation which charts the career of one of Scotland's first professional nature photographers beginning with previously unseen images of everyday subjects close to his home in the Scottish Borders and the Highlands. It will also include a selection of work from the recently published book: 'Otters Return to the River' documenting the return of otters to the Tweed river system over a twenty year period.
After an interval, the second part of the evening's presentation will show the results from an on-going project on the North Harris Estate where Laurie is working on a commission to photograph the wildlife, landscape and a little of the culture of this wild and beautiful part of Scotland.
Included in this section will be tales describing his experiences of photographing golden eagles in winter and then from a tiny camouflaged hide thirty feet away on a cliff ledge overlooking their eyrie where he captured some of the most intimate photographs ever taken of golden eagles at the nest.
Eagles have been a passion for Laurie throughout his career, not least because of the difficulties of getting close-up pictures of wild birds. His methods are the opposite of what he calls the ‘pay and display’ approach that some people take to photographing species such as eagles and ospreys.
“Some folk hire a falconer to fly an eagle near them,” he says, “or pay for use of a hide by a trout pond.
“But for me, photographing nature is about slowing down and tuning in to a subject, not getting a quick image fix. From my own small hides, I always tend to see far more than I can photograph. And by spending many hours there, I’m less likely to disturb the wildlife I’m hoping to portray.”
Laurie still reckons there are many new kinds of images he’s yet to take: “Some of my work, especially with eagles – photographing them at a distance – still feels pioneering.
Read the Scottish Biodiversity Newsletter which includes an article on the new ‘Atlas of Living Scotland’ contributors to which include contributing data to the Atlas include national and regional biological recording schemes and societies, research and educational institutions, Local Environmental Records Centres, ecological consultancies, museums, botanic gardens and community groups.
The Atlas brings together biological data, merges them with other environmental data such as spatial layers for soil, climate and habitats and allows online analysis and interrogation. The Atlas will have a spatial portal with analysis tools to enable users to
intersect environmental data and biological occurrence data and to generate in-depth site
reports. Users will also be able to perform species distribution modelling to predict changes to the spatial ranges of species as a result of environmental changes.
Taking a look at the Atlas will also reveal just how important it is to get your data in, so that the distribution maps can be meaningful.
Community and voluntary groups across the north are invited to apply for funding to put their ideas into action and bring benefits to their local communities. Caithness Members of The Highland Council have set aside £30k from the Ward Discretionary Budget to let the local community decide for themselves which projects are needed in their area Whether you want to organise a dance for young people, a healthy living project, a crime prevention idea, a lunch club for older residents, a community art project, all ideas, large and small are welcome.
Any local community, voluntary or non-profit organisation, even informal groups, can apply for up to £3,000. To be valid all activities will have to happen in Caithness and benefit local people.
Applications must be submitted before 5pm on Monday 19 October. If your idea fits, the community will get the opportunity to vote for the best ideas at an event to be held on Saturday 21st November 2015 in the Pulteney Centre, Huddart Street, Wick from 10am.
At this event applicants will be required to present their idea to the community. Those attending will then have the chance to vote on all the applications and a decision will be made on the day.
Application forms can be accessed online from the Highland Council website at or by contacting Yvonne@CVG.org.uk 01955609960 Caithness Voluntary Group or Kimberley_spiers@hotmail.co.uk 07557918564, Sinclair Bay Community Council who will also be able to provide information and assistance with the application process.
We said many thanks to retiring HEN Directors Bob Bull and Kendra Turnbull and welcomed three new Directors : Andy Ford, Archie Prentice and Terry Stebbings. who join the current directors: Vanessa Halhead (Chair), Alison Craig (Vice-chair), Suzanne Barr (Secretary) and Andy Mohun (Treasurer).
We’ve a busy time ahead planning HENs future - so many thanks have to go to them all.
The Keep Scotland Beautiful Bee Diverse campaign aims to encourage and enable communities to plant for pollinators, specifically bumblebees and butterflies, to encourage biodiversity. By offering community groups, organisations, schools and individuals the opportunity to apply for and receive native seeds to help butterflies and bumblebees flourish, as well as resources to inform groups and individuals about what they are planting, how to maintain and benefit from their plants, and why this is important, this campaign hopes to reconnect people with their environment, learn a little about biodiversity through the help of online resources, and create a healthy and diverse outdoor space for their communities and themselves to enjoy.
For more information contact Pamitta Mall
A new plan to help wildlife was launched yesterday at the Highland Environment Forum’s September meeting in Inverness.
The Highland Biodiversity Forum (HEF) is made up of nearly 50 organisations, groups and bodies that have come together to foster and co-ordinate environmental activity across Highland. Chairperson George Hogg said: “This revision is the result of much discussion and thinking by many people across Highland. I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to its development. The challenge for all of us now is to get on and deliver it!”
Find out about current approaches to invasive non-native species control at the Highland Invasive Species Forum which will be meeting in the Lovat Arms, Beauty on 9th October.
The agenda for the day includes accounts of invasive species control in the Inner Moray Firth, and a Highland Squirrel Group update. There will also be a talk on, and demonstration of, using a drone for remote habitat mapping.
There will be the chance to learn from Spanish experience of removing invasive species from Pyrenean rivers and site visits to look at Rhododendron and Japanese Knotweed control.
And a special mention should be made of the scones and lunch on offer!
If you would like to come along, please book with Caroline Vawdrey at firstname.lastname@example.org or 07733771186
The Highland Environmental Network, is at an exciting time in its development as we work to improve our support of community organisations working to improve our environment – and reach new groups wanting to deliver environmental activity perhaps for the first time. We want to help groups make the right links to access the best advice and share their knowledge with others.
HEN has been extremely busy recently deepening our links with community organisations across Highland through our ‘Working Together’ research project; and with statutory organisations through the Highland Environment Forum, a community planning group. This work includes helping community organisations improve their links with key Highland agencies, and vice versa, to share information on activities and new opportunities.
We’re keen to hear from anyone who wishes to help maintain the momentum HEN has created. We seek volunteers, both as HEN champions and new Board members. Our current Board is highly committed, active and experienced and we have the benefit of having an extremely able and enthusiastic Project Officer, Caroline Vawdrey. If you wish to hear more, please contact Caroline at email@example.com
Our HEN AGM is on 22nd September at 18.00 in Glachbeg Croft Education Centre, Black Isle.
Vanessa Halhead, HEN Chair, on behalf of the HEN Board
Warmer Homes Scotland and HEEPS Loan scheme are open for applications - Both schemes are designed to help people make their homes warmer and more comfortable by installing a range of energy saving measures. For more information contact Home Energy Scotland on 0808 808 2282.
The Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme supports programmes that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Examples of the types of work that the programme will consider include: energy efficiency, low carbon and/or renewable generation, recycling and re-use, local finance solutions, community benefit.
Go along to Abriachan Forest this Sunday to celebrate community land ownership and discuss land reform.
Speakers at the festival will be Peter Peacock of Community Land Scotland, Lesley Riddoch, Angus McCall of Scottish Tenant Farmers, Liz Paul of Women for Independence, Isla O'Reilly of Highland Greens and Jen Stout of Scottish Land Action Movement.
The festival takes place from 10.00am to 3.00pm
For more details and to book go to: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/abriachan-gathering-our-land-scottish-land-festival-tickets-18179601678?ref=esfb
Or take a look at their Facebook page
You'll be able to visit over 30 Highlands and Islands homes and a wide range of community events during Green Home Energy Week, which runs from 5th to 13th September.
Green Home Energy Week gives you the chance to find out what it’s like to live in a home with energy efficiency improvements and renewables systems. The homes feature a broad range of low cost and innovative energy efficiency improvements including solar powered heating, wind turbines, heat pumps, biomass boilers, wall insulation, loft insulation and everything in between.
Register for a visit and you'll be able to chat to green homeowners about their experiences, and find out more about the free advice and support available to help you make your home more energy efficient.
The community events, being held on the Black Isle, and in Elphin, Lochaber, Kingussie and Nairn, give more opportunities to find out more about these technologies, meet the installers and find out how to save money at the ‘Billbuster' sessions.
The Green Home Energy Week website has an easily searchable map to help you find community events and green homes in your area - and register to visit.
Voting opens today for the M & S fund to support local energy production, and community company, Soirbheas, are asking for your help to secure a potential £40K towards their hydro scheme, at Shenval, near Drumnadrochit. If successful the scheme will generate both electricity and income for the community.
Support from Soirbheas has helped local groups and organisations to buy much needed equipment ranging from small items such as sports kit to significant installations such as solar panels for a public hall. A range of arts, sport and heritage projects are supported as well as activities including social and educational trips for the young and old. Soirbheas also helps with training, research on assistance required and is currently looking at the roll out of high speed broadband to those areas that will be beyond BT’s reach.
The Shenval Hydro scheme has local support and the developer of the project, Green Highland Renewables Ltd, has already secured planning permission for the scheme, which will utilise the Allt Seanabhaile burn on Forestry Commission land near Shenval in Glen Urquhart. Once installed the scheme will have an output of 500KW.
The money generated from this investment will allow Soirbheas to launch a new Apprenticeship Grant Scheme for people aged 18 – 25 years. The scheme will assist young people in gaining a Modern Apprenticeship Qualification and encourage them to stay in the area in addition to supporting local business’ growth by developing skilled staff.
The vote is open until 30th September and the funding support is given to the project that has the most votes.
The third Climate Challenge Fund peer-to-peer network meeting will take place on Wednesday 19th August from 09:30-12:30 at the Spectrum Centre 1 Margaret St, Inverness, Highland IV1 1L
The meeting is an opportunity for community groups taking action on climate change - whether they are CCF funded or not - to come together, share expertise and ideas, and identify ways of working together and supporting each other. This meeting will also be attended by a representative of Home Energy Scotland, who’ll give an update on the schemes and support available, and discuss how best community groups can access these.
So if you or your community group is involved in energy efficiency, fuel poverty, food growing, local food, waste reduction or sustainable and active travel, this could be a useful event for you.
For projects who are delivering projects that give energy advice Home Energy Scotland will also be hosting an event in the afternoon from 2pm, at the HES Advice Centre, Fairways House, Inverness. Lunch will be served at the Spectrum Centre immediately following the morning meeting (12:30pm).
You can register directly at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/ccf-peer-peer-regional-climate-network-meeting-highland-tickets-17438970430 or if you’d like to find out more email Russell Gill at Keep Scotland Beautiful firstname.lastname@example.org
Young Scot and Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) are looking for 15 young people from across Scotland, aged 14-23, to be part of a new team which will help involve other young people in caring for the natural environment and biodiversity.
This is an opportunity to have fun, improve your skills and make a valuable contribution whilst working collaboratively with other young people and professionals. Activities will include:
There will be the chance to run workshops, focus groups or consultations with young people
The work will contribute to the Young Scot Youth Achievement Award, Saltire Award and John Muir Award
Find out more at http://young.scot/13912.aspx or email Ettie Shattock, SNH Partnership Office on email@example.com
The deadline for applications is Friday 14th August 2015 at 12pm.
Posted Tuesday, August 11, 2015
With Autumn and Winter fast approaching, now is the perfect time to consider the wide range of volunteering opportunities available in Lochaber.
On Friday 21st August Voluntary Action Lochaber is hosting an informal gathering for anyone considering volunteering. A number of third sector organisations will be providing information about their activities, from environmental projects to community radio and lots in between.
Come along and find out a little more or arrange a taster session. There is no commitment to sign up, please just come along to find out more.
Pop in anytime from 10.00 until 12.00 on Friday 21st August at An Drochaid in Claggan. A free light lunch is available afterwards from 12.00 noon.
For more information please contact Margaret or Helen at Voluntary Action Lochaber on 01397 706044 or firstname.lastname@example.org
VAL has a list of updated volunteering opportunities in a wide variety of areas why not browse the website on www.valochaber.org or call us to make an appointment to register. Tel: 01397 706044
Funding Scotland (SCVO) and Signpost have organised two courses to help people from the voluntary/charity and social enterprise sector find out how to get information on relevant funding sources, use online funding searches, target those searches effectively and write a convincing funding application.
The courses take place on Tuesday 8th September in Fairways House, Fairways Business Park, Inverness, IV2 6AA.
‘Finding Funding’ takes place from 10.00 to 12.00 and will include information how to get ready for fundraising, find the best sources of information, use the Funding Scotland search engine and understand fund entries in directories and from online searches. For more details see the SCVO website http://www.scvo.org.uk/events/finding-funding
‘Perfect match’ takes place from 13.00 to 15.00 and is designed to help organisations describe their work to a funder and make successful funding applications. For more details see the SCVO website http://www.scvo.org.uk/events/perfect-match
Cost for each course: SCVO and Signpost members: £30, non-members: £50
For more information and to book contact Sandra Hogg @ email@example.com
Phone 01463 251729
Both the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS) are reporting on the the benefits of green spaces.
SEPA news highlights the benefits of green infrastructure (networks of greenspaces - areas of grass, plants and trees) to our health and well being. Not only do they help tackle air and noise pollution, flooding and diffuse water pollution, green infrastructure also provides places for recreation, active travel, the growing of food and better habitat networks for wildlife.
Scottish research has also shown that self-reported stress is linked to the amount of greenspace in an area. Just being in, or viewing greenspace, for a few minutes can reduce stress.
Green infrastructure can also be cost-saving, in terms of both construction and maintenance costs and - particularly when you take into account the range of multiple benefits - Sustainable drainage schemes (SUDS) to address water quality and flooding problems are a good example of the the additional biodiversity and amenity benefits that can be provided.
The Scottish Green Infrastructure Forum (SGIF) is committed to encouraging green infrastructure development in Scotland. During 2015, SGIF is working on two main projects – 10,000 Rain gardens for Scotland to collect and slow down rainfall movement in urban areas, and their two day conference ‘Green infrastructure: a growing need’ conference on 6 & 7 October as part of Glasgow’s Green 2015.
For more information about SGIF, their projects and the conference have a look at the SGIF website or follow SGIF on twitter: @ScottishGIF
Meanwhile over in the forests research by a University of Dundee PhD student has shown that woodland can help people with early stage dementia. This was a ten week ranger-led pilot activity programme in Callander Wood, Falkirk. Led by Forestry Commission Scotland rangers, it involved three hours of woodland-based activities once a week. These included walks, tree planting, fire lighting and woodland cooking, nature photography, willow sculpting and tree and bird identification.
This innovative approach could compliment traditional health approaches. It offers a chance for participants to stay active and connected with their community, and to keep their independence as long as possible. Given the results, Forestry Commission Scotland plans to roll out the programme to new locations in the future. Read more about the research here.
In the Cairngorms National Park, Scottish Natural Heritage and local experts, are working on a new monitoring programme for a very rare bee called the Mountain Mason Bee (Osmia inermis).
Unlike bumblebees or honeybees, the Mountain Mason Bee is solitary and lives on upland species-rich grassland with plenty of bare rock. Once mated, females create their own nests under stones and in rock crevices using chewed plant material.
Artificial nest sites have been created from upturned terracotta dishes, a method developed in Canada. If bees are found using them, we then know for sure that the species is present in an area. If the method works here, testing for their presence will take place in other parts of the Park too.
Take a look here to see more about Cairngorms priority species.
The RSPB and Cairngorms Nature have launched a UK-wide search to find a child who is passionate about nature and can inspire others. And the prize to the winner is likely to be an inspiration to them too - a day being filmed with BBC nature presenter Iolo Williams, here in the Cairngorms National Park as part of a 5-day Speyside Wildlife holiday for them and their family.
Iolo Williams said, “ I am delighted to be involved in this competition. In our multi-media age, where the screen is all too often king I want to encourage young people to get outside and be passionate about nature. ”
The competition is open to all 10-16 year olds who are UK residents, all they need to do to enter is to film themselves presenting something in nature. The film should be no longer than 90 seconds and they must tell the camera why they would like to present Cairngorms Nature to a young audience.
The entries must be uploaded by a parent or guardian and will be shortlisted by a judging panel. The final eight will be showcased online with the winner being decided by a public vote.
For more information on the competition, how to enter and all the Terms and Conditions please visit www.rspb.org.uk/cairngormsnature
The Changeworks Fuel Poverty Conference 2015 will be held on 23 September 2015 in Edinburgh. The conference will bring together people who are at the forefront of tackling fuel poverty in Scotland, from policy makers and service managers to frontline staff.
The conference will promote and celebrate the work already underway in Scotland to reduce fuel poverty, identify potential opportunities to improve on where we are now, and look to the future at what we can do collectively to continue to help those most in need.
With a mix of keynote speakers – including Margaret Burgess MSP, Minister for Housing and Welfare – presentations and workshops, conference delegates will explore key subjects related to fuel poverty.
Topics will include:
The Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme is part of the Scottish Government's target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 42% by 2020 and has £76m to spend over a three-year period.
The programme is a working partnership between the Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise, Highlands & Islands Enterprise, Scottish Futures Trust and sector specialists and supports businesses, third sector and community groups in developing business cases to allow them to secure existing streams of public and private capital finance.
Projects will be expected to provide full details in the application form, with supporting financial information, demonstrating how the project meets the required eligibility criteria. The projects will then be assessed by the project team.
The programme will consider support for projects in the following areas:
Full details of the application criteria and process can be found on the Scottish Government website
The UK Department of Energy and Climate Change have a new initiative to fund groups to provide energy advice.
The Big Energy Saving Network Grant Fund is a £1 million programme to support third sector organisations and community groups delivering energy saving help and advice to vulnerable consumers.
Each successful grant is for £5000 per champion (outreach person), and organisations can nominate single or multiple champions each leading and delivering their own programme of outreach, or working together as a defined group of Champions to deliver a collective programme in a geographic area
The Network provides dedicated training for nominated Champion(s) to support outreach activities and events to provide help and advice to vulnerable consumers.
The grant can be used to cover costs incurred in running public events and/or making home visits, including staff time, venue hire, travel and publicity costs.
The application form and guidance notes are available for download here. The deadline for completed applications is 10pm, 17 July 2015.
With long days, and even a little warmth on occasion, there can be no better time of year to think about how to make your work commute more Carbon CLEVER, and the webpages set up by the Highland Council’s climate change team are packed full of information on how to do this.
From taking public transport, to car sharing or walking and cycling the webpages have numerous links to useful websites - meaning that you can find cycle friendly routes at the click of a button, learn how to repair your bike, get links to public transport timetables or find out about lift share schemes in the Highlands.
And for those of you who would like to cut down on travel the good news is that using phone or video conferencing, and working from home are all excellent for the environment too.
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) is keen to hear your views about the environment and how you interact with it.
- How important is the environment to you?
- How does the environment help us in our day to day lives?
- To what extent do you feel involved in decisions about the environment? - How do you currently help to look after the environment?
- What could help you to do more to look after the environment?
Join us for a light buffet and a fun, interactive and informative workshop on Saturday June 20th in Dingwall at the National Hotel in Dingwall (High Street, Dingwall, IV15 9HA) from 10am-12.30pm plus lunch.
To say thanks for taking part you’ll receive a £20 shopping voucher at the end of the workshop.
Translation services can be provided as required if requested at least 72 hours in advance.
Please register your interest at http://tinyurl.com/SEPAsignup or by telephoning Hannah on 0131 225 5600.
You may remember that our spring newsletter 'Good Food, Local Food' included an article about Scot Hatch and their plans for scallop ranching over at Gairloch. Well, the good news is that thanks to your support they are through to the semi-finals of the Virgin Media 'Pitch to Rich'.
So now they need your support again, to get them through to the finals. To do that, click here and cast your vote.
To add to the incentive to vote Virgin Media are offering a prize of £10,000 to one lucky voter.
The first of the Carbon Clever community fund deadlines is coming up this month. If you live in Skye, Ross & Cromarty your application needs to be with the Carbon Clever team by 24 June.
The fund is a pot of £200,000 to be distributed around the Highlands to communities with plans to reduce carbon consumption. It is a capital grant fund, and so the projects need to include at least £6,000 of capital expenditure. Keith Masson, a member of the climate change team, has put together some guidance on what qualifies for the grant.
Other than that, the terms of the community fund are very broad, but proposed projects need to show:
The closing dates for the rest of the Highlands are:
If you’d like to learn more about the fund, or sound out possible ideas, get in touch with the climate change team on firstname.lastname@example.org. They’re a pretty knowledgeable and helpful bunch!
There’s lots of opportunities to get involved with Trees for Life conservation days and training days during June:
Wednesday 10th June - Training: Techniques for Monitoring Tree Regeneration
This course will develop your understanding of the techniques used to monitor the density of natural regeneration, how to identify damage and viability in trees, plus how to identify tree species and assess habitat. Participants must have a basic understanding of common tree ID and numeracy.
Sunday 14th June - Training: Dragonfly Surveying
The surveys will cover dragonfly ID and upland bog and forest lochan sites, reconfirming presence of a Red Data Book endangered species and surveying previously unrecorded sites. No prior knowledge of dragonflies required, but availability on some or all of the following survey dates is greatly desired: June 21st and 28th, July 12th and 26th.
Wednesday 17th June - Conservation: Glen Strathfarrar
Returning to last autumn's planting site to see how the young trees are doing. Work will focus on clearing bracken from around the young trees. There is a steep uphill walk with rough ground.
Wednesday 8th July - Training: Native Tree Seed Collection
Partnering with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Learn how to assess, collect and store native tree seeds and help us contribute to this seed collection for the future. No prior knowledge needed.
Trees for Life have also produced a volunteer handbook, which contains a range of useful information, including what you expect as a volunteer.
Find out more about conservation days on the Trees for Life website.
Join a Conservation Day or training day by contacting Jo and Carol on 01309 691292 or email email@example.com. For any issues on the day of volunteering please call the Conservation Day mobile phone 07780 214464.
Zero Carbon Britain: Rethinking the Future is the latest publication from the Centre for Alternative technology, at Machynclleth, Wales. The report looks at how, with the political will and collaboration, it should be possible to have a Zero Carbon Britain in Fifteen years.
To achieve this the researchers assume a 60% reduction in power use - through the Powerdown approach. This assumes that industrial energy use remains constant, but that large energy savings are made elsewhere as the result of increased efficiency and behavioural change. The fuel mix for most of the energy supply will be electricity plus solar thermal and geothermal. Biofuels will provide the liquid and gaseous fuel supplies. Land for this will be made available through a reduction in meat consumption; it is also assumed that freight transport will be diminished as a result of us largely growing our own food.
All of these will be familiar aims and scenarios for anyone involved in reducing our impact on the climate. The difficulty for the lay reader is interpreting what might be wishful thinking and what is really achievable in 15 years - but the big vision and the ambitious targets are surely essential if we want to be successful in reducing global warming.
The report merits detailed consideration and analysis and can be downloaded from the Zero Carbon webpages.
The Scottish Government is consulting on its wild fisheries reform proposals, which covers the conservation and management of all salmon and fresh water species.
They propose the development of a national strategy for wild fisheries which ‘aligns fish and fisherypriorities with related strategic objectives at a national level, notably tourism, biodiversity, social inclusion etc.’ This will lead to a national fisheries bill. A national research and data strategy is also proposed.
Currently national fisheries management is undertaken by the Salmon Fisheries Boards (ASFB) and Rivers and Fisheries Trusts of Scotland (RAFTS). The consultation proposes a having a new national body and local delivery bodies - the latter are likely to be the current boards and trusts where they exist, with new bodies created where there is no current coverage.
The proposal is to fund these by expanding the salmon levy to include other commercially beneficial species. This levy will be set and collected nationally and distributed from the national organisation to the local bodies. The levy would be standard across all areas of Scotland, unless special dispensation is received for a locally enhanced levy.
The consultation states that membership of fisheries management organisations should be broadened to represent the full range of interests in wild fisheries and their management at a local level. Membership would include local authority and other public sector interests in addition to the owners and users of fishing rights.
The intention is that the local fisheries bodies should have charitable status so that they can draw in funds from elsewhere - e.g. SEPA, Europe and supporters.
The consultation document also states that they would like to expand involvement in angling, and recommends that angling bodies get together to support one organisation that can develop this aspect of their work and represent angling interests to government.
You can download the full Wild Fisheries Reform report and consultation document from the Scottish Government website.
Workplaces, schools, universities, communities and local authorities are all being encouraged to get involved and run events and campaigns for Recycle Week, which runs from the 22nd to the 26th of June.
The Recycle for Scotland website (run by Zero Waste Scotland) has lots of good ideas how to reduce waste, including the Love Your Clothes webpages - with lots of ideas from heart shaped darning to making children cloths out of worn adult ones. There’s also lots of practical advice on home composting, reducing your waste in five easy steps and much more.
Recycle for Scotland have also produced some support materials to help with running an event, including posters about how materials are transformed through recycling, a video about why recycling is fun, easy and makes a difference and art work for t-shirts and pull up banners. And if you want to keep people busy, they’ve a Recycling on the Go quiz.
You can your events on recycleforscotland.com and they’ll promote your activity in press and media and on their Facebook and pages.
To find out more about any aspect of Recycle Week, get in touch with Andrew Pankhurst on 07702 976601 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The NFU are concerned that 5% of rape seed oil crops have been lost this season and are asking government to allow farmers in England and Wales to plant seed treated with neonicotinoids pesticides this autumn. In Scotland the Scottish Wildlife Trust are calling on the Scottish Government to permanently ban neonicotinoids, in order to prevent any such pressure to overturn the temporary European restrictions on this pesticide range.
In support of their stance, the NFU combinable crops board chairman Mike Hambly stated:
“It has already been increasingly difficult for arable farmers to control problems like cabbage stem flea beetle and turnip yellows virus (spread by peach potato aphids) as well as many weed species such as blackgrass due to the reduced number of products available for control and resistance developing against those products that remain.
“The problem will only get worse if more products go, with vast ‘unintended’ consequences for farmers and wider society.”
But the Bee Coalition made up of many of the UKs conservation bodies including the Scottish Wildlife Trust, Bumblebee Conservation Trust, RSPB, Friends of the Earth, Buglife and Pesticide Action Network UK strongly disagree.
Head of Policy for the Scottish Wildlife Trust, Dr Maggie Keegan, said: “There is very clear evidence that these toxic chemicals harm wild pollinators and honeybees. Pollination is vital for many Scottish crops and is estimated to be worth at least £43 million per year to Scotland’s economy.
“To continue to use chemicals which kill off these wonderful creatures that provide this free service is not a smart move and would be disastrous for pollinators, other wildlife and ultimately farming ecosystems. The Scottish Wildlife Trust wants to see the Scottish Government ban neonicotinoids permanently and hopes the UK Government makes the same decision.”
The Scottish Wildlife Trust briefing paper on neonicotinoids clearly sums up the dangers of this suite of pesticides.
Sprayed on to plants: ’… the insecticide works on the insect’s nervous system, binding with nerve receptors, resulting in paralysis and death of the insect. This neural pathway is more abundant in insects than mammals and birds making the chemical much more toxic to insects.’
And used as a seed coating: ‘Reaching all parts of the plant, the insecticide also contaminates the crop’s pollen and nectar sources. This means that non-target pollinating insects such as honey bees, bumblebees, hoverflies and other insects that feed on nectar such as butterflies, are exposed to the neurotoxin when the crop flowers- albeit in minute quantities.
Although the dosage is too small to kill insect pollinators outright, there is a growing body of evidence,3 4 using field- realistic dosages of the insecticide, that shows that ‘sub-lethal’ doses affects the survival of honey bees and bumble bees by interfering with foraging behaviour and foraging efficiency.’
And crops can be successfully grown without these chemicals. As Peter Lungren, a Lincolnshire farmer told the RSPB: “So far I am managing well without neonicotinoids and I am constantly looking to improve my system further. Any pesticide can have unwanted impacts, but with sprays these can be minimised by following best practice, like only spraying if pest thresholds are exceeded. For me this is one of the advantages of moving away from seed treatments, where you have to make a decision even before the growing season starts.
'And the cost to my business of not using neonicotinoid seed treatment is minimal - just £2.20 per hectare. As far as I’m concerned this cost is outweighed by the importance of conserving our pollinator populations.’
Farmers across Europe can also take part in the European Bee Award for pollinator friendly farming practices, which is run by the European Landowners Organisations. Find out more on the Rural Gateway website.
Scottish Communities Climate Action Network and Transition Scotland are sharing their free online resources, and eventually plan to merge their maps of groups, to make it easier to find out what's happening in your area.
Transition Scotland offers resources to guide you through processes to encourage sustainable action and to help you to think a little bit wider than just carbon savings.
It can be inspiring to think big and see how many problems can be tackled at the same time with a well planned project. What about your local economy & jobs? Are you considering how you personally are transitioning and coping with the changes taking place? The Transition Network has an international ‘hub’ model which has some financial support too. Scottish Communities CAN and Transition Scotland are discussing how to work together so that nobody feels they are operating in isolation.
If you wish to know more about Transition Scotland, get in touch with email@example.com
UHI student Robert Morrison is looking for some work experience where he can use his environmental skills. Robert outlines his experience and hopes below:
'I am a full time student entering my final year of Archaeology and Environmental Science BSc (Honours) with the University of The Highlands and Islands. I have achieved a 2:1 throughout the course and am projected to achieve that at a minimum next year. I am looking to secure experience of an environmental consultant role through an internship or work experience which I hope will further develop my analytical skills, research skills and knowledge in a practical and fast paced environment. My job experience is limited however my notable modules at University include Ecological Principles, Collecting and Analysing Data, Introduction to GIS, Environmental Conservation, Management of The Marine Resource, Globalisation and Sustainable Development, Research Skills and Project, Strategic Environmental Monitoring. I am extremely keen to gain experience in the Environmental sector and would appreciate contact if any opportunities are available.'
You can contact Rob here.
Funding is still available for home renewables and district heating schemes, and will be on offer on a first come first served basis. Details can be found on the Energy Savings Trust website.
What is available under the scheme?
For renewables systems - up to 75 per cent of the total cost of renewables systems up to £10,000 .
For district heating scheme connections - up to 100 per cent of the total cost of connecting to a district heating scheme up to £5,000.
The amount borrowed, and repayment period depends on the technology being installed.
Who can apply?
Loans are available to owner occupiers in Scotland for residential existing buildings and new buildings under construction where the property is already owned by the intended owner occupier.
To find out more and get some expert advice speak to Home Energy Scotland free on 0808 808 2282
Resource Efficient Scotland is offering several strands of support to small and medium businesses wanting to improve their energy and water efficiency.
They offer a free and confidential audit on how to use a loan to cut operating costs and improve profitability - advice which the Boat Hotel in Boat of Garten used to install a biomass boiler, saving money and CO2. Click here to read this full case study and others, including the Aros Centre on Skye and Kylesku Hotel in Sutherland
Loans are available from £1k to £100k to help businesses reduce costs through improved energy, material resource and/or water efficiency. Scottish small and medium businesses, private sector landlords, not-for-profit organisations and charities are all eligible to apply. Loans are interest free (unless you are applying for a renewable technology and will receive Feed-in Tariff or Renewable Heat Incentive, in which case the interest rate is 5 per cent).
Applications for a loan must be supported by a Green Deal assessment, or a Resource Efficient Scotland report if the projects to be funded are not eligible under Green Deal. The cost of a non-domestic Green Deal assessment can be added to your loan application. Resource Efficient Scotland advisors can provide free further information and help organisations to take of advantage of this opportunity.
Resource Efficient Scotland is also able to pay for the short-term employment of a skilled person to manage the implementation of a resource efficiency project with clearly defined environmental and economic benefits to the organisation(s). Funding from £5,000-£20,000 is available to employ someone for 3-6 months.
The deadline for application for this support is 30th June 2015, and all projects must be completed by 29th January 2016. Click here for more details.
The Young Reporters Scotland programme was launched on Friday 15th May to help young people aged from 11 - 21 years old to write about environmental and sustainability issues and take action.
The annual quest will see young people Scotland-wide encouraged to get creative and submit a piece of journalism which explores, and proposes a solution to, a sustainability issue within their own community. The competition is open to young people, and it is hoped that colleges and youth groups will take up the 2015 challenge.
The 2015 Young Reporters Scotland competition encourages submissions in an array of media, from video and animation, to articles, blogs and photography. Winners of the Scottish competition will also have the chance to compete at international level - where they can become a part of a network of young people producing creative solutions to environmental issues within their own communities. Submissions need to be in by 30th November.
The support of Tesco’s Single Use Carrier Bag Charge has enabled Keep Scotland Beautiful to develop this programme and support young people across Scotland to take part.
Tony McElroy, Tesco Communications Manager for Scotland, commented: “It is really important we maximise the benefit of the proceeds of the carrier bag charge. At Tesco we are keen to play our part and help customers and communities. With this project we hope to see a new generation of young people step forward to ask the big questions on the environment, and help provide the further stimulus we need on environmental action.”
The competition welcomes enquiries from young people who are interested in taking part. More information on the competition, ideas and inspiration can be found at www.keepscotlandbeautiful.org/yrs
The Highland Council has awarded a new contract to the Highland Environmental Network (HEN) to publicise environmental information to Highland individuals and organisations.
The Highland Environmental Network was established in 1991 and is a not for profit organisation that aims to connect people who are involved or interested in environmental matters. The Highland Environmental Network is relevant to groups and individuals with an interest in the environment and as a single point through which organisations can communicate acts as a hub to tackle some of the communication challenges in remote and rural areas.
Councillor Maxine Smith, Chair of the Council’s Resources Committee said: “The Council has supported the network since 2009 and I am pleased that we have renewed this agreement until March 2016. In recent years the Highland Environmental Network has shown their ability and expertise in sharing information, facilitating partnerships and supporting community action.”
“HEN is a keen supporter of the Council led Carbon CLEVER initiative, which has a target of a carbon neutral Inverness in a low carbon Highlands by 2025. Through this contract, HEN will be able to conduct additional work to share information, and promote funding and job opportunities, helping the region move towards a Carbon CLEVER future.
“A fantastic network, HEN is overseen by a passionate board of volunteers, or rather experts, from a range of environmental organisations who contribute a significant amount of time to make sure the network is a success.”
Alison Craig, Vice Chair of the Highland Environmental Network, said "It is very rewarding to be part of Highland Environmental Network at this time, as we have an excellent Development Officer in the shape of Caroline Vawdrey who has been working hard, with the help of locally based researchers, to extend our understanding of the needs of community organisations delivering environmental projects across Highland through our Working Together research project. In addition we have been successful in our bid to continue to support better engagement between statutory organisations and Highland community organisations. We'd be delighted to hear from anyone who wishes to find out more about HEN".
The Highland Environmental Network's Annual Report 2014-15 is now available online at www.highlandenvironment.org.uk/pagex.asp?bioid=5263. It outlines a range of activity the network has been involved in over the part year and provides information on the network’s success to date and plans for the future.
The report highlights growth in Network’s membership and displays the continued success of the organisation in developing a reputation for being an informative, reliable networking organisation.
For more information on Carbon CLEVER, please visit www.highland.gov.uk/CarbonCLEVER or follow on Twitter @Carbon_CLEVER.
Scottish Natural Heritage are asking people to help them look out for sky dancers in flight. The name describes the agility and elegance of the male hen harrier as they perform their courtship display.
But it is both male and female harriers that SNH are asking for help with. The numbers of birds stay worryingly low, with an estimated 500 pairs for the whole of Scotland. They have suffered primarily through persecution and habitat change
In response Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime Scotland (PAW Scotland) has set up a ‘Heads Up for Harriers’ group, which is raising awareness of this majestic bird, determining the current number of hen harriers in Scotland, and identifying specific threats to their survival.
Professor Des Thompson (Scottish Natural Heritage), Chair of the Heads Up for Harriers Group, said:
“Several national surveys of hen harriers have found they are faring well in some areas, but declining or absent all together in others. In some places, there are no harriers at all because of persecution and a range of other factors. Working within PAW Scotland, we’re trying to develop a clearer picture of the distribution of harriers, and the work needed to improve their prospects.
Douglas McAdam, CEO of Scottish Land & Estates added:
“The Heads Up for Harriers Project is engaging all sectors of the uplands, including land owners and managers, conservation organisations, ornithologists and where necessary enforcement organisations.
“This year, five of our members in different parts of Scotland are working with SNH staff to use time lapse nest cameras to try to discover reasons why harrier breeding attempts are prone to failure. It is by working together in such projects that we can secure the future of these special birds.”
Email any sightings to us at HenHarrier@snh.gov.uk or call 07767 671973.
Keep Scotland Beautiful is encouraging communities across Scotland to take the climate pledge and to express their support and commitment to taking local action on climate change.
By signing the pledge you will be agreeing to:
The first community to take the pledge was the Kyle of Sutherland Development Trust - so let's keep Highland ahead of the game!
You can find out more on the Keep Scotland Beautiful website.
Dr Roo Campbell is the new project manager for Scottish Wildcat Action, based at Scottish Natural Heritage’s Great Glen House in Inverness. He brings with him significant experience of carrying out research on the behaviour and ecology of Scottish wildcats.
Commenting on the project Dr Campbell said “This project is the best chance for survival the Scottish wildcat has ever seen. It is one of the biggest partner-led conservation projects for any native species in Scotland, with more than 20 key organisations involved, and I am delighted to lead such a highly skilled team to take this project forward.”
Four new project officers have been appointed across the priority areas: Matt Wilson is based in the priority area of Morvern and is already a well-regarded wildlife expert; Keri Langridge will be based with the National Trust for Scotland covering the Strathpeffer priority area and brings with her experience of working as an ecological consultant and for Cat’s Protection; Emma Rawling is to be based with Forestry Commission Scotland at Newton, Elgin, covering Strathbogie and Strathavon and has previously co-ordinated community-based projects involving monitoring and trapping of squirrels for the Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrel’s project.
And Highland Wildlife Park-based Hebe Carus will cover Northern Strathspey and the Angus Glens. Hebe has previously worked with a range of land managers on access and environmental projects.
The partnership project also has an Edinburgh-based communications coordinator in the form of Vicky Macdonald who is based at the Scottish Wildlife Trust. Vicky has a background in third sector communications and marketing.
Scottish Wildcat Action is a five-year project which will focus on the wildcat priority areas outlined in the national action plan and is supported by Heritage Lottery Funding.
The six wildcat priority areas comprise more than 64,000 hectares of wildcat habitat and are:
• Angus Glens
• Strathbogie, Aberdeenshire
• Morvern, Lochaber
• Strathpeffer, Easter Ross
• Strathavon, Moray
• Northern Strathspey
Scottish Wildcat Action will work in the six priority wildcat areas to reduce hybridisation and disease from feral and domestic cats, accidental persecution, and impacts from development.
The is new support available to land managers through the Scottish Rural Development Programme and if landowners are interested in getting involved, the team be able to set up a network of camera traps (motion-sensitive cameras) across these areas to discover more about cats living wild in their area.
The team will also be making contact with local vets and Cat’s Protection branches to co-ordinate a programme of trapping, neutering, vaccinating and releasing feral cats to ensure they do not cross-breed with wildcats.
Roo Campbell added: “We have five years to stop wildcats from disappearing but we need to improve the fortunes for Scottish wildcats in the long term. That means leaving a legacy by reducing the risks from hybridisation and disease, and the chances of accidental harm from predator control activities. Success depends on working with local people to make a difference for the wildcats in their area. Together, we can ensure that the Scottish wildcat survives not just over the next five years but into the future.”
The team would be delighted to hear from people interested in getting involved with the project or with reporting any sightings of wild-living cats in the priority areas, whether feral domestic cats, hybrids or wildcats.
If you are interested in installing biomass heating this guide from Resource Efficient Scotland could be useful to you. It is aimed at businesses and organisations - but much of the information will be just as useful to individuals.
The Highland Council Carbon CLEVER team have put together a comprehensive guide to greener travel and commuting. The webpages include everything from bus and ferry timetables to the benefits of walking and flexible working.
It is well worth looking at the different weblinks provided - for instance Cycle Streets can give you a journey plan and maps with an impressive ease and speed - and seems to work equally as efficiently for planning a journey across town or across Scotland.
Or perhaps Highland Liftshare could be a useful site for you It can work just as well for single journeys or regular travel.
Time to get on my bike . . .
The Highland Council will be receiving over £2 million to develop and deliver local fuel poverty programmes in their share of £65 million through new funding for the Home Energy Efficiency Programme.
The new funding also includes a loans scheme which offers homeowners interest-free loans of up to £10,000 for energy efficiency measures, and a Cashback scheme which will see £10 million made available to homeowners and private tenants, and £5 million for social landlords to support their tenants.
Through the scheme private sector households will be able to claim up to £5,800 for instalments recommended by an energy advice report, and households in remote areas will be entitled to greater amounts to cover the increased costs they face. In 2014/15 1,700 social landlord tenants benefitted from the Cashback scheme while it delivered 4,000 energy efficiency measures to 3,400 households in the private sector.
Housing Minister Margaret Burgess announced the investment on a visit to meet residents from Irvine Housing Association. She said:
“It is unacceptable that anyone should experience fuel poverty in Scotland which is why we are investing more than £103 million to tackle this issue head on.
“Our new loan scheme will give homeowners the opportunity to apply for interest-free loans which will make it easier for them to take action and install energy efficiency measures in their properties. The loan can be used alongside the Cashback voucher.
“I’d encourage anyone with fuel poverty concerns to seek free and impartial advice on how they can reduce their energy costs or how to receive support for home insulation, boilers or central heating, by contacting Home Energy Scotland on 0808 808 2282.”
“Since 2009 we have allocated over half a billion pounds to make Scotland’s homes more energy efficient with over 700,000 households benefitting from measures like new boilers or insulation.
“The Scottish Government is determined to tackle the inequalities that exist in our society, and making sure everyone has access to a home where they can be safe and warm, is an essential part of this.”
Advice for applicants is available on the Home Energy Scotland website or at 0808 808 2282.
Scottish Communities Climate Action Network is offering 3 days of support from a community engagement expert, fully funded, please apply now.
They are inviting applications from community groups to take part in a project that should benefit them through expert advice and support on climate action community engagement.
This is a pilot project funded by Scottish Government.
Applications forms can be downloaded from the Scottish Communities Climate Action Network website.
Apply by noon on Monday 11 May 2015 for 3 days of support over the summer, with evaluation in August.
Zero Waste Scotland have launched a fund to help with projects that use community engagement to reduce waste through increasing recycling, reducing food waste and expanding product life-cycles by increased re-use, repair and sharing.
Funding is available for community organisations, private sector and third sector organisations as well as local authorities in Scotland to deliver a strategy of community engagements to enable behaviour change in targeted communities. This will create a network of community advocates and volunteers and will run from July 2015 until 30 June 2017.
The fund will operate on a competitive basis with a closing date of 18 May 2015. Applications will be assessed by a panel soon after this date. This fund is limited with a maximum award of £120,000 per project.
A workshop for potential applicants will be held in Stirling on Thursday 7th May 2015 from 1:30 P.M. to 5:00 P.M. This provides Zero Waste Scotland with the opportunity to meet potential applicants and present further details on the fund. Potential applicants will have the opportunity to raise questions and seek guidance on their application.
To register your interest and receive further details on this event email firstname.lastname@example.org by 3:00PM on Tuesday 5th May 2015.
The presentation from this workshop will be issued to those that register their details for this fund following the event.
The application form along with our guidance documentation is available by registering your details on the Zero Waste Scotland website.
The deadline for submission of applications is 1:30 P.M. Monday 18th May 2015.
Please quote VCP215 on all correspondence with regards to this programme.
Police Scotland have produced a series of striking posters encouraging people to report wildlife crime. The main poster is shown right, but there are also ones relevant to individual subjects/species - such as freshwater pearl mussel, fish poaching and raptor persecution. These can be downloaded at
Posted Wednesday, April 08, 2015
The People’s Health Trust Active Communities fund was recently launched in the north of Scotland.
Active Communities is funding programme for local people wanting to create fairer places to grow, live, work and age.
Active Communities is a funding programme for not-for-profit groups with an income of less than £350,000 a year, or an average of £350,000 over two years, seeking investment of between £5,000 and £50,000 for projects lasting up to two years.
projects could be almost anything that encourages strong connections between people, and that help people to make their communities or neighbourhoods even better places. They are looking for small and local projects that are designed and run by local people - this could be just a small group of people on an estate, in a few streets
or villages. They are also looking for great ideas from people with a shared interest - these ideas could be based in one neighbourhood, or cover a wider area.
The closing date for applications is 1.00pm on Wednesday 15 April 2015.
Find out more and apply on the People's Health Trust website.
Photo from Building Merkinch - one of the projects supported by the People's Health Trust.
Posted Wednesday, April 08, 2015
How to make our streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists of all ages.
A talk by Chris Thompson of 'Living Streets' organised by Highland Cycle Campaign. Followed by a public discussion.
Time: Tuesday 14th April at 8.00pm
Venue: Spectrum Centre, Farraline Park, Inverness
The £250,000 Geothermal Energy Challenge Fund has been launched by the Scottish Government to support research into Scotland’s geothermal capacity to meet the energy needs of local communities.
The Challenge Fund will support feasibility studies exploring the capacity of Scotland’s geothermal resource to meet the energy needs of local communities. It is aimed at consortia working together to benefit local communities, achieving measurable and sustainable carbon reductions without sacrificing proper consideration of the impacts on the local environment.
The maximum grant award available for each feasibility study is £50,000.
The deadline for applications is 30 April 2015.
During March, a number of workshops will be run by the Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise to help potential applicants understand the Challenge Fund objectives, criteria, application and assessment processes.
The Challenge Fund is the first being run as part of the Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme which has been designed to support potential projects from across the public, private and community sectors through the various stages of their development
For more information about the challenge fund take a look at the Scottish Government website or contact Johann MacDougall on 0300 244 0930 or at email@example.com
Warm Green Halls event at Findon Hall, Culbokie, Black Isle, Ross-shire, IV7 8JH
23rd March 12 - 2.30pm
Are you looking to make your community hall warmer? If so, Home Energy Scotland in partnership with Rural Direct invite you to their Warm Green Halls event to hear how others have done it and the benefits it brings.
On Monday 23rd March, four community halls will be sharing their story about how they installed a particular renewables technology in their hall and what they learned.
Each hall has chosen a different technology - Findon Hall has installed biomass; West Church Hall Cromarty, an air source heat pump; Hilton Church, solar thermal; and Ardross Hall, a ground source heat pump.
Come along to see Findon Hall’s biomass heating system and energy efficiency measures first-hand; and hear from the other three halls about the benefits of installing their particular type of renewables technology.
To register for this event
· Email your details to firstname.lastname@example.org
· The first six halls to register will receive a donation to hall funds
· Lunch provided
For more information on the Green Network for Business, please follow this link.
Some useful information from the Rural Payments and Inspections Division
To find out more about all these announcements please see the press release herehttp://news.scotland.gov.uk/
Rural Payments and Services downtime
Rural Payments and Services will be unavailable from 9am on Sunday 15 March until Monday 16 March as we get ready to open the SAF online.
Please note that the system will be down every Thursday from 9pm to midnight and also at the same time on Tuesdays for the next three weeks.
We're sorry for any inconvenience this may cause you, however, this is necessary to ensure that we can address any issues affecting the performance of this service.
Rural Payments and Services registration figures
Almost 45% of our 21,000 customers and 66% of our agents have registered and been approved, with over 83% being submitted online. All customers need to register before they can submit their SAF so it's really important that you keep reminding all your members/contacts to register.
SAF preview for agents
We held a web conference on 12 March for agents on the new system for applying for your Single Application Form (SAF). We thought you might find the recording of the web conference useful so here it is: https://webconnect.webex.com/
Photo from the Scottish Crofting Federation
There is still time to submit your paper saving ideas to the Doreen MacIntyre paper prize.
Doreen MacIntyre was an internationally-respected expert on forests and other environmental issues whose most recent project involved encouraging the UK’s biggest companies and public sector organisations to use paper more efficiently. To continue the spirit of her work, Reforesting Scotland with the support of the European Environmental Paper Network, is offering a prize for the smartest and most practical idea to stop wasteful paper use, and with the prize money we will help you to make your idea a reality.
Are you a school pupil with a great idea for how your school could use less paper? A student with a wizardly technological innovation for paper efficiency? An office worker with a brainwave about how to reduce paper waste in your workplace? Or anyone else with a great idea for how our society can save paper? Taking part in this competition is a win-win situation as you can identify ways to save money whether you win the prize or not!
Please email up to 500 words about your paper-saving idea to email@example.com by Tuesday 31 March 2015 to give yourself the chance of winning the funds to put your idea into practice. Simply explain how paper is currently used in your organisation (and, if possible, estimate how much you use per year) and how much your idea would save. Please tell us who would be involved in your plan and how the prize money would help you achieve it.
The ideas will be judged for being innovative, practical, requiring a modest investment, testable in a real world environment, and likely to achieve measurable reductions in paper use. There are two prizes of £600 each – one for children and one for adults – plus a £400 bonus for the ‘best’ idea. The prize money must be spent on making the idea reality.
If you want to discuss things before committing effort to a project, contact Mandy Haggith on firstname.lastname@example.org
(image from Blue Ribbon digital media)
Fisheries Trusts across the Highlands are looking for your help.
Mink predation cause devastating damage to water vole and ground nesting bird populations, and burns and rivers can provide the ideal network for to spread along. Rivers and Fisheries Trusts Scotland have been tackling this head on, and have made the observation and dispatch of mink a priority.
You can help the Ness-Beauly, Cromarty Firth and Wester Ross and West Sutherland Fisheries Trusts by monitoring a raft, with a clay pad installed, which you look at every ten to fourteen days for footprints left by Mink and/or any other animals. Once a Mink print has been identified, a live trap is installed, any trapped mink are then dispatched by fisheries trust staff. The carcass is then sent to Aberdeen University for analysis.
From Wester Ross, Peter Cunningham of the Fisheries Trust reports that three mink have already been caught between Gairloch and Dundonnell this year, and and so volunteers are vital. This view is also shared by all the other Highland Fisheries Trusts.
If you would like to volunteer to help these are the people to contact:
Ness and Beauly: Chris Daphne email: email@example.com tel: 01463 783 505
Spey Foundation: Polly Burns email: firstname.lastname@example.org tel: 01340 810841
Wester Ross: Peter Cunningham - email: email@example.com tel: 01445 712 899
West Sutherland: Shona Marshall - email: firstname.lastname@example.org tel: 01971 502259
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) are seeking your views on how to manage flood risk. Working with 14 local authorities they have produced a consultation document that is open for responses until 2nd June.
A final Flood Risk Management Strategy for each of the 14 Local Plan Districts covering Scotland will be published in December. These strategies will confirm the immediate and future priorities for flood risk management.
The draft Highland flood risk management plan is available to view here
And contains the following sections:
Marcia Rae is working with the Highland Council planners and biodiversity officers to look at sustainable urban drainage systems in Inverness. These systems are designed to drain surface water run off, to reduce flooding and improve water quality; techniques can include permeable paving (blocks instead of uniform concrete) to allow water to filter in to the soil, swales, ditches or detention basins to collect large amounts of water before it reaches the river system, and the creation of ponds. These are generally designed to look like natural ponds or wetland areas and are planted with native vegetation and often provide a home for freshwater invertebrates and amphibians like the common frog, toad and newts.
Marcia is looking at the quality of SUDS ponds as habitat for amphibians within the city, recording how individual ponds connect to each other, providing information to planners and letting locals know about the ponds and the potential benefits of having them.
There have been forty sites identified amongst the new developments of Inverness and Culloden which will be surveyed for amphibians, invertebrates and vegetation cover in the coming months. From this a map will be created of all of the sites and how they are connected to other ponds in the area. Currently the project is focussing on Inverness but may include Nairn and the A96 Corridor if time allows.
Marcia’s first event associated with this project is at Inshes District Park on the 18th of April (1-4pm) and will focus on the importance of urban ponds, looking at newts, frogs and other wildlife.
Highland councillors have agreed that the best way to distribute the Carbon CLEVER Community Grant Fund is through the region’s area committees.
This £200,000 capital fund was agreed last year and is intended to give communities the finance to ‘implement relevant and innovative projects to tackle climate change’.
Energy efficiency improvements, low-carbon transport options and creating community growing spaces are examples of the types of projects that the fund can support. There will be a call for applications from 2nd March 2015 onwards with closing dates for applications, from 24th June onwards, depending on the meeting dates of individual Area Committees
If you would like to know more about the Carbon CLEVER and the Community Grant Fund, please contact a member of the Carbon CLEVER team at email@example.com
The Scottish Government have launched a scheme to allow those who know, or suspect they are in possession of illegal pesticides which are illegal, to dispose of them safely and confidentially. The pesticides included in this scheme are highly toxic and many are lethal to humans and animals, even in small quantities - these include Carbofuran, the most commonly used poison in bird of prey persecution, and other illegal pesticides such as Mevinphos and Strychnine.
The programme is supported by British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) Scotland, Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT), National Farmers Union (NFU) Scotland, Scottish Crofting Federation, Scottish Gamekeepers Association (SGA) and Scottish Land and Estates, who are all encouraging their members to hand in any pesticides they suspect to be illegal.
As Douglas McAdam, Chief Executive of Scottish Land & Estates, said:
“Such substances may have been used in the past for a variety of purposes and can come to light when old sheds are cleared out or indeed during inspection checks when premises are taken over. People now have a safe route to deal with this and it does not mean that anyone who finds themselves in this situation has done anything wrong. These substances are highly dangerous and so this initiative marks another welcome step towards eradicating wildlife poisoning.
“We will be promoting this scheme to our membership and urging them to check if they might still have any of these banned substances and, if they suspect they do, to take advantage of this opportunity to get them removed from their premises and disposed of safely."
Environment Minister, and Chair of the Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime Scotland, Dr Aileen McLeod, highlighted concerns over wildlife poisoning, and the lethal nature of thee pesticides commenting:
“The illegal poisoning of wildlife cannot and will not be tolerated in a modern Scotland. The Scottish Government has made tackling wildlife crime a priority. We have the strongest laws on wildlife crime in the UK, including vicarious liability, which was recently successfully used in the courts.
“There were 96 recorded incidents of illegal poisoning abuse involving wildlife in the last 5 years from 2009-2013. It is essential that we remove all substances from the countryside that could kill our wildlife, and that are a risk to people and pets who may accidentally be exposed to them, which is why the Scottish Government has introduced the pesticide disposal scheme.”
“I would encourage people to carefully and safely check sheds and outbuildings for old stocks of illegal substances. While recent incidents have demonstrated that some people are still deliberately using these pesticides to kill wildlife, we also know that in many cases these substances may have been left forgotten and unused for years. Therefore I hope that people will come forward safe in the knowledge that handing over these pesticides will not be seen as an assumption of guilt.”
Alex Hogg Scottish Gamekeepers Association Chairman shares Aileen Macleod’s views, commenting:
"We fully support this move and encourage our members to use it. Not everyone knows the status of substances kept in outbuildings and their usage and status may have changed over time. It is sensible to have a safe way for people to dispose of them. The poisoning of animals is a serious offence and something which can not be tolerated. Any programme which helps remove illegal substances from being held has our full support."
Further details of substances that will be accepted, and how to make use of the scheme, are available on the PAW Scotland website – www.PAW.Scotland.gov.uk. Anyone who believes they are in possession of any of these banned pesticides should contact the disposal scheme line on 0131 472 4187. The line is open 8.30am-4.30pm Monday to Friday.
The details have been announced of the 2015 Highland Biodiversity conference, organised by Janet Bromham and Jonathan Willet, Highland Council Biodiversity Officers, and funded by the Council and Scottish Natural Heritage.
The conference will take place on Monday 30th March in Inverness High School and is on the subject of “Environmental Volunteering in Highland – Do We Need a Collaborative Approach?”
We are delighted that Cllr Thomas Prag has agreed to chair the day, and that we have speakers with a wealth of experience of conservation volunteering, including from the British Trust for Ornithology, Trees for Life, Scottish Waterways Trust, Cairngorms National Park and Highland Third Sector Interface.
Some of the issues we will be discussing are how to maximise the potential of our current volunteers, how can we support them consistently and to a high standard, better links between projects and volunteers and how can we recruit more volunteers?
If you would like to come to the conference please book a place with Caroline Vawdrey at firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can be sure to have enough food and seats for everyone.
See programme below - or download your own copy from the Highland Biodiversity Website.
Registration Tea / coffee & biscuits
Volunteering, the Highland Biodiversity Action Plan and the Single Outcome Agreement
Highland Green Gyms
Workshop Feedback - Workshop Representatives
Conclusions and Next Steps - Cllr Thomas Prag
Photograph shows Trees for Life volunteers
New research has emerged from the Universities of Dundee and St. Andrews which shows that accepted environmental levels of neonicotinoids impair bumblebee brain functionality and consequently negatively impact the performance of whole colonies.
The research, published in the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, is the first to demonstrate that the levels of neonicotinoids commonly found in the pollen and nectar of treated plants affect bumblebee brains. The results show that very low levels of neonicotinoids could cause up to a 55% reduction of living bees found in a colony and up to a 71% reduction in healthy brood cells.
On these findings one of the researchers Dr Chris Connolly said: “Our research demonstrates beyond doubt that the level of neonicotinoids generally accepted as the average level present in the wild causes brain dysfunction and colonies to perform poorly when consumed by bumblebees,” he said. “In fact, our research showed that the ability to perturb brain cells can be found at 1/5 to 1/10 of the levels that people think are present in the wild."
More information on the Bumblebee Conservation Trust website.
Photograph from the Bumblebee Conservation Trust
Showing visitors red kites, recording wild flowers, monitoring mink or getting active in your local community woodland will be just some of the many and varied conservation volunteering opportunities you will be able to learn about at the Easter Ross Biodiversity Forum on Thursday 19th February. The meeting will take place in Strathpeffer Community Centre at 7.30pm (doors open at 7.00pm).
Speakers for the evening include Simon McKelvey of Cromarty Fisheries, who offer a wide variety of ways in that people can get involved, from anglers recording their catch to river side clean up days, or tackling invasive plants. Simon commented: “Volunteers make a huge contribution to the work that we do. People can come along to our work days, or work on surveys and monitoring in their own time. We like to keep it flexible.”
This informal evening is being organised by the Easter Ross Biodiversity Group, which meets twice a year to discuss wildlife projects and oversee delivery of the Easter Ross Biodiversity Action Plan. The Group is co-ordinated by Janet Bromham, Highland Council Biodiversity Officer. She echoed Simon’s views: “From the seashore to the mountain tops people can get involved in conservation volunteering. It’s a great way to get out and about, provides valuable wildlife information and help with habitat management, and there are often health benefits associated with volunteering outdoors. It can simply just be great fun, and a good way to meet like-minded people.”
We’re keen to set up an Easter Ross Conservation Volunteers Group, and will be discussing this during the evening. We’d like to hear people’s thoughts on whether such a group would work and if they’d like to join.”
The Highland Environment Forum is also focusing on volunteering this year, and has organised a conference on Monday 30 March in Inverness entitled “Environmental Volunteering in Highland: Do We Need A Collaborative Approach?”
The UK’s future electricity source is facing uncertain times with old nuclear and coal-fired power stations being phased out, gas from the North Sea in decline, and binding commitments to reduceour greenhouse gas emissions. Are wind-farms part of the mix or just a blot on the landscape? Community group Transition Black Isle are inviting people to explore these issues and their implications at a unique Question Time in Fortrose Theatre, on the Black Isle on Tuesday 10th February 2015 at 7:00pm for 7.30pm. The event is open to anyone and is free.
Chaired by TV journalist Louise Batchelor, this Transition Black Isle event will feature introductory
talks, followed by questions from audience members.
The final line up for the panel answering the questions will include Scottish Green Party co-convenor and MSP Patrick Harvie, Labour MSP Rhoda Grant, Andy Kerr from Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation and Nicholas Gubbins from Community Energy Scotland.
Transition Black Isle are currently seeking questions, from both individuals and on behalf of local organisations, to be asked on the night. Questions should be submitted by 5pm on 6th February by email to: email@example.com or by post to Anne Thomas, Transition Black Isle, Drumsmittal Park, North Kessock, IV1 3XF. There may not be time for all the questions but they will aim to let people know the day before if their questions have been short-listed and there should be scope for questions on the night as the discussion unfolds.
The event will be followed by refreshments and a chance for informal discussion about this important topic.
Posted Thursday, February 05, 2015
Highlands Against Nuclear Transport is holding a Public Meeting in Dingwall Community Centre on Monday 9 February 2015 at 1930 to highlight concerns about the transport of nuclear waste in and around the Highlands
The meeting will include an input from John Finnie Independent MSP who will speak about
Nuclear waste transport by rail through the Highlands by rail & by sea through the Minch - a responsible solution ?
Nuclear waste is currently carried regularly by rail from Georgemas Junction, near Thurso in Caithness to Barrow in Cumbria with secrecy surrounding the movements and very little information available to local communities about the emergency procedures in place in the event of an accident or terrorist attack leading to releases of radiation
The next controversial plan is for nuclear fuel and waste (including unirradiated plutonium and highly enriched uranium). to be transported regularly by sea from Scrabtster to Barrow starting this year
These shipments pose a threat to fishing & aquaculture, tourism, the environment, wildlife and coastal communities along the route, which includes the dangerous waters of the Minches
Most local authorities in the Highlands & Islands have raised concerns as has the UK-wide NFLA (Nuclear Free Local Authorities) organisation
The lack of a dedicated Emergency Response Vessel along the route is a specific concern and following the MV Parida incident calls have been made by the Scottish Government for regulation of these shipments to become a devolved matter
Tor Justad , Vice-Chair says “ The HANT Public Meeting will highlight and discuss these issues and plan a strategy for future campaigning, which has wide political support and support from other areas directly affected
HANT will continue to lobby the UK Government, Scottish Government and Local Authorities to reconsider the sea shipments and to implement a policy of retaining nuclear waste on the sites where produced
HANT does not believe it makes sense to continue to send nuclear waste to Sellafield, where the company managing the site (Nuclear Management Partners) recently had their contract terminated due to poor performance with the media highlighting the appalling state of storage ponds on the site
The Ecologist magazine reported in October 2014 : Dilapidated nuclear waste storage ponds abandoned 40 years ago contain hundreds of tonnes of fuel rods which pose an immediate danger to public safety “
With orchid meadows, red throated divers, singing sands and stunning views of the other Small Isles - Eigg can be a magical place.
This year the Isle of Eigg Heritage Trust has a couple of volunteering opportunities that will give you the chance to enjoy the island’s wildlife and scenery, whilst helping them out and hopefully having a relaxing and social time too.
The first is a Path Maintenance Conservation Working Holiday running for a week from 30th March - 6th April, when you will gain some practical experience, help out the community immensely and also get the opportunity to come along to the Easter ceilidh at the end of the week. The closing date to apply for this is 16th February 2015.
There are also three places for people to spend some time on the island during June, July & August to help to improve the island’s natural environment, complete essential conservation tasks, monitoring and practical projects.
Applications will be considered for a minimum period of one week to a maximum of two month. You can expect to carry out tasks like beach cleans, litter picking, bramble & bracken management, herb garden weeding, natural regeneration management, helping with community events and ceilidhs or if you can bring a specific skill to the island then please let us know in you application form. We are looking for enthusiastic caring folk that work well as part of a team and at times will be without supervision so it is essential that you are self motivated and can work independently.
For both volunteering opportunities accommodation is provided by the Isle of Eigg Heritage Trust in Tigh Corraraigh a semi detached house situated in Cleadale on the northwest side of the island approx 4 miles from the pier. A very small nominal fee of £15/wk is asked for to cover household running costs only.
If requested, references can be written for you after your period volunteering with us.
Volunteers make an enormous contribution to the island of which residents are eternally grateful.
For further information on both the path maintenance course and summer volunteering please go to www.volunteer918.wordpress.com or email ~ firstname.lastname@example.org
More conservation volunteering opportunities can be found on the Highland Biodiversity website.
Posted Thursday, January 22, 2015
Skye and Lochalsh Environment Forum's trustee, David Ashford describes plans for their event in Portree on the evening of Friday 6th February, and the importance of nature nuture.
The genesis of this article was my first-time experience of organising a special event for the Skye and Lochalsh Environment Forum. It proved to be particularly challenging not least because of the topic – Nature-Deficit Disorder. For quite a while, I have been conscious of the serious lack of involvement with the natural environment experienced by most children and young people nowadays. Their school curricula and free-time seems to be largely devoid of any cognitive connection to nature.
At 7.00 pm on Friday, 6th February there will be an opportunity for anyone and everyone interested to meet at Tigh na Sgire, Portree and, after a presentation by Aberdeen based Terri Harrison of Nature Nurture, to debate this important issue.
During my research for the event, I came across some fairly startling information. A key source was a paper produced by expert luminaries for PARKS 2014 Vol 20.2 entitled 'EMPOWERING THE NEXT GENERATION TO CONNECT WITH NATURE: A GLOBAL MOVEMENT’. As can be seen, I have highlighted sections of it which illustrate my concerns perfectly.
Today we are faced with the first generation in history that has adults with a longer lifespan than our children. High rates of obesity, ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and other child health concerns are increasing exponentially as their connection to nature and their ability to take risks decreases. Their school schedules are busier, activities more organised and any free time competes with the ever-present lure of the screen. They have become screenagers oblivious to the fact that, unlike TV, nature does not steal time - it enhances it!
So – having presented the problem, what is the solution? It is my contention that tearing children and young people away from their gizmos need not be quite as difficult as initially thought. Richard Louv, co-founder of Children & Nature Network, gave a taste of the challenge with this salutary quote from a youngster: “I like to play indoors better 'cause that's where the electrical outlets are”!
Provided we adults are prepared to reach out from our comfort zones and instigate contact with young people in their favourite haunts – e.g. youth clubs - a positive impact could be made. The procedure I have in mind for this is simple. There needs to be discussion with the local Youth Worker to arrange a brief visit to meet the young people themselves and to offer a wintertime presentation about wildlife, including plant life, to whet the appetite. This should be followed by the offer of a summertime excursion into the hills where fun becomes adventure and even a barbeque might be on offer!
Just a few occasions of that sort might bring about a reversal of the present decline into a serious ignorance of the magnificence of nature which I fear the next generation is heading for. If conservation or wildlife bodies strive to enhance their existing successes with the use of such remedies the future could look bright.
Resource Efficient Scotland would like to see you take the pledge, but they’re not concerned about your festive drinking - this is all about saving money on energy, water, raw materials and waste.
The pledge is aimed at businesses and organisations - and just like learning to swim you can achieve bronze, silver, gold - even platinum - awards. Companies such as Network Rail, Gordon & MacPhail, the Edinburgh International Conference Centre and Ross-shire Waste Action Network have already signed up, and by working on three pledge actions over the next twelve months you can achieve a bronze award. Resource Efficient Scotland will give you lots of support and advice to help you meet your targets, and will provide marketing and promotion to enable to you to show others what you have achieved.
Possible actions include:
To find out more and to make a pledge go to the Resource Efficient Scotland website - where you will find lots of useful FAQs and case studies.
“Gordon & MacPhail are embracing the need to improve efficiencies in our energy use and reduce our carbon footprint. Support from Resource Efficient Scotland has enabled us to plan for the installation of a new dual fuel burner fitted to the existing steam boiler, for improved efficiency and flexibility. The new system will pay for itself in just one year. We are committed to the Pledge to support our development as a resource efficient business. We are setting up a green team to engage our staff; holding discussions with our supply chain to identify savings and best practice from them; and reviewing our landfill waste to explore energy from waste options.”
Cairngorms National Park has put together a plan of how to make the area an even better place to be active, and they would like to hear your views.
Some of their ideas include increasing the number of all abilities trails in the park - making 100% of core paths barrier free by 2020. There are plans to develop a multi-use active travel route from Newtonmore to Cromdale, and to extend the Speyside Way from Aviemore to Newtonmore by 2016.
Whilst encouraging recreation the National Park is also mindful of ensuring that vulnerable wildlife doesn’t get disturbed, and so recommends reducing the impact of recreation on ground nesting birds (e.g.Capercaillie) by implementing site specific actions from The Cairngorms Capercaillie Framework and continuing to develop the ‘Tread Lightly’ Campaign focusing on reducing the impact of irresponsible dog walkers.
As Recreation and Access Manager at the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA), David Clyne explained: “We want ‘Active Cairngorms’ to make a difference to everyone living and visiting the Cairngorms National Park, from walking to school to offering a high quality outdoor experience for visitors. Our work in developing this outdoor access strategy can influence changes in behaviour that can last a lifetime and help people live healthier lifestyles. Therefore it’s important that as many people as possible contribute to the consultation.”
There are many more suggestions in the plan, which also contains some informative graphics about work to date.
Take a look at the plan and let David Clyne, Recreation and Access Manager at the park know what you think of it by going to the Active Cairngorms website.
Scotland's Finest Woods are being sought.
Run by an independent charity, supported by a number of partners and supporters, the 2015 Awards have nearly £7,000 of price money and four categories to be entered:
Information sheets can be downloaded from the Scotland’s Finest Woods website.
Register your interest in entering the 2015 Awards so that they can keep you up to date, email them on email@example.com
You can also follow them on their Facebook page.
The latest Scottish Biodiversity Forum news reports on the Amphibians in Drains project undertaken Perth & Kinross Council Ranger Service.
Toads, frogs, newts and small mammals can all get stuck in gullypots, but the installation of wildlife kerbs can allow wildlife to follow the lower edge of the kerb and bypass the gullypot. Re-surveying of the kerbs (installed between 2010 and 2012) was carried out in 2014 as part of a student internship project with the Tayside Biodiversity Partnership to see if the wildlife kerbs installed in 2011 were making a significant difference and also to trial the potentially more cost-effective amphibian ladders which are made of a material called Enkemat from the Netherlands.
The most recent survey involves three sites in Perthshire with more than 1,300 gullypots checked. So far results have shown the wildlife kerbs are reducing the amount of wildlife falling into the gullypots by more than half. It is too early to report on the amphibian ladders but it is hoped to continue this work into 2015 as European studies suggest these may prove to be more successful than the kerbs.
Find out more about this and many other interesting biodiversity stories on the forum website.
Black Isle Community Energy are holding a series of drop in sessions and discussions ahead of their community ballot in March. Their proposal is a 3 wind turbine proposal on Forestry Commission land, amongst the plantation and close to the 'military road' the main track that runs along the ridge of this part of the forest.
You can see the detail of the proposals on their website or go along to one of their forthcoming events:
Posted Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Pass it on Week is Zero Waste Scotland’s new national re-use awareness week and they’re encouraging everyone to get involved in putting on events that spread the word that re-use is recycling with added fun, and that secondhand is not second best.
Pass it on Week can be about swapping, and getting people to trade things they don’t want any more for things that they do. It can be about upcycling, and turning something tired into something inspired. It can be about repair, and getting the bug for fixing things again. It can be about borrowing, and setting up a ‘library of things’ like tools and equipment that people can borrow and return.
Zero Waste Scotland is holding free workshops to provide inspiration and ideas for the types of activity you could put on for Pass it on Week. They will be held in: Edinburgh: Monday 12 January: Glasgow: Wednesday 14 January.: Aberdeen: Thursday 15 January
To find out more go to the Zero Waste Scotland website or send an email to Kim Young at firstname.lastname@example.org
Resource Efficient Scotland offers advice and support for community buildings, as well as businesses and charities. They offer a free resource efficiency audit to identify energy waste and water savings, and provide a report which gives the estimated savings in money, and in CO2. Many community buildings, including churches, village halls, sports clubs and scout huts have taken this support.
Resource Efficient Scotland also offers loans from £1,000 to £100,000 to help organisations become more resource efficient, cut costs and reduce carbon emissions.
There are case studies of some of groups and organisations that have already been helped by Resource Efficient Scotland on their
Now that temperatures have dropped, and the wet and snow has thrown us into dark and damp days, all our home’s draughts and chilly corners become very clear. Heating our homes is a major expense for most people, but helpful advice from Home Energy Scotland Hotline (0808 808 2282) can help to reduce those costs.
They offer a one-stop shop for clear and impartial advice and support.
As well as receiving money-saving energy advice, you may be eligible to receive money towards the cost of replacing an old, inefficient boiler with a new model,or to install free loft and cavity wall insulation, in some cases people have even received a full central heating system at no cost.
So make that call - they promise to talk hot air to you!
See our climate pages for more information on where to get advice and the Carbon CLEVER progamme to help us tackle climate change.
Lochaber Environmental Group (LEG) has been awarded £9,925 by the Big Lottery programme Investing In Ideas. The Group is keen to encourage a greater take up of wood fuel in Lochaber as it will help the environment and can save householders money. An average all electrically heated Highland home not only costs more to heat but also releases more greenhouse gases into the environment.
This grant allows LEG to look at options for expanding the supply of wood fuel locally. It will establish the current and potential demand for wood fuel and consult with industry experts, suppliers and communities. This will lead to proposals for practical action.
A spokesperson for LEG says “With 38% of rural Highland households in fuel poverty, wood fuel could offer a realistic option to combating this issue. An enhanced supply chain could also create new economic opportunities for a local, sustainable, resource. There is no reason why wood fuel shouldn’t be as easy to purchase as a bag of coal. Per tonne it is cheaper and it releases 77% less Carbon Dioxide into the atmosphere”.
LEG estimates that current total of logs bought for domestic heating is around 2,000 tonnes per year. If half of the houses in the area converted to wood fuel the demand would rise to 49,500 tonnes. The Forestry Commission for example manages 50,000 hectares in Lochaber and currently harvests approximately 182,000 cubic metres each year - only 1% is used for wood fuel.
LEG will be recruiting for this work early in 2015. For further details please contact email@example.com
At the Inverness Carbon CLEVER conference, held in November Hamish Trench (head of Cairngorms National Park Authority conservation and visitor experience) gave an informative insight into the park's work, highlighting the efforts being undertaken to reduce the area’s carbon footprint.
The authority is currently involved in the restoration of 350 hectares of Peatlands, investing £155k this year. Repairing these soils that were drained or damaged will help to significantly reduce the amounts of greenhouse gases released by this land. Find out more about the park's peatland work on their website.
In addition they hope to increase woodland cover in the area by 5% in 5 years, and have planted 1800 hectares of since 2012. The park is also supporting community-led renewables schemes (hydro and biomass) where possible.
The park is also involved in the development of an Active Travel strategy to help both with climate change and to promote the associated health benefits of improving paths, cycle ways and encouraging communities to become more cycle friendly. Electric bikes have been trialled supported by Sustrans and the Scottish Government Climate Change Fund and are proving to be a popular, see the Electric Bike Network for how to hire them. The Cairngorms scheme is similar to the Carbon CLEVER electric bike hire in Inverness, and it is hoped the use of these bikes will lead to a change in travel patterns over time.
'Awakening the Giant: A Strategic Plan for Scotland's Marine Tourism Sector' - highlights the potential for developing the marine leisure sector, including the wider service sector in food, accommodation and local attractions. The document is open for consultation here.
There is also the opportunity to attend two workshops in Highland:
Let’s Get Digital is a business growth support initiative, funded by the European Regional Development Fund, and run by SCVO. It will run until summer 2015.
Third sector organisations can make an application for a digital improvement project to be undertaken by a graduate intern over a period of either 6 weeks full time or 12 weeks part time.
The aim is that these digital projects will help organisations to increase their service delivery, support more customers, generate more income and potentially offer more employment opportunities.
The types of activity which could be considered include new websites/website refresh, social media strategy/development, database cleanse and implementation, IT systems development, online fundraising/e-commerce development etc.
Any proposal can be considered if it can be evidenced as a business need which would help the organisation grow and become more digitally engaged.
Full details on eligibility, as well as copies of the application form and guidance, can be found
here. You can also discuss your project ideas withBeverley Maclean on 01463 251723 or email her at Beverley.Maclean@scvo.org.uk
Community Shares Scotland was only set up in March this year, but is already supporting a large number of communities across Scotland.
Offering your community shares in community ventures such as shops, pubs, community buildings, renewable energy initiatives or local food schemes can be the ideal way to raise the all-important risk capital to start, and to grow, a community project.
Community Shares Scotland is a three-year programme, staffed by Kelly McIntyre (programme manager) and Morven Campbell (programme officer) to offer guidance and support to organisations keen to develop community share offers to help fund local projects and can offer both general and specialised support.
If you would like to find out more about the help and advice they can offer go to the Community Shares website, ring 0131 220 3777, email firstname.lastname@example.org and sign up to their quartlerly e-newsletter which will include details of when and where they will be running Community Shares Scotland roadshows.
Scottish Communities CAN is inviting applications from community groups to take part in a project that should benefit them through expert advice and support on climate action community engagement.
This is a demonstration project funded by Scottish Government, the learning from which will be evaluated and shared with other communities.
Support from the project will be provided during February-August 2015. Community group participants will be chosen according to their potential to benefit from taking part; geographic coverage; and the focus of planned community engagement (e.g. energy efficiency, waste reduction, food and growing).
Coaches / mentors will be drawn from a pool which might include other community projects with practical experience (peer to peer), consultants and academics. They will be matched to participant projects based on their expertise, and the participant’s needs.
Community group Application Form Closing date 30 November 2014
Find out more on their website
The Voluntary Action Fund and the Royal Horticultural Society are keen to help communities to carry out their ideas by providing funding support through their grant schemes.
The Voluntary Action Fund Community Grant is aimed at small and often volunteer-led groups that make a vital difference to their communities.
If your group has less than £25,000 income per annum you can apply for a grant of up to £1,000 for a wide range of activities or operational costs. Priority will be given to the following areas of work:
They are also keen to fund activities that will help build and develop strong organisations, for example;
Applications for the Community Grant Programme should be received by 14 November 2014. The application form and guidance notes can be downloaded here.
The Royal Horticultural Society has a community fund to help gardeners enhance public spaces in towns, villages and cities. Groups applying for the fund should be able to show that their project has a strong horticultural focus and provides one or more of the following:
Groups can apply for two levels of funding; Start-up Grants of up to £300 and Main Grants of up to £3,000. To apply for funding, download the application form and guidance here and completed and returned by the closing date of 5pm, Monday 8 December 2014.
Photograph from the RHS
You are invited to comment on the draft Highland Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP), which has been prepared by a sub group of the Highland Environment Forum (HEF), over the last year.
The priorities and ideas for future action have come from national guidance, the results of a gap analysis on the action table from the last plan, a pre-consultation exercise undertaken with HEF members in January, and a workshop session undertaken at the Highland Biodiversity Conference last February.
This is the third Highland BAP to be produced since 2006, and it is the most comprehensive. It gives a summary of the background and context surrounding the Plan, as well as an update on progress made since the biodiversity action planning process started in Highland in 2002. The draft Plan summarises some of the excellent projects that have been undertaken to deliver biodiversity improvements over the last 14 years. We recognise that this does not capture all the good work that has taken place, so please tell us if you know of other projects that ought to be recognised here.
The main part of the document is the draft Action Plan, which proposes 49 new ideas for projects that could be undertaken to improve our biodiversity in Highland. Clearly we cannot deliver all these projects in the next five years, so the consultation poses a number of questions to seek your views on the project ideas, and asks you to prioritise your top five.
Find out more and contribute your views via the Highland Biodiversity website.
The 8.7 million species that live on Earth are each important in their own right. What humans think of them is irrelevant, but of course that’s not how the world works. So it is interesting to see reports of two actions promoted by conservation bodies that highlight the benefits that the natural environment can have for the economy and our health.
A survey of 500 businesses undertaken by the Scottish Forum on Natural Capital revealed that 95% of them thought that a better understanding of our relationship with natural capital could contribute to better outcomes for business, society and the environment. And 77% of respondents also thought that it is urgent or very urgent to protect and enhance natural capital in Scotland.
The Scottish Forum on Natural Capital is a group made up of businesses and conservation organisations and co-chaired by representatives from both sectors. They define Natural Capital as:
’The earth’s stock of natural assets - including forests, rivers, land, minerals and oceans - that supply us with essential goods (such as food, medicine, fuel and building materials) and services (such as pollination, climate regulation and flood protection) on which all human life depends.’
and the group aims to use recognition of this value to ‘protect and re-build Scotland’s natural capital’.
Interestingly in response to the survey question 'Which sums up your organisation’s attitude in relation to natural capital?' the highest ranking response was ‘We would change if regulation meant we had to’ followed by ‘We would change in response to consumer pressure and customer /client expectations’ - so keep lobbying - it is worthwhile after all!
These are just some of the measures proposed by the green paper ‘A Nature and Wellbeing Act’ put forward to UK parliament jointly by the Wildlife Trusts and the RSPB. They are aimed at English law making, but are just as relevant to Scotland.
The paper argues that current legislation ‘will be insufficient to bring about the change required to protect nature and secure its recovery, not only for its own sake, but for all that it does for our wellbeing and that of future generations. We need an approach that not only commits to the recovery of nature, but takes action to improve nature as part of the solution to our social and economic challenges.’
They propose that nature should be at the heart of legislation and outline the ways in which it can benefit our health and economy through better opportunities for people to access and get involved in green spaces - helping to reduce obesity and improve mental health and social skills.
You can see more about the green paper and download the full report or a summary at:http://www.wildlifetrusts.org/NWA
The Highland Council have the challenge of making up a budget gap of £64 million and envisage a council that is 10 - 15% smaller by 2019. This will inevitably have a effect on front line services and so the Council is consulting to gauge public opinion on what is acceptable and what is not.
The consultation will take approximately 30 minutes to complete and is available here.
The closing date is Friday November 14th.
Should you have any queries, you can contact the Council’s policy team on 01463 702006 or email@example.com
Posted Thursday, October 30, 2014
The Scottish Rural Awards are open for nominations. There are 12 categories including food and drink, business diversification, conservation and the environment.
Nominations close on Monday 8th December.
Find out more at http://scottishruralawards.org
Posted Tuesday, October 28, 2014
The first Great British Bee Count has found allotments win the prize for the most bees seen per count: an average of 12 compared to countryside (10), garden (8), school grounds (7), park (7) and roadside (4).
The survey was undertaken by more than 23,000 people around the UK, who used a free smartphone app to log their sightings of 832,000 bees during the 12-week citizen science project this summer. The organisers ( Friends of the Earth, Buglife and B&Q) developed the survey to help build a broader picture of the health of bees.
Sadly the overall picture for British bees is one of serious decline, with 71 of our 267 species under threat and more than 20 already extinct. As Vanessa Amaral-Rogers, Buglife's Campaigns Officer said "Bees and other pollinators are essential for a healthy environment and contribute around £510 million of UK agriculture. Without these essential creatures, we could see the price of fruit such as apples and strawberries sky rocket.”
Bumblebee expert Professor Dave Goulson, author of ‘A Sting In the Tale’ was enthusiastic in his support of the survey, commenting: "It's wonderful that so many people are taking time to look more closely at the hardworking bees in their area and learn about these fascinating species.
"This year’s Great British Bee Count highlights the importance of allotments in providing essential habitat for the bees that pollinate all those tasty home-grown fruit and veg - and shows that parks and road verges could be a lot better for bees, with less mowing and more wildflowers.”
Buglife has put together a seven point manifesto for bees ‘Get Britain Buzzing’ that calls for measures such as proper monitoring of populations and a reduction in pesticide use. The full manifesto can be downloaded from their website. Buglife, Friends of the Earth, the Women's Institute, farmers and scientists are calling for the Government's National Pollinator Strategy to protect bees and pollinators - due this autumn - to be significantly improved to tackle the root causes of bee decline, including supporting farmers to cut pesticide use and creating more bee-friendly habitat in public spaces and new developments.
See the results and download a copy of the poster on the Great British Bee Count website.
The fourth annual Inverness and Nairn Biodiversity Forum meeting will be held in the Memorial Hall, Fort Augustus on the 11th November at 18.45 for a 19.00 start., finish by 21.30.
A range of speakers will describe some of the biodiversity projects taking place in the Great Glen and surrounding area, including along the Caledonian Canal, and at the reserves of Corrimony and Dundreggan.
There will be space for displays or leaflets in the hall and there’ll be half an hour in the middle of the evening to allow you to browse the stands and chat with other attendees.
The map shows you how to find the Memorial Hall, but it would be best to park in the public car park next to Visit Scotland as there is no parking at the hall itself. If you are able to let Caroline know in advance that you are coming - that will be very helpful, in order to have an idea of how many people to expect - but we’d like to see you there even if you don’t know in advance!
There are two interesting reports just out on health and the natural environment
It is the theme of the public health report by Dr Margaret Somerville, which is very clearly and concisely presented, and contains discussion of many issues of central importance to the Highlands, including the knock on effects of climate change and the need for adaptation.
Her report includes the following recommendations for action:
Download a copy here.
The benefits of the natural environment are highlighted in the Natural England conference report on ‘Natural Solutions to Tackling Health Inequalities’ . Download the report here.
The report describes some interesting associations between health and accessibility to the natural environment:
Posted Friday, October 10, 2014
Energy Saving Expo ～ Eden Court, Inverness
24th and 25th October
Advice from industry experts on how to become more energy efficient, save money, pay bills, purchase an electric car - and much more.
There'll also be electric bikes to test drive
and stalls to browse from up to thirty exhibitors.
The Friday event is for businesses interested in energy efficiency
and runs from 12.00 - 3.00pm.
Saturday is open to all from 11.00am - 4.00pm
The rural charity RSABI are looking to set up an Inverness Committee. RSABI is a unique Scottish charity with roots going back to 1897. They provide financial assistance, support and advice in confidence to those people who have worked in Scotland in land-based occupations and who are suffering hardship.
The committee would consist of four to ten people who would meet a few times a year, organise one fundraising event for RSABI and also help to spread the word about RSABI, what we do, who we help and encourage people to come forward for help. Find out more on the Rural Gateway website.
Scottish Natural Heritage will be able to refuse a general licence to kill wildlife on land where wildlife crime has taken place. A general licence can be used by land managers to permit practices that would be otherwise illegal - this may be done to protect crops or livestock or to control birds for 'conservation' purposes.
The new regulation will be backdated to 1st January 2014 and is intended to help in tackling illegal persecution of wildlife.
Chair of SNH, Ian Ross, commented, "We’re committed to taking action whenever there is evidence of wildlife crime, and we believe this new measure will make it much tougher for those committing offences. Because of the remote locations where most wildlife crime takes place, it’s often difficult to prove. So we need every tool we can to fight against those who persecute raptors in Scotland."
See the full article on the SNH website
and the Scottish Land and Estates response
CSV’s Action Earth campaign has grants to give to groups of volunteers who are carrying out environmental projects in Scotland. The campaign runs until February 2015.
· Grants from £50 to £250 are available for practical activities that involve volunteers in improving outdoor spaces or creating habitats for wildlife. Grants can be used to purchase plants, tools and materials or to cover volunteer expenses.
· If your group is volunteering on a Local Nature Reserve we can give you up to £500 for practical work, wildlife recording or educational activities that encourage more people onto the reserve.
If you have any questions contact Robert Henderson at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0131 222 9083 / 622 7766.
For more information and to apply online go to the Action Earth website:
This project is supported by Scottish Natural Heritage
Photograph is from the CSV website and shows international volunteers working on Raasay
You have until Monday 6th October to vote for Trees for Life at http://www.treesforlife.org.uk/voteTFL.html and they could secure almost £20,000 in the European Outdoor Conservation Association’s ‘Outdoor’ funding scheme. The funding would help to secure their work in Glen Affric in partnership with the Forestry Commission.
Their project aims to engage outdoor users in practical action to expand Glen Affric's native forests. Funding will enable volunteers to plant 20,000 native trees, remove non-native trees and restore high-altitude montane scrub habitat. There will be hands-on forest restoration training and volunteering opportunities for hundreds of people through forest skills courses, volunteer restoration days and conservation weeks.
Guided walks and leaflets will allow hundreds of outdoor enthusiasts to learn more about the Caledonian Forest and how to help conserve Scotland’s threatened habitats and species.
The project also aims to boost the local and Highland economy through a growth in visitors for nature-based tourism, hill walking and outdoor and adventure pursuits. It will lay the foundations for a longer-term initiative to create a forest habitat corridor from Loch Affric to Scotland’s west coast – leaving a lasting legacy of an expanded forest landscape and increased wildlife, transforming the experiences of outdoor users in the Highlands for future generations.
Find out more about how car clubs work at two events in Inverness Town House on Tuesday 30th September 2014:
Lunchtime - a session aimed at employers and local businesses - about the benefits of car clubs and an employee car pool
Evening - a public meeting aimed at anyone interested to hear more about car clubs, especially for personal use.
The events are being run by Carplus (an Edinburgh-based body that promotes and encourages car clubs' development) working closely with Highland Council, represented by Daniel Greig, Policy Co-ordinator - Climate Change (E: Daniel.Greig@highland.gov.uk T: 01463 702867).
Green energy, reduce, reuse, recycle all part of an enjoyable day at the Real Living event at the Craigmonie Centre, Drumnadrochit on Saturday 4th October from 10.00a.m to 4.00pm.
The Real Living Event is part of Soirbheas’ Green Living project, which is a programme of activities to reduce carbon emission in our communities and to help us have warmer homes
Find out more details from Carol Masheter at email@example.com
The Scottish Natural Heritage report 'Attitudes to greenspace in Scotland - a review of key trends between 2004 - 2013' shows that regular visitors to their local greenspace are more likely to rate their health as good and people who feel healthy are more likely to meet the national guideline for physical activity within an outdoor environment.
But with less than half of us visiting our local greenspace or the wider outdoors once a week or more, perhaps we need to take more greens . . .
The report show that
• a third of people do not do any physical activity in an outdoor environment
• across Scotland there is a widening gap between the expectations of what greenspaces can be and people's perceptions of what is actually provided in local communities
• a third of people think that the quality of their local greenspace has declined over the last five years.
• people who live in the most deprived areas of Scotland are the most dissatisfied with their local greenspace
The key to good greenspace is that it should be accessible and high quality - that is likely to lead to more active lifestyles, as Julie Procter, Chief Executive of greenspace scotland commented,
"It is worrying that the gap between people's expectations of greenspace and the reality of their local greenspace continues to widen. We are concerned that a third of people think the quality of their local greenspace has declined over the last 5 years. As highlighted in the Heritage Lottery Fund's 'State of the UK Public Parks' report our parks and greenspaces are at a tipping point and urgent action is now required to safeguard these vital community assets and the important benefits they provide for our health, our economy and our communities."
Read more on the SNH website
Bookings are open for the 6th Highland Invasive Species Forum. True to our tradition of moving about the Highlands we will be holding this meeting at the Macphail Centre in Ullapool.
Tea and Coffee will be served from 9.30am with the meeting starting at 10am. There will be three local sites visits in the afternoon. The agenda can be downloaded here.
(the photograph of Corrieshalloch Gorge is from the NTS website)
Jo Ellen reports from the Highland Third Sector Interface Conference – Wednesday 3rd September 2014
HEN was represented at the Highland Third Sector Interface Conference on Wednesday 3rd September. The event took place at Eden Court Theatre in Inverness and was attended by a diverse range of delegates from across the charity, voluntary and community sector. A marketplace of over 40 stands provided valuable information and was an opportunity for organisations from the high profile to the smaller, less known to gain more exposure. It was also a great chance for delegates to network and make new contacts, a crucial activity for groups distributed widely throughout the Highlands.
HEN was able to publicise its work with groups who had not come into contact with it before and new links were established. A number of individuals signed up the e- bulletins and newsletters which are distributed throughout the year.
Breakout sessions also took place throughout the day covering a range of subjects, including one on the Rural Parliament due to be held in November in Oban. The sessions allowed delegates to discover new possibilities for their own organisations as well as gaining a greater understanding of others. In one of these sessions, Young Scot Rewards, HEN was able to see how this organisation is helping to promote an environmentally friendly ethos to the thousands of young adults participating in its scheme throughout Scotland.
Overall this was a useful event for HEN to attend and highlighted how groups across the Third Sector can work together to help both the environment and the Care and Social sector.
Draft applications for the 10th December round of the Climate Challenge Fund and Junior Climate Challenge fund need to be with Keep Scotland Beautiful by 3rd October. Community groups interested in developing an application are encouraged to take the first step by submitting an Expression of Interest now - they will get back to you in 2 - 4 weeks.
Grants up to £150,000 are available for community groups to run one year projects that plan to commence activities in April 2015. (There will be a further Grant Panel(s) in 2015 if any funding is still available following the December 2014 Grant Panel.)
Keep Scotland Beautiful has produced an updated FAQ guide and encourages potential applicants to consult the guide to ensure that they can meet the forthcoming application deadlines and make their application as strong as possible.
If you want some guides to help you present your project take a look at 'The Ideas Bank', which contains templates of eligible Climate Challenge Fund projects which community groups can use to prepare an application to the CCF.
For more information contact:
Freephone 0800 111 446
Posted Saturday, August 30, 2014
The Biodiversity Talks that have been running at Highland Council HQ since 2012 are about to start again. They will cover all sorts of subjects from Slugs and Snails to the Highland Wildcat. Find out more details and download the programme from the Highland Biodiversity website.
Posted Wednesday, August 27, 2014
The deadline for nominations in the HTSI Third Sector Awards has been extended to Friday 12th September. This is a great opportunity to highlight the champions in our community and the great work of our local heroes. You can fill in your nomination online using the link below:
Award Categories are shown below:
Youth volunteer of 2014
A young person under the age of 25 who is excited and engages with volunteering. We are particularly interested in someone who has grown as an individual as a result of their experience and/or someone who has made a real differ-ence in their role as a volunteer.
Community initiative 2014
An award for a community who has taken ownership of an idea/concept and delivered it into reality to tackle a com-munity need, issue or vision.
Intergenerational initiative 2014
For groups or individuals who have taken part in successful cross-generational activity, particularly the under 26 and over 65 age groups, where they have been able to share skills, experience and/or knowledge bases.
Highland partnership 2014
For groups who have achieved a social or community benefit either across the Third sector or across sectors. The panel would expect to see innovation in the way the partnership has worked and information about what has made it successful .
Older peoples Champion 2014
An individual who has successfully championed the rights and opportunities of older people in the last year.
Volunteer of the year 2014
For an individual of any age who has volunteered in anyway. Their story should be inspirational.
Outstanding contribution to the Third Sector 2014
For any individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the Third Sector. They do not have to have any for-mal relationship with the Third Sector but they do have to have made a contribution in either a time, skills or effort basis.
The newest strand of CARES, the Local Energy Challenge Fund, has been created to demonstrate the value and benefit of local low carbon energy economies.
They are looking for large-scale local low carbon demonstrator projects which show a local energy economy approach linking local energy generation to local energy use. This could include projects looking to develop innovative distribution and storage solutions, and with an overall aim to create more local value and benefit.
There is £20 million available in the Local Energy Challenge Fund, and this will support cutting edge projects which will lead the way in transforming how Scotland’s communities interact with their energy supply and demand. The Phase 1 fund is also available to help projects in their early stages.
Find out more on the Local Energy Scotland website
The Highland Council is establishing a new Community Groups Panel for consultation on budget planning and other key strategic issues. This panel will join the existing citizens panel and can be consulted by the Highland Council and other agencies in the Highland Community Planning Partnership. Joining the panel gives groups an opportunity to be listened to at the top level of Highland decision making.
Groups will be able to join the Panel, if -
If you are involved with a group that would like to join the Community Groups Panel, please let firstname.lastname@example.org know.
The next round of budget consultation is being planned - so don't hesitate - get involved!
The Highland Biological Recording group is running a survey to find more about the House-fly Musca domestica
You might feel that your house is full of flies this summer, but the recording group website notes that ‘The true House-fly is very scarce in Britain these days, and very few flies in houses are indeed House-flies. The NBN Gateway map shows only two Scottish records since 1950. The only one in Highland was found in 2010 in Inverness College by Jimmy McKellar. The other was of a pair on Lismore, just S of our area, in 2011.’ If you’d like to find out more about this uncommon insect and help to identify more Highland specimens take a look at their website.
Joseph Rowntree Foundation wishes to fund two/three projects which will bring together local authorities, communities and other agencies to develop strategic responses to climate change, in areas which are particularly vulnerable, and likely to be disadvantaged by climate impacts.
The aim is to improve local community resilience in different contexts across the UK.
Deadline – 8 September 2014
Timescale – Up to two years, starting Jan 2015
Budget – Up to £100k per project (including VAT/expenses) two or three projects (depending on scope), £200k in total JRF funding
Find out more here.
Each year, LifeScan Scotland partners with an organisation to deliver a programme for the local community via the Johnson & Johnson Corporate Citizenship Trust. The following information is required for the initial stage of the funding proposal.
1. The aims and purpose of your organisation and an overview of the programme.
2. A financial breakdown of the programme with timelines.
3. A plan for sustainability of the programme.
4. Details of proposed/definite funding from other sources.
This information should be submitted to Fiona Bell, email@example.com by 19 November 2014. The project value should not exceed £50,000 and should be over a two or three year period.
Please note that once all proposals have been submitted, one will be selected for 2015 by the LifeScan Scotland Community Support Group. This means that your proposal may not be successful in 2014 but you are welcome to apply again in 2015.
For more information, contact
Community Relations & Event Advisor
LifeScan Scotland Ltd
Beechwood Park North
01463 721005 email firstname.lastname@example.org
You can reduce the operating costs and emissions from your business/organisations cars, by taking advantage of a free, online service from the Energy Saving Trust Scotland. Called a Fleet Health Check it can result in cost and emissions savings of 10 to 20 per cent over three years.
You can also reduce fuel costs and carbon emissions by training employees to drive more efficiently. FuelGood driver training does this, and is now available free to Scottish businesses. The training can result in a 15% reduction in fuel consumption, based on 12,000 miles per year and reduced wear and tear on tyres, brakes and clutches, all of which will help to reduce carbon footprint.
In a FuelGood training session an approved driving instructor provides the car and insurance and meets trainees at the workplace for a one-on-one 50-minute instruction session. Up to eight drivers can be trained per day.
If you have any questions, or would like to book training, please email email@example.com, call 0808 808 2282 to speak to your local sustainable transport adviser or visit the Energy Savings Trust website for more information.
Posted Monday, July 28, 2014
After a three day creative arts workshop with Gordon McLellan of Creeping Toad local school children will be showing off their productions at a performance on 27th September.
There will also be a Froglife drop-in workshop the day before, on the 26th September too - perhaps a toad will come creeping by . . . Contact Abriachan Forest Trust for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org
Saturday 27th September will be a busy one for Abriachan, with a Tree Stories CPD day being run by Claire Hewitt. More details and a booking form can be downloaded here
Read the Outdoor Woodland Learning FCS forest Education news bulletin here.
Scotland’s National Peatlands Plan
Peatlands are a valuable resource. They are a home for many species of wildlife. The blanket bog of Caithness and Sutherland is made up of a staggeringly complex network of mosses and invertebrates, hen harrier and merlin hunt over the myriad pools and burns, wading birds such as greenshank, dunlin and golden plover call evocatively over the wide expanse, and both red and black-throated divers breed here. They are also increasingly recognised as huge carbon storage area and a vital part of our effort to combat climate change.The RSPB leaflet gives a good general overview of the wildlife and issues associated with the Flow Country blanket bog.
It is estimated that 70% of Scotland’s blanket bog and 90% of the raised bog has been damaged, so care and restoration is vital. Government funded Peatland Action is just one of the responses to this - see the article on our website for more details.
Scottish bogs form a key part of the Scottish Government’s climate change targets and ‘Scotland’s National Peatlands Plan’, sets out the importance of these areas, and proposes how they should be looked after for the future, including some of the research and awareness raising work required.
They are keen to get everyone’s views on these proposals - individuals as well as organisations - and the consultation is open until 12th September. You can download the attractively designed plan and a response form from the SNH website.
Photograph from RSPB
The Landfill Communities Fund (LCF) is a tax credit scheme enabling operators of landfill sites to contribute money to projects that create environmental benefits or improve the lives of communities living near landfill sites.
The Highland Council has decided to allocate all its LCF tax credit monies towards biodiversity-related projects. It is looking to support site-based, capital projects that help conserve important species or habitats.
Find out all about the fund on the Highland Biodiversity website.
Posted Wednesday, July 09, 2014
Free Junior Climate Challenge Fund workshops will be taking place in four locations around Scotland in July and August.
If you are 21 or under and interested in tackling climate change by running a project that involves transport, energy efficiency, food or simply having less stuff, a Junior Climate Challenge Fund (JCCF) grant could help you by providing funds and support.
The events have been organised by Keep Scotland Beautiful who manage the fund on behalf of the Scottish Government. The Highland event takes place in Aviemore on 7th August from 15:45-17:00 (Aviemore Community Centre, Aviemore, PH22 1SF) All those attending will also earn 500 Young Scot low carbon reward points. This event is free, but please complete the online registration available through the Keep Scotland Beautiful events page.
For further information on the please see http://www.keepscotlandbeautiful.org/jccf
Posted Tuesday, July 08, 2014
“With greed comes ruthlessness” says one farmer after seeing bags of chanterelle mushrooms disappearing from his woods to pay for luxury holidays. The problem is that after this asset stripping approach the mushrooms don’t return. Fungi need to spore and they need their mycelium (the underground web of threads that powers the top living fruiting bodies) in good heart - heavy tramping of the ground and tearing plants from the mycelium are both bad ideas.
So if you are picking for home consumption or to make money you need to remember several things - starting with the fact that you should have landowner permission before you begin. Most landowners aren’t going to mind someone picking a small amount for themselves, but if you are planning on selling them it stands to reason that you should ask - and it is illegal not to.
And then . . . go gently, cut or twist the mushroom carefully from the mycelium, try not to trample the ground and above all don’t strip out all the fungi you can see. Leave some of them to mature, spread their spores and create new delicacies for another year.
The Scottish Mushroom code has all this good advice on an attractively designed information sheet
And this SNH information sheet has lots of fascinating fungal facts
Posted Monday, July 07, 2014
Twinflower, such a delicate beauty, two softly pink bells hanging in perfect symmetry from impossibly thin stems. I remember well the excitement I felt when a Cairngorms patch was first revealed to me, of sitting under the stillness of the pines, getting down close, and marvelling.
They are a rare Highland plant, and so it good to hear that it is one of four plants being studied by the Cairngorms Rare Plant project www.cairngormsrareplants.org.uk, a cooperative project funded by the Esmée Fairburn Trust
The project will be surveying all known sites, to find out more about what twinflower needs and how it spreads. All this information will be used to advise landowners on how best to look after their precious plants.
Because the patches will have been isolated for a long time, it is suspected that a bit more genetic diversity in each area would be good - and so there will also be translocation trials to try and improve seed production.
If you would like to hear more about it, listen to BBC Radio Scotland’s 8th July 2014 broadcast
Twinflower photograph from Trees for Life whose webpage also has lots of good information about twinflower.
Take a look at the Highland Biodiversity website for an up-to-date list of some environmental funding opportunities.
Posted Wednesday, June 18, 2014
The Climate Challenge Fund is open to new bids. Read all about it in the Keep Scotland Beautiful newsletter.
Posted Monday, June 02, 2014
Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust announce a new annual week-long festival to be launched on World Oceans Day on 8 June, in what is believed to be the first event of its kind in Scotland.
Humpback whales, orcas and bottlenose dolphins will take over Tobermory on the Isle of Mull between 8-15 June 2014, as conservation charity Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust (HWDT) celebrates its 20th anniversary with its first Whale Week.
A wide range of activities and events will be on offer and HWDT hopes that the festival will inspire the local community, schools and tourists to help ensure the long-term survival of these remarkable marine creatures.
So far 24 cetacean species – including several national and international conservation priorities – have been recorded in the region.
“We want Whale Week to create a real buzz about western Scotland’s wonderful whales, dolphins, porpoises and basking sharks. We are fortunate to have one of Europe’s most important habitats for these remarkable marine creatures – and by raising awareness and protecting them we can bring economic and social benefits to the entire region,” said Eva Varga, HWDT Operations Manager.
Guests will be able to step onboard survey boats, hear talks by experts, and enjoy fun and educational activities. There will be a daily treasure hunt and displays at HWDT’s visitor centre; touch tank sessions run by Tobermory Harbour Association and HWDT; a pub quiz and music evening in Tobermory’s Mishnish Pub; and an award ceremony for artwork, music and writing created during the week and for the winners of a window display competition.
HWDT’s unique research yacht Silurian, previously used in filming of the BBC’s acclaimed series The Blue Planet and nicknamed the ‘floating classroom’, will return from pioneering research expeditions across the Hebrides to Tobermory on 8 June for four days. There will be opportunities to go onboard Silurian and Celtic Mist, the research vessel of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group.Presentations will highlight the latest research findings and discuss the killer whales of the North Atlantic, including the West Coast Community living in the Hebrides – a pod thought to be the UK’s only resident group of orcas.
The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group will discuss their research of humpback whales in the North Atlantic, while local company Sea Life Surveys will describe 30 years of respectful whale watching. The closing day on 14 June will feature beach activities with competitions, demonstrations and creative activities for children, families and adults. Click here for a schedule of Whale Week events.
Posted Monday, May 26, 2014
Drew Hendry, Leader of the Highland Council (left in picture) joined other guests in celebrating twenty five years of pioneering woodland work by the charity Trees for Life. The day at their Dundreggan Estate near Glenmoriston was supported by dozens of local people, with other guests including Trees for Life patron Vanessa Collingridge, MSP Richard Lochhead (Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment) and Tim Judge who had cycled 600 miles from London to be part of the celebrations.
Drew Hendry was enthusiastic about the work of Trees for Life, commenting:
“I was delighted to plant one of the commemorative trees at Dundreggan Conservation Estate. Trees For Life’s work at this flagship project on natural regeneration and biodiversity aligns very well with the Highland Biodiversity Action Plan, and with Highland Council’s long-term commitment of achieving a carbon neutral Inverness in a low carbon Highlands by 2025 – our Carbon CLEVER Highlands initiative.”
Remarkably, more than 3,000 species have been identified so far at Dundreggan, including 10 species never before recorded in the UK. The celebration day had guided walks to explore some of these special sites and the chance to feed wild boar and learn about their role in restoring the forest. Children took part in activities that included animal tracking, pond dipping and games. A new Trees for Life exhibition ‘From Caledonia to the Commonwealth’ – a stunning photographic exploration of ancient forests across the Commonwealth – was also officially launched by Vanessa Collingridge. The exhibition is part of the charity’s Celebrate project, funded with support from the National Lottery funded Celebrate programme.
Cyclist Tim Judge (pictured with bike) is raising money for Trees for Life by setting himself the challenge of cycling 5,000 miles this year on his bike Issy and raising £1 per mile for Trees for Life. Tim is full of praise for the work of Trees for Life,
“These magnificent Caledonian woodlands, which to many people are synonymous with Scotland, are one of our most highly prized natural assets, and conserving and expanding these beautiful woodlands is vitally important for the integrity of our landscape and the vitality of our biodiversity.
“Trees for Life has played an important part in that conservation effort and 25 years of restoration is certainly something to celebrate, especially in this Year of Homecoming that focuses on Natural Scotland.”
Tim can be supported in his cycle challenge at www.justgiving.com/GingerBittersOnABike.
Summing up Trees for Life’s Executive Director Alan Watson Featherstone said:
“I want to thank everyone who has contributed to this remarkable achievement, and everyone who will help us in the future as we expand and extend our innovative work to restore the world-class wildlife and landscapes of the Highlands.”
Posted Monday, May 19, 2014
For a comprehensive list of all the Highland Conservation volunteering opportunities take a look at the Highland Biodiversity website.
Posted Tuesday, May 13, 2014
On Wednesday 28th May SCVO and Glasgow Caledonian University will be hosting a debate exploring the role of human rights in reducing health inequality at Eden Court, Inverness from 2.00 - 4.00pm. During the afternoon they will be seeking answers to the question ‘Is reducing health inequality about improving health services, or realising our social and economic rights?’ Places are free but limited.
You can also get involved in a new health inequality focussed forum which supports third sector organisations and community groups in their work to reduce health inequality in Highland. The forum is run by the Highlands and Islands Equality Forum (HIEF) and the Highlands Third Sector Partnership (HTSP) and is intended to be an opportunity for a more organised and collaborative approach to reducing health inequality from within the Highland third sector.
The forum is for third sector organisations, community groups and individuals who are active in their community.
For further information on the debate or forum Sasha Devine at HIEF - email email@example.com or tel: 01463 258 801
Posted Monday, May 12, 2014
There’s still time to get your entry in to the RSPB Nature of Scotland Awards. There are eight categories pen to individuals and organisations across the country that go the extra mile to protect Scotland’s wildlife and the natural environment, you can find out more at www.rspb.org.uk/natureofscotland
The categories are:
The closing date for entries is Friday 30 May 2014.
Posted Monday, May 12, 2014
Stephen Wiseman, the Caledonian Canal Heritage Officer has lots of plans for sharing the pleasures of being beside the canal this summer. Find out all about them on the Highland Biodiversity website.
The photograph shows helpers near Fort William.
Posted Thursday, May 08, 2014
Voluntary Arts Week starts on 9th May and runs until 18th May. Anyone who gets creative purely for the love of it can take part in Voluntary Arts Week – taking part is a great way to showcase your creativity and reach out to new members. Why not take your talent outside and stage a ‘Flashmob’ in a public space, organise a Craftbomb, or hold a taster session to encourage newcomers to join your group.
To find out more, visit www.voluntaryartsweek.org – and if you have a special event or regular meet-up / rehearsal that falls during Voluntary Arts Week, make sure you list it on their website, so they can help to promote it.
Posted Wednesday, April 23, 2014
There’s a lot of cycling happening during May, on and off road, for fun and for charity.
Highland Council has signed up for Inverness to take part in the European Cycling challenge from the 1st to 31st May. The City that “rides” the longest total distance wins!
The challenge is open to everyone who lives in Inverness or who cycles to and from Inverness. All journeys made by bicycle instead of other means of transport (such as car, motorcycle or any engine powered vehicles) are accepted. As an example: journeys to and from workplace, school, to shopping, to go to the cinema, etc all count. Sadly sport activities do not.
Participation is free. You can sign up to cycle for Inverness on the European Cycling challenge website, where you can download a smartphone app to enable you to track your journeys by bicycle. Help to promote Inverness as a cycling city and get fit at the same time - can’t be a bad idea!
If you enjoy biking, relaxation, a challenge and some beautiful scenery then the Rock and Road festival at Tomintoul and Glenlivet from the 9th to 11th May could be for you. During the weekend there’s sportive and off road racing, coaching sessions, guided off-road exploring, a treasure hunt, bmx demo and more. Find out all the details on the Rock and Road website.
If some of the Rock and Road cycles sound challenging, how about 600 miles from London to Dundreggan, nr Glenmoriston in six days.
That’s the target Timothy Judge (pictured) has set himself as part of his ambitions aim of cycling 5,000 miles during 2014 in order to raise money for Trees for Life’s 25th anniversary.
Tim said: “I’m supporting Trees for Life because restoring the UK’s biodiversity and lost woodlands is the biggest step we can make in ensuring that our children have a wonderful place to live. It also makes economic sense to protect the lands that give us everything from the food we eat to the oxygen in the air.”
Tim aims to raise £1 for every mile he cycles in 2014. Since his challenge began as a New Year’s Resolution, he has cycled almost 500 miles on his bike Issy. He can be supported at www.justgiving.com/GingerBittersOnABike. Tim’s progress can be followed at www.strava.com/athletes/gingerbittersonabike.
Tim will be arriving at Dundreggan for Trees for Life’s 25th anniversary celebration open day on Sunday 25 May. The event will include guided walks to explore ancient woodlands and spot wildlife, opportunities to meet and feed wild boar and learn about their role in restoring the forest, the exclusive launch of Trees for Life’s 'Forests of the Commonwealth' photographic exhibition, plus lunch and all-day refreshments. Children’s activities will include animal tracking, pond dipping and games.Trees for Life’s Executive Director Alan Watson Featherstone said: “We’re delighted and moved by Tim’s inspiration and commitment in setting this ambitious challenge for himself. We hope it will be a rewarding journey for him, whilst generating vital support for our work to restore the Caledonian Forest to one of the UK’s wildest landscapes. We look forward to welcoming Tim on his arrival at Dundreggan on 25 May.”
Posted Monday, April 21, 2014
Hens and their chicks come to mind at this time of year - and so it seems an appropriate moment to invite you to nestle under our wings and become a HEN member. It is FREE, because HEN is all about building a strong network that can share valuable environmental information and skills.
Members receive :
Membership is open to individuals and to groups or organisations.
The more people that are involved the stronger the network will be. If you’d like to join us download a form from our membership page or email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you’d like to join our mailing list to get newsletters and e-bulletins you can do this on our subscription webpage.
Black Isle Raptor killings - 'shocking, grim and distressing'
Posted Monday, April 14, 2014
Protestors in Inverness on Saturday 12th April made their clear their opinion on the recent Black Isle raptor killings.
The death of 14 red kites and 5 buzzards has shocked many, received national attention and attracted a £27,000 reward for information leading to prosecution.
The campaign against the illegal killing of birds of prey has been active for decades, perhaps this will be the tipping point that brings about change.
Twenty-five years after the red kite was reintroduced to the Black Isle in 1989 there were only 25 breeding pairs in the core Black Isle population with another 30 pairs in the wider Easter Ross area and around the Dornoch Firth. By contrast the red kite introduction that first took place in the Chilterns in the same year resulted in some 600 breeding pairs of kites, some ten times that of the Highland introduction.
Commenting on the illegal Black Isle killings SNH Chairman Ian Ross said:
“We in SNH condemn any form of wildlife crime and the growing catalogue of suspected cases in the Black Isles is shocking, grim and distressing.
"Nature-based tourism is worth £1.4 billion a year to Scotland's economy. It's clear that acts like this detract from that value and diminish Scotland's appeal as a major wildlife tourism destination. They can also damage the local economy as many locals and visitors are keen to see these magnificent birds in the wider countryside. And, of course, it causes an appalling level of natural heritage and wildlife damage.
"We're committed in this case, as in all others, to working strongly in partnership with Police Scotland, and other members of the Partnership Against Wildlife Crime Scotland (PAWS) to stamp out wildlife crime in Scotland.”
Find out more about Carbofuran the poison most commonly used to kill birds of prey, and which is also lethal to humans.
Find out more about the Scottish Government consultation on giving SSPCA more powers to tackle wildlife crime.
Find out more about Scottish raptor poisonings from BBC News
Follow the work of the Raptor Study Group
Posted Monday, April 14, 2014
Launch of the Carbon CLEVER Declaration
Wednesday 30 April 10am to midday, Craigmonie Hotel, Inverness
A free event for business and organisations to find out more about the Carbon CLEVER Declaration; how to make financial savings; get free support and advice; and hear first-hand about the benefits of signing up.
Organisations which sign the declaration benefit by…
The Carbon CLEVER Declaration offers businesses, organisations, and communities support to make financial savings and become more resource efficient while reducing your carbon emissions.
What is Carbon CLEVER?
A flagship initiative with the vision of a carbon neutral Inverness in a low carbon Highlands by 2025. It aims to join up area-wide efforts to make Highland an efficient and competitive place to work and do business; and an attractive place to live.
Led by The Highland Council, it is already supported by a range of organisations across the business, public and voluntary sectors.
Who should attend?
Any business, community group or public sector organisation interested in finding out more about the Carbon CLEVER Declaration, making financial savings, saving resources and reducing carbon emissions.
How to book a place?
Although this event is completely free, places are limited and therefore we recommend that you register first in order to secure your place.
If you can’t attend the launch, but want to sign the Carbon CLEVER Declaration email email@example.com for more information.
Supported by Resource Efficient Scotland
Resource Efficient Scotland is a Scottish Government-funded programme that helps business, public and third-sector organisations save money by using resources efficiently. It provides free, specialist advice, access to funding and suppliers, and in-person on-site support to help organisations cut their energy, water and raw material costs.By using resources more efficiently, Scottish organisations could save £2.9bn every year. To make your savings, contact Resource Efficient Scotland today on 0808 808 2268 or visit their website.
Heat your home for seven years and get paid for doing it - sounds like a good ides. The domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) which has just been launched will do just that. The scheme is open to everyone – home owners, social and private landlords, and people who build their own homes - and is available to households both on and off the gas grid.
The scheme will provide payment to homeowners for seven years for the green heat they generate.
The technologies currently covered by the scheme are:
• Biomass heating systems, which burn fuel such as wood pellets, chips or logs to provide central heating and hot water in a home. Biomass-only boilers are designed to provide heating using a ‘wet system’ (eg through radiators) and provide hot water. Pellet stoves with integrated boilers are designed to burn only wood pellets and can heat the room they are in directly, as well as provide heat to the rest of the home using a ‘wet system’ (eg through radiators) and provide hot water.
• Ground or water source heat pumps, which extract heat from the ground or water. This heat can then be used to provide heating and/or hot water in a home.
• Air to water heat pumps, which absorb heat from the outside air. This heat can then be used to provide heating and/or hot water in a home.
• Solar thermal panels, which collect heat from the sun and use it to heat up water which is stored in a hot water cylinder. The two types of panels that are eligible are evacuated tube panels and liquid-filled flat plate panels.
The domestic RHI will pay the following tariffs per unit of heat generated for seven years:
Air-source heat pumps 7.3p/kWh
Ground and water-source heat pumps 18.8p/kWh
Biomass-only boilers and biomass pellet stoves with integrated boilers 12.2p/kWh
Solar thermal panels (flat plate and evacuated tube for hot water only) 19.2 p/kWh
Factsheets and guidance on applying for RHI are available from Ofgem
Contact Home Energy Scotland for further information: 0808 808 2282
The report from the Highland Biodiversity conference 2014 is now a now available online, together with all the pdfs of the speakers presentations. Find out more and download yourself a copy from the Highland Biodiversity website.
Buzzing bees and beautiful blooms
Posted Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Some bees are fussy about where their plants come from (especially it seems those with long tongues), but others are just happy with nectar and pollen, whatever the country of origin. And our gardens are the perfect places to help them all.
As Dr Mick Hanley, Lecturer in Ecology at Plymouth University, said: “Urban gardens are increasingly recognised for their potential to maintain or even enhance biodiversity,”
“In particular, the presence of large densities and varieties of flowering plants supports a number of pollinating insects whose range and abundance has declined as a consequence of agricultural intensification and habitat loss.
By growing a variety of plants from around the world, gardeners ensure that a range of food sources is available for many different pollinators. But until now we have had very little idea about how the origins of garden plants affect their use by our native pollinators.”
SO . . . no need to resist all those brightly coloured plant catalogues, packets of seeds and garden plants - it’s all just for the benefit of wildlife - Honest!
Find out more about the Plymouth University study www.plymouth.ac.uk/pages/view.asp?page=40663
Get some advice about what bees really like best from Bumblebee Conservation http://bumblebeeconservation.org/get-involved/gardening-for-bees
(with thanks to Bumblebee Conservation for the photographs)
Posted Monday, March 24, 2014
Would your community be interested in piloting a sustainable transport project? If so, the Energy Saving Trust would like to hear from you. The trust is developing a pilot project, to be delivered in 2014/15 and are looking for a single community in Scotland with which to investigate options for intensely localised provision and delivery of a range of sustainable transport services. Ideally it would like to identify a place where there is already organised community level activity on sustainability issues.
The programme will seek to achieve a critical mass of activity in an area, so that different initiatives and activities reinforce each other to boost the overall uptake of sustainable transport services within the target community. Importantly, it would also aim to normalise sustainable transport behaviours and choices among those who live there. Services which could be provided might include:
EST is currently seeking expressions of interest from existing community groups who are looking to complement their existing activities with sustainable transport work.
If you are interested in the initiative, get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org who will provide more information.
Posted Friday, March 21, 2014
As Trees for Life celebrates 25 years of conservation action that has included volunteers planting more than a million trees and the creation of 10,000 acres of new Caledonian Forest, their plans for the future are even more ambitious.
The charity is expanding beyond its previous work - the 1,000 square miles west of Inverness and Loch Ness - and is exploring opportunities to restore neglected and derelict Caledonian pinewoods in other parts of Scotland.
“Without urgent action, key parts of Scotland’s ancient Caledonian Forest could be lost forever, and forest-dependent wildlife such as the Scottish wildcat and capercaillie could become extinct in the UK,” said Trees for Life’s Executive Director Alan Watson Featherstone.
The charity’s major plans for 2014 include an ambitious project at Dundreggan Conservation Estate to convert a 300-hectare commercial plantation of non-native trees back to native woodland. This will include a pioneering mire restoration scheme, funded by a grant from Scottish Natural Heritage. The whole project will take over 10 years to complete.
An area of Dundreggan will be fenced off for restoration of ‘wee trees’, the nationally scarce dwarf birch (Betula nana), as part of a broader plan to create a woodland link between Glen Affric and Glenmoriston, and to expand this habitat for species including black grouse, ptarmigan and golden plover.
A programme of research on forest ecology will also be carried out at Dundreggan, and the estate will host a 25th anniversary open weekend on 24-25 May. Meanwhile, a new tree planting project will begin in a Caledonian pinewood remnant at Culligran in Glen Strathfarrar in the autumn.
“We want people to get involved through volunteering or financial support, to help restore Scotland’s threatened habitats and species. Wildlife tourism generates millions of pounds every year, so bringing new life to impoverished woodlands and barren glens can bring economic as well as environmental benefits,” said Alan Watson Featherstone.
To find out more about Trees for Life, their future plans and how you can get involved - including through volunteer conservation weeks and conservation days, take a look at their website.
Many thanks go to Laurie Campbell for the use of his fine pine marten picture, which remains his copyright. If you'd like to use this or any of Laurie's many beautiful images you can contact him via his website at www.lauriecampbell.com
Posted Thursday, March 13, 2014
Put a spring in your step with a Paths for All pedometer pack, which you can purchase from their website.
The packs are available for community groups and individuals and contain:
Posted Thursday, March 13, 2014
Conservation charity Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust (HWDT) has been awarded £120,000 through the Big Lottery Coastal Communities Fund.
Their Sea Change project will strengthen conservation of whales, dolphins and porpoises and develop the region’s appeal as a major destination for wildlife tourism.
“This Coastal Communities Fund award is fantastic news for our work with communities in the Hebrides. We want our Sea Change project to help local people make the most of their natural marine assets – benefitting the conservation of our world-class marine environment and bringing real economic and social benefits to the whole region,” said Eva Varga, HWDT Operations Manager.
She added: “In the communities involved, the success of our Community Sightings Network – through which people can report sightings of cetaceans, helping us to map their distribution off Scotland’s west coast – and of our educational visits have shown a real enthusiasm for Scotland’s remarkable and inspiring marine biodiversity.”
The scheme will support local people by developing skills and creating work opportunities through an extended Community Sightings Network.
It is planned that the Sea Change project will be carried out on Mull, Coll and Tiree, Islay and Jura, Colonsay, Barra, Small Isles (Eigg, Muck, Rum, Canna), Mallaig and Arisaig, and in two locations on Skye. Each of these communities attracts tourism and has seen an increase in wildlife tourism in recent years.
The Sea Change project will directly create two new jobs - a new full-time Sightings and Strandings Officer and a new visitor centre manager - advertised on their website where you can also find out more about the Sea Change work.
Posted Thursday, March 13, 2014
Have you got a good idea for spending up to £50K? The the People’s Millions competition, run in conjunction with ITV, could be just the thing for your community.
The winners are decided by public vote and, on occasion, more than one award has been made in a particular area. To date a very wide range of projects have been supported from village halls, sensory gardens, and environmental projects to multi-use games and play areas.
The competition is open to voluntary and community groups, local authorities, schools, statutory health bodies and branches of organisations or partnerships.
The deadline for groups to apply is 12 noon on 16 May 2014.
More info is available on the Big Blog Scotland
To apply, go to the People's Millions website
Posted Thursday, March 06, 2014
The Highland Council is keen to find out what you think of their draft Green Transport Strategy, and you've until 30th April to let them know.
The strategy aims to find viable alternatives to the one-person-per-car situation so many of us can find ourselves in.
As Councillor Graham Phillips, Chairman Transport, Environmental & Community Services Committee, said in the Council press release: “Tests of the strategy’s success will be: whether it delivers comprehensive transport options Highland-wide; the extent to which people opt to use them instead of their cars; and for shorter journeys, the extent to which people choose to walk or cycle. We will report on progress annually."
Find out more about the proposals, and submit your comments by going to the Highland Council website.
Posted Wednesday, February 12, 2014
The Arkleton Trust has announced new funding for study and exchange visits to share experience and knowledge of rural development. They're particularly interested in supporting visits to Africa.
Applications are open to anyone who has a project that can demonstrate the rural development potential of their project. The committee meets every six months, with the next meeting being on 15th April 2014, but applications may be submitted at any time.
More details about the fund are available on the Arkleton Trust website
Posted Monday, December 23, 2013
Our search is back on for Scotland's greenest communities with the second annual Greener Together Awards now open for nominations.
Across Scotland, individuals, neighbourhoods and communities are going greener together. Here you can find out about the Greener Together Community Awards which allow you to nominate projects and initiatives that bring greener living to life, as well as details of local community groups and events that are happening in your area. You can also tell us if you are holding a green event or involved with a community group and we can add details to our site.
Greener Together Community Awards
First introduced as part of the Year of Natural Scotland 2013, the Scottish Government aims to encourage, celebrate and reward community action for the environment around Scotland. The Greener Together Community Awards recognise communities that are participating in, or furthering their active contribution towards a cleaner, greener Scotland. For information on the winners of the 2013 Greener Together Community Awards, click here. The winning projects all bring greener living to life in a creative, innovative and inspiring way and demonstrate the positive effects of the project on the community and local environments.
Posted Friday, December 20, 2013
Research surveys conducted by the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust (HWDT) during 2013 have identified a remarkably wide range of whale, dolphin and porpoise species – highlighting the need to conserve the rich biodiversity and globally-important marine habitats in western Scotland’s seas.
The latest research is part of HWDT’s unique and long-term monitoring project of cetaceans –
whales, dolphins and porpoises – in the Hebrides. With growing concerns over the state of the UK’s seas, and threats to wildlife and ecosystems from human activity, HWDT is calling for volunteers to help continue the pioneering research in 2014.
In total during 2013, HWDT recorded more than 400 encounters with cetaceans and basking sharks, and made almost 1,000 underwater detections of cetaceans using specialist listening equipment.
Kerry Froud, HWDT Biodiversity Officer, said: “The impressive range of species of cetaceans and basking sharks that we have documented this year highlights the wealth of marine life in Scotland’s west coast ocean environment – and the importance of ensuring the continued survival of these spectacular animals and maintaining the healthy seas that support them.”
With the help of 48 volunteers working alongside marine scientists, the charity carried out nine surveys on its research yacht Silurian during 2013. The surveys covered more than 3,000 nautical miles and spanned nearly all of the Hebrides and beyond – from Ballycastle, Northern Ireland in the south, west to the Outer Hebrides, and to Cape Wrath in the north.
A major encounter – in August near the Isle of Skye – was a rare sighting of three members of a group of killer whales known as the ‘West Coast Community’. This very small group consisting of just five males and four females is thought to be the UK’s only known resident group, but, as no calves have been seen within the group, it is likely to go extinct in our lifetime.
Other highlights included:
· 417 encounters with cetaceans and basking sharks – consisting of 321 encounters of harbour porpoise; 34 of minke whale; 32 of basking shark; 22 of common dolphin; six of white-beaked dolphin; one of killer whale; and one of Risso’s dolphin.
· Recorded acoustic detections of 821 harbour porpoise; 129 common dolphin; six white-beaked dolphin; and one Risso’s dolphin – the latter adding to sparse acoustic data currently available for this species.
· Visual sightings of 316 harbour porpoises, with the species being detected acoustically 821 times. Scotland’s west coast is one of Europe’s most important habitats for harbour porpoises.
· 50 basking sharks recorded in nine days alone in June. Sightings of basking sharks have been increasing in recent years.
Although little was known about Hebridean cetaceans until relatively recently, HWDT’s work is strengthening knowledge about their distribution, movements, habitats and behaviour. The charity’s findings now form the most comprehensive data available, supporting effective conservation – including by providing researchers and policy-makers with crucial data on cetacean distribution patterns – and benefitting HWDT’s education work.
HWDT’s findings will contribute to the Scottish Government’s historic initiative to identify areas for possible Marine Protected Areas featuring cetaceans and basking sharks. This year, a network of 33 marine reserves has been proposed. A decision on which will go forward for designation as Marine Protected Areas is expected in Spring 2014 – potentially providing protection to Scotland’s marine environment by preventing damaging activities within the reserves.
HWDT’s data will also contribute to the Joint Cetacean Protocol, a UK-wide initiative that is combining data from different sources to add to knowledge of cetacean distribution and trends.
Western Scotland’s seas are one of Europe’s most important habitats for cetaceans. The long, complex coastline, strong ocean currents and wide variety of habitats help make the Hebrides one of the most biologically productive areas in the UK. So far 24 cetacean species have been recorded in the region, many of which are national and international conservation priority species.
Marine ecosystems are fragile, and cetaceans face increasing stress from human activities including climate change, entanglement in fishing gear, pollution, underwater noise and habitat degradation.
HWDT improves knowledge and understanding of Scotland’s whales, dolphins and porpoises and the Hebridean marine environment through education, research and working within local communities to ensure lasting conservation of species and habitats.
The charity is recruiting volunteers to take part in its 2014 surveys. Volunteers will live and work onboard Silurian for almost two weeks, working alongside marine scientists, collecting data during visual surveys, and conducting acoustic monitoring including with hydrophones. They will receive full training and assist with the day-to-day running of the research vessel.
Places on the surveys – which depart from Tobermory on the Isle of Mull or Kyle of Lochalsh – are available from May to September. Participation costs range from £800 - £1,300, which covers boat expenses, supports HWDT’s research programme and includes accommodation, food and insurance onboard Silurian. For details call 01688 302620 or visit www.hwdt.org.
Posted Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Local Authorities will be putting in their bids to Scottish Government for their 2014-15 programmes in January.
The HEEPS:ABS is a grant scheme from the Scottish Government that is delivered locally by local authorities.
· To reduce carbon emissions;
· To lever Energy Company Obligation funding; and
· To support the local economy and sustainable local economic development
Posted Tuesday, December 10, 2013
The Community Transport Vehicle Fund is a one-off Scottish Government initiative with £1m available for 2013/14. It aims to help community transport operators buy new vehicles either to replace older vehicles or to expand services. This initiative has arisen because the Scottish Government recognises that funding of vehicles is a particular problem for community transport operators and also because community transport meets a number of social objectives, such as:
· giving older and disabled people who cannot use mainstream transport mobility and access to services
· providing access to health and social care services
· helping to build more resilient communities by ensuring that people are not isolated.
The Scottish Government wishes to provide this support to those organisations whose transport services are likely to have the biggest impact in their communities. It is anticipated that most of the Fund will be used to replace vehicles which are now close to the end of their useful life and which are well used in their local communities. However, vehicles for new services will also be considered though applications will need to be exceptional showing a strong case for the need for and impact of the vehicle.
The fund is jointly managed by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations and the Community Transport Association (CTA).
Download application form (Word doc)
Posted Monday, December 09, 2013
SNH, Vist Scotland and other partners will be teaming up to celebrate the very best of Scotland’s unique nature and natural landscapes, active experiences, our fantastic natural larder, as well as our creativity, culture and ancestral heritage. Scotland will play host to two world-class events in 2014 - the 40th Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in July and the 40th Ryder Cup at historic Gleneagles in September - in addition to some other fantastic events including the John Muir Festival in April celebrating our exceptional Scot-born naturalist. Find out more on www.homecomingscotland.com
Posted Monday, December 02, 2013
Conservation charity Trees for Life is to benefit from a new anthology of poems edited by Assynt-based poet Mandy Haggith, which is being launched with an event in Findhorn on Sunday 8 December.
‘Into the Forest’ – a collection of tree poetry which celebrates the ancient connection between trees and writing – will be launched with a slide-show and poetry reading at the Universal Hall at the Findhorn Foundation, hosted by Trees for Life. There will be readings from a range of Highland poets including John Glenday and Findhorn Community residents Dave Till and Margot Henderson. The event runs from 7.30 pm – 9.30 pm, and entry is by donation.
Mandy Haggith said: “I want to support the regeneration of woodlands in the Highlands, and I hope that this forest of tree poems will help many people to appreciate the strength of our connection to the woods.”
Alan Watson Featherstone, Trees for Life’s Executive Director, said, “We’re delighted to be involved with this inspiring project. The poems in this book reveal the long-standing cultural importance of trees in Scotland and around the world. The royalties will help us to restore the native forests of the Highlands, ensuring that trees continue to play that role in the future.”
Mandy is giving her royalties from ‘Into the Forest’ and donations to Trees for Life, which is restoring the ancient Caledonian Forest.
The new book is organised into chapters following the Gaelic tree alphabet. Before Christianity introduced the Latin alphabet, Gaelic was written using a script called Ogham. The letters of this alphabet look like twigs and there is a tree associated each one, from birch to yew.
Award-winning charity Trees for Life has planted more than one million trees at dozens of sites in the Highlands. It has pledged to establish one million more trees by planting and natural regeneration by 2018. For details, please visit www.treesforlife.org.uk or call 0845 458 3505.
Posted Wednesday, November 27, 2013
What does the white paper mean for the third sector?
More than one million people are living in poverty in Scotland and 30% of our population don't vote and will never set eyes on this weighty document. How are we going to engage them in this debate? We need to get everyone involved in the discussions about Scotland's future and make sure that the debate focuses on the issues that matter to people if we are going to create a more prosperous, fairer and more equal Scotland.
This is a progressive government which supports the work of charities and third sector organisations, and shares many of our values. This shows in the white paper but equality and social justice will always have to be fought for, independence or not.
Martin Sime, SCVO chief executive
Below, we've highlighted the key points from today's white paper on Scottish independence. The following information has been quoted directly from the white paper.
The priorities of the current Scottish Government for the first budget after independence will be to:
Under our plans, the National Lottery will continue in Scotland, with Camelot retaining its licence as operator. We will ensure that Scotland continues to receive our fair share of funding from the National Lottery.
The Scottish Parliament in an independent Scotland will control both charity law and tax matters. This will enable future Scottish governments and parliaments to consider taxation policy that would enhance opportunities for charitable giving.
This Government proposes a series of improvements to the benefits system that will:
In the longer term, this Scottish Government will pursue policies which conform with the idea that welfare is a "social investment" - an investment across a person's life that is designed at all stages to promote equality, fairness and social cohesion.
This Government plans to ensure that those already in receipt of Universal Credit by May 2016 are no worse off than anyone else in the following ways.
An independent Scotland would enshrine a legislative commitment to spending 0.7 per cent of Gross National Income on Official Development Assistance.
Under independence, this Government will promote and support culture and heritage, both for their intrinsic value and for the benefits they contribute to Scotland.
An independent Scottish Parliament will have the opportunity to enshrine protection of the environment in a written constitution, ensuring its protection for future generations
In an independent Scotland, the current Scottish Government plans to review the management of the Crown Estate and consult on arrangements to enhance local control of assets, including greater autonomy for the islands and ownership of the foreshore and local harbours. We also plan to introduce community benefits associated with Scotland's offshore renewable resource.
If we form the government of an independent Scotland we will show international leadership in tackling climate change.
If this Government is re-elected in 2016, the Royal Mail will be brought back into public ownership in Scotland, with a commitment to existing service levels including the Universal Service Obligation. In telecommunications policy, our approach will give greater priority to improving geographic coverage, particularly in remote rural areas.
Our Fair Work Commission will guarantee that the minimum wage rises - at the very least - in line with inflation to ensure that work is a route out of poverty
We have identified the following priorities to support the Scottish economy for the first session of an independent Scottish parliament:
The Third Sector must remain a key partner, playing a major role in our economy and in the design and delivery of public services.
An independent Scotland will safeguard and strengthen Scotland's equality and human rights framework, and maintain our existing strong commitment to the European Convention on Human Rights.
Independence will enable us to:
Posted Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Almost 100 policy recommendations for rural Scotland have been made in a report published this week for the Scottish Conservatives. The Scottish Rural Commission was set up by Conservative leader Ruth Davidson in 2012 with a brief to "develop ideas which would make rural Scotland a better place". Full report http://www.scottishconservatives.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Rural_Com_13-FINAL.pdf
The Scottish Rural Commission was set up by Conservative leader Ruth Davidson in 2012 with a brief to "develop ideas which would make rural Scotland a better place". The Commission's recommendations include better broadband connections across rural Scotland, looser planning controls, an end to the Council Tax freeze and a stronger focus on tourism. On the issue of land reform, they strongly reject the idea of an absolute right to buy.
Posted Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Highland.LiftShare.com have now got 500 people signed up to lift sharing. Why not join them save yourself some money, meet new people and most of all cut your carbon footprint.
Posted Monday, October 28, 2013
An extra £10.3 million is being made available by the Scottish Government to extend the Climate Challenge Fund (CCF) until March 2016.
The Climate Challenge Fund is a Scottish Government programme which is managed by independent charity Keep Scotland Beautiful.
Applications under £30,000 will also benefit from streamlined monthly funding decisions.
Grants up to £150,000 per year per project are available through the CCF. In total 612 projects run by community groups across Scotland have been awarded more than £52 million in CCF funding to reduce carbon emissions, tackle climate change and make community improvements.
Funded projects have included energy efficiency improvements in community owned halls, provision of energy efficiency advice, lower carbon transport schemes, community growing projects and initiatives to reduce, reuse and recycle.
Projects across Scotland have also received £750 Development Grants which are available to assist disadvantaged communities, ethnic minority communities and young people in developing their full CCF or Junior CCF application.
All applicants receive help and support from Development Officers at Keep Scotland Beautiful. Keep Scotland Beautiful is the independent charity which is committed to making Scotland clean and green, today and tomorrow.
APPLY NOW: Next draft application deadline is 6th January 2014
Posted Monday, October 21, 2013
Thinking about a holiday? Conservation Weeks offer an inspiring hands-on conservation experience in breathtaking Highlands scenery of mountains, forests and rivers.
Natallie Allain, who volunteered in Glen Affric, said: “My experience of volunteering with Trees for Life was nothing but positive. I came away with a new love for the Scottish Highlands, a heightened respect for the majesty of trees and some great new friends!”
Each Conservation Week includes up to ten volunteers and two group leaders. No previous experience is needed. You must be 18 or over to participate, and there is no upper age limit. A reasonable level of fitness is required as the weeks can be physically demanding. See our Locations page to see how our weeks are graded.
The price of a week is £350, but we offer a reduced rate of £180 or £90 for concessions – fantastic value since this includes all meals, accommodation and transport from Inverness.
If you are interested in finding out more about our volunteering opportunities and/or would like to be added to our day volunteers mailing list please contact Kirsty by email email@example.com, or phone 01309 691292.
Posted Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Grants for enterprising organisations from £10,000 - £25,000
Grant for one off initiatives and to help to develop sustainable growth. For full programme details: ERF
Closing date for Category three applications - 2nd December
Posted Tuesday, September 17, 2013
This year’s CSGN Community Projects Fund is now open. Groups can apply for grants of between £1,500 and £3,000.
This year we want to focus on projects undertaken for the benefit of, and/or involving children and young people under 16 years of age. The Fund is intended to support small-scale, community led projects that:
• Deliver green network improvements on the ground; and/or
• Increase community use of the green network; and/or
• Increase community involvement in the maintenance and enhancement of the green network locally.
Projects must be either for the benefit of children and young people and/or undertaken with and by children and young people.
Funding is available for financial year 2013-14 and therefore activity must be complete by 31st March 2014.
The Fund is available to community groups able to demonstrate that they represent a community within the CSGN area, how their project will be undertaken with or will benefit children and young people, and that they have the necessary permissions and any match funding.
The scope of the Fund is deliberately broad – although we are particularly keen to support projects that include tree/woodland planting or management.
We will consider all types of project activity that can be shown to be enhancing the green network locally or increasing use and involvement by children and young people.
For more information about the Fund and to access the online application system visit the Central Scotland Green Network website.
Posted Monday, August 19, 2013
Plantlife Scotland is calling on people to take part in a new survey which will help determine the health of the ancient gin giving juniper bush that is under attack.
Deborah Long from Plantlife Scotland says “juniper with its blueish green needles and green or black berries is easy to identify. We are asking people to help us by completing a survey form every time they see Juniper in Scotland. If however you notice any orange or brown bushes, there may be a risk of infection by Phytophthora austrocedrae. If this happens people should document this on their survey form but ensure they do not walk around the area and clean mud thoroughly from their boots and equipment”
Juniper’s decline in Scotland has been due to a combination of ageing bushes (many are over a century old, so producing fewer viable seeds), under-grazing (which prevents germination and suppresses seedlings) and locally booming rabbit and vole populations (which are voracious consumers of juvenile plants).
Juniper is an important part of Scotland’s landscape and culture:
The fragrant wood was used as firewood as it burns well. It is also said to burn with less smoke and therefore was the preferred fuel for illegal whisky stills.
Juniper’s aromatic berries give gin its distinctive flavour, and are regularly used as an ingredient in game dishes.
The prickly boughs were turned to advantage in the past and used as a substitute for barbed wire.
The many medicinal qualities of juniper mean that in the Highlands in the past, it was used to treat almost every ailment. Oil extracted from juniper has an ancient reputation as an abortifacient – which perhaps explains another of its names, bastard’s bane.
Posted Monday, August 19, 2013
SCVO are developing a new funding service which will include a searchable database of funding opportunities. They looking to form a representative user group - from professional fundraisers to grassroots volunteers - that we can approach for occasional advice. Time commitment to the group is completely flexible.
If you are interested in joining the group, or to find out more, please contact Harriet Grant at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted Monday, July 15, 2013
The Scottish Government is now inviting potential partners to submit Expressions of Interest to form Local Action Groups for the next LEADER programme. The current LEADER programme will end in 2013 and work is being taken forward to develop the next programme, which will run from 2014 to 2020. The Expression of Interest (EoI) is the first stage in an iterative multi-stage application process leading up to the establishment of Local Action Groups and the development and approval of Local Development Strategies in 2014. The closing date for submission of Expressions of Interest is 5th August. You can get more information in Scottish Government invites Expressions of Interest to form Local Action Groups.
Posted Tuesday, June 25, 2013
At the Community Land Conference held recently on Skye, First Minister, Alex Salmond, announced an additional Scottish Government investment of £3m in the Scottish Land Fund and its extension for a further year to March 2016.
Posted Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Paths for All is Scotland’s national charity that manages the walking for health programme and helps communities to develop their local paths, with funding from the Scottish Government.
Info and advice are available from Paths for All.
Community Health Walks - Paths for All supports a network of community Health Walk projects that organise free Health Walks every week. These are short, safe, social, fun, accessible, low level walks led by trained volunteers. Anyone can come along to a Health Walk and new walkers are always welcome.
Two local community projects in Highland benefit from Paths for All’s funding, training and support. Step It Up Highland, run by the charity Partnerships for Wellbeing, organises Health Walks across Highland, and theCairngorms Walking to Health Project runs Health Walks throughout the Cairngorms National Park. Both projects welcome new walkers, and Step It Up Highland is also looking for volunteer walk leaders, especially in the Caithness, Skye and Inverness areas, full training provided.
Workplace Walking - Our Walk at Work programme supports workplaces to become more active by setting up staff walking groups and initiatives, and is supported by the Scottish Centre for Healthy Working Lives. Paths for All can provide Small Grants, Pedometer Packs, resources and training for workplaces.
We recently held a free Walk at Work course in Inverness where 12 delegates from local organisations were trained to set up a workplace walking project and lead walks with colleagues. There is more info on Paths for All’s training courses at: http://www.pathsforall.org.uk/pfa/training/training-courses.html
Information for Health Professionals - Walking is the perfect activity for health professionals to offer to patients, clients or staff teams. Paths for All is keen to work in partnership with health professionals and support you to get your patients, client groups or workplace more active.
We have recently launched a new ‘Walk Your Way to Better Strength and Balance’ programme that combines strength and balance exercises with advice on walking to help older adults stay active and independent. For information about this and other resources for health professionals, please visit:http://www.pathsforall.org.uk/pfa/health-professionals/health-professionals-and-walking.html
Local People Local Paths - Paths for All provides support, guidance, training and advice to community groups, development trusts and volunteers who are looking to improve their local path networks. We run a variety of training courses for groups, in addition to providing a 'one stop shop' service for support and advice.
Further Information - For information about community and workplace walking for health, please contact Helen Wilson, Development Officer at Paths for All (Tel: 01463 725159; Email:email@example.com) or visit our website www.pathsforall.org.uk
For information about our Local People Local Paths initiative, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the 'Developing and Managing Paths' area on www.pathsforall.org.uk
Step It Up Highland (Web: www.pfw.org.uk; Email: email@example.com; Tel: 01463 729997)
The Cairngorms Walking to Health Project (Web: www.cairngormsoutdooraccess.org.uk; Email:firstname.lastname@example.org; Tel: 01339 880081)
Posted Wednesday, May 15, 2013
The Youth Panel who will assess Junior Climate Challenge Fund (JCCF) applications is now in place. The panel range in age from 12 to 17 and will also be helping to develop promotional material for the Fund as well as acting as ambassadors for the JCCF across Scotland.Applications for JCCF grants are invited now and Development Grants of £750 are available to assist Young People developing their JCCF application. For further information please see the JCCF webpage
Posted Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Climate Challenge Fund is OPEN for applications, 2013 & 2014 deadlines confirmed.13 projects received over £2.1 million of funding in the 13th round of grants from the Scottish Government's Climate Challenge Fund Applications are invited for presentation to grant panels taking place in 2013 and 2014:
Grant Panel 15, 18th Sept 2013: Deadline for draft applications is 5th July 2013. Deadline for final application is 31st July 2013.
Grant Panel 16, 11 December 2013: Deadline for draft applications is 30 September 2013. Deadline for final application is 29 October 2013.
Grant Panel 17, 17 March 2014: Deadline for draft applications is 6 January 2014. Deadline for final application is 27 January 2014.
Groups interested in applying can learn more on our CCF website about funding available, information and criteria and are encouraged to see our how to applywebpage.
Posted Wednesday, May 08, 2013
The first phase of the consultation on the future of the Scotland Rural Development Programme (SRDP) is now underway. The SRDP delivers funding to a wide range of rural projects from village halls to farm diversifications. A series of 14 SRDP roadshows also began this week in Portree. Events are taking place next week in Perth (7th May), Inverness (8th May) and Kirkwall (9th May). You can find out more, and get links to the consultation documents and full list of events, in Consultation on future Scotland Rural Development Programme launches.
Posted Wednesday, May 08, 2013
Check out the shortlist for the Scottish Charity Awards 2013, announced today. The shortlist includes major national organisations, community groups, partnership projects and individuals who have channelled their energies into making Scotland a better place to live including a few environmental organisations!
In total 24 organisations have been shortlisted across five categories:
Charity of the Year
Campaign of the Year
Partnership of the Year
Cast your vote at www.scvo.org.uk/vote. Voting is open until 5pm on 20 May.
Posted Friday, May 03, 2013
Posted Wednesday, May 01, 2013
Scotland’s first purpose built cycling track for people with physical and learning disabilities is set to open outside Inverness this spring.
The new cycle track – to be known as the Highland Cycle Ability Centre - will be a first for the Highlands and Scotland, and will help to raise the profile of disabled sports, building on the legacy of the 2012 Paralympics. Although primarily built for training the next generation of spe-cial- and Para-lympians, the new 1 km track, which will offer time trial technology, will also be available for use by disabled and able-bodied cycling clubs, local schools and community groups. The centre will offer a variety of specialist bicycle models to meet the different needs of its users, including tricycles for added stability, arm-powered handcycles, tandems for visually impaired cyclists, and detachable tandems for wheelchair users. Training workshops on cycle maintenance will also be provided. In time, the aim is to create a multi-purpose facility, with BMX and running tracks.
Joanna McGregor said: “The Highland Cycle Ability Centre is the first of its kind in Scotland, and will play an important role in supporting young people with disabilities. There are few dedi-cated sporting facilities for young disabled people in Scotland, particularly in rural areas, and so we are delighted to be opening the first centre of its kind in the Highlands.
“The centre will offer young disabled people opportunities to experience all aspects of cycling, from off-road riding in a safe, yet challenging environment to training workshops on cycle maintenance. Ultimately, the aim will be to enhance their skills and confidence, while at the same time providing a facility that encourages physical activity and helps raise the profile of disabled sports.”
She added: “This is very much a community facility, and we will be encouraging local schools, community groups and cycling clubs to use the centre. Our aim is to provide a sporting facility where the emphasis is on ability, rather than disability.”
Charlie Forbes, Disability Sport Development Officer for High Life Highland, said: “This new centre will open new horizons for disabled cyclists to train on a specifically designed cycle track which offers timing systems, which is important for driving performance, and in an area that pro-vides a safe and secure environment. A purpose built area that allows disabled cyclists to train has been much sought after for many years. The opening of this new centre provides a great op-portunity for disabled users across the Highlands and Scotland.”
This £250,000 project has been spearheaded by the Watermill Foundation, a new trust focused on providing sporting facilities for young people with physical disabilities and learning difficulties, with support from a variety of donors, including Sport Scotland, the Highland LEADER Project, the Robertson Trust and Sport-ed.
The Foundation is based near Cawdor and works in partnership with Watermill Enterprises, a social enterprise company providing training opportunities for young disabled adults through hor-ticulture. Both organisations aim to break down the social barriers facing young disabled people through sport, training and employment: currently only 39% of adults with a life limiting disability take part in any sport or physical education.
The Watermill Foundation consists of an experienced team of volunteers committed to improving learning and sporting opportunities for disabled young people across the Highlands. Joanna McGregor, chair of The Watermill Foundation, has worked with disabled people for 40 years. She and husband Alastair were co-founders of Nairn Hydrotherapy Pool and Cantraybridge Rural Skills College, as well as Watermill Enterprises. Other members of the trust have experience in education, sport and skills development.
Watermill Foundation, The Old Mill, Cantray, Cawdor, Nairn, IV12 5XT (01667 493312)
Posted Friday, April 26, 2013
Have you got a patch of unloved overgrown land in your local area? Want to transform it into a haven for bees, butterflies and your local community?
The Co-operative are giving seven areas across the UK the chance to win a facelift and be planted with pollinator-friendly flowers, to attract bees, butterflies and other pollinators.*
So if you’re a school, community centre, friends of a local park, or any other form of community interest group who have a patch of land that is used by the local community and needs some help, why not nominate today!
Posted Wednesday, March 20, 2013
From April 15th to the October 2013, Stagecoach buses on the long route from Inverness to Cromarty (the 26A) will have the capacity to carry up to 4 bicycles. This has been made possible by a partnership between Stagecoach, The Highland Council, HiTrans and the Million Miles project. The route was chosen as it passes through several commuter villages, which are also tourism destinations and the Black Isle has a variety of family/leisure cycle options in addition to the fact that the route passes the Red Rock Mountain biking centre at Learnie.
· It will be the responsibility of cyclists to load their bicycles onto the carrier on the rear of the vehicle;
· Spaces can be booked in advance provided at least 3 hours’ notice is given and bookings are available up to 16:00 each day;
· To book call: 01463 258934 or email: email@example.com
· Don’t forget that cyclists in Highland can take their folding bikes on all Stagecoach services!
Posted Wednesday, March 20, 2013
The Walk at Work Step Count Challenge is back. Now's the chance to step into spring and get more active! Over 8 weeks teams of 5 record their daily step counts using pedometers. The emphasis of the challenge is on setting personal goals and getting more active. We'll give you tips and ideas on how to create a virtual journey by counting your steps and converting them into miles. There will also be some fantastic prize draws and challenges to keep you going.
This year's challenge begins on Monday 15th April and runs until Sunday 9th June. To register your workplace you need to:
Download a Coordinator Information Pack
Recruit your teams and complete the online Registration Form
Distribute the Team Information Pack and pedometers to staff
Complete a short online survey
Don't forget to follow the challenge on our blog. We'll keep this updated with the latest news, your stories and competitions.
Please note: Registration forms should be returned by Friday 29th March. Spaces and pedometers will be allocated on a first come first served basis. There is a registration fee of £5 per head. This charge contributes to the running costs of the challenge which includes the pedometers and challenge administration. There is a maximum of 10 teams per organisation.
To find out more visit www.pathsforall.org.uk/stepcount
Posted Tuesday, February 19, 2013
The Earth Connections Sustainability Centre, on the Isle of Eigg, offers residential eco-courses and holidays, that will give you the chance to live more sustainably and reconnect with the natural world.
Courses include: Intro to Sustainability, Low Energy Living, Renewable Energy, Beekeeping for Beginners, Fun with Nature and much more…We have lots of other activities on offer too - such as wild camping, yoga classes, sailing trips, and cycling - to make your stay here an unforgettable and fun experience!
For more details contact us at:
tel: 01687 482495
Posted Monday, February 04, 2013
Would you benefit from visiting an innovative community building that is working towards similar goals to your own project, initiative or enterprise? Are you interested in learning about the KeyStone quality award for community buildings? We're excited to announce details of our Village Halls and Community Buildings themed project visit to Boat of Garten Community Hall. This free event will take place on 7th March, with overnight accommodation and a networking dinner the evening before. Places are limited, so if you'd like to attend please register your interest by 22nd February. Find out more in Village Halls and Community Buildings Project Visit announced - apply now!
Posted Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Green Routes to Feeling Good - Health links with the environment
Highland Environmental Network Conference & Showcase Event
Saturday 2nd March 2013
Millburn Academy, Diriebught Road, Inverness
Green Routes to Feeling Good Conference 10 – 4pm
Join our inspiring and informative day with a wide range of speakers and workshop sessions led by health and environmental experts. This event is aimed at anyone that works or is interested in healthcare or the environment.
Green Routes to Feeling Good Public Showcase 2 – 4pm
A free fun event aimed at all age groups with a wide range of taster sessions and demonstrations to take part in.
Do you want to start growing or cooking your own food?
Are you interested in becoming more active or enjoying the outdoors?
Would you like to start walking more or getting your bike back on the road?
Come and have a go and find out what’s on offer in your area.
Posted Tuesday, January 22, 2013
At 8.30pm on 23 March, hundreds of millions of people will turn off their lights for one hour, across the globe in a symbolic show of support for action on climate change and for a more sustainable future.
Highland Council will again be supporting the event by switching off floodlights at local landmarks including: Inverness Castle, Cathedral and Ness bridge floodlights in addition to Urquhart Castle, Eilean Donan Castle, Ruthven Barracks and Spey Bridge in Grantown.
We would encourage any Highland people and organisations who do not already do so to take part. The Earth Hour website and the attached document offers a Toolkit highlighting details, ideas and case studies of action and below are contact details for Kirstie Shirra the Earth Hour Coordinator for Scotland.
This year’s Earth Hour is celebrating the power of nature – the way renewable energy can help move us away from fossil fuels and reduce global carbon emissions. This is especially important in Highland with our wealth of wind, tide and waves.
We intend highlighting our carbon reduction achievements within our Earth Hour publicity. The Highland Council has reduced carbon emissions from its services and operations from energy and fuel use by 13% since 2007/08, ahead of the 12% reduction target set in the Carbon Management Plan. This has been achieved through reduced energy use in the Council’s estate, fewer business miles travelled, fleet fuel savings and a reduction in waste disposal. New actions are being developed to continue to reduce carbon emissions that will meet the Scottish Governments target of 42% overall saving by 2020 as set out in the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009. More information is available at: www.highland.gov.uk/climatechange
Posted Friday, January 18, 2013
Applications for Climate Challenge Fund (CCF) grants are invited for consideration by the CCF Grants Panel in June and September 2013. Funding of £10.3 million a year is available until March 2015.
CCF grants have provided funds and support for Scottish community groups to work with their community to:
· Provide energy efficient refurbishments of community buildings and energy efficiency advice
· Provide household energy efficiency surveys and advice to cut fuel bills
· Create growing space so the community can grow their own food
· Implement lower carbon transport projects, so the community can move away from their cars
These projects have reduced carbon footprint, helping to tackle climate change and led to community improvements while creating employment and training opportunities.
Posted Monday, January 14, 2013
Santander are delighted to announce the launch of the Community Plus grant
fund worth £1.23 million. Designed to be quick and easy to use, nominations
can be made by charities as well as Santander customers and staff. Just
visit any Santander branch and complete a simple nomination form. The
completed form should be dropped into the box provided in your local branch.
There are no closing dates and entries will be regularly considered by a
panel of staff drawn from across the region. Successful charities will be
notified within 2 months of submitting their nomination.
The grant needs to fund something specific e.g. a piece of equipment or to
pay for the costs of a part time sessional worker, and it must also directly
help disadvantaged people in your local area. You must be a UK registered
charity. Find out more at
Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013
EverythingBaby is an exciting new project which aims to provide pre-loved baby goods and parenting support to Highland families. This social enterprise will host parenting workshops, create volunteering opportunities and open a dedicated shop where local families can purchase high quality and affordable pre-loved baby goods. EverythingBaby will be a registered charity and company limited by guarantee and is looking for 3 trustees. In particular, members of the public with specific expertise in retail or charity shop management, accounting, volunteering or early years support are being sought.
If you are interested in this opportunity then please reply by 25th January, stating your interest to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like further information , you can call Katy on 07788 829996.
Posted Thursday, January 10, 2013
Paths for All has just launched a new Local People Local Paths small grant of up to £1,500 which constituted path groups, Community Councils, Development Trusts, community woodlands and health walking projects can apply for to improve and develop local paths. There's more info, including guidance and application forms, on our website at:http://www.pathsforall.org.uk/
If you have any queries about the grant, or would like to be added to our contact list to receive further info about our community paths support, please contact our Local Paths Development Officer, Fiona McInally, on fiona.mcinally@pathsforall.
Posted Tuesday, January 08, 2013
Smarter driving advice from the Energy Saving Trust can help buy Scottish motorists a free lunch.
The Free Lunch app can show how much you’d save by inflating your car’s tyres, switching off your air conditioning or following a host of other top tips. That’s money which you could use to buy your lunch every day!
What’s more, users of the app can not only learn a whole range of useful driving tips but also have the chance to win £500 worth of supermarket vouchers.
To try the app, visit on.fb.me/Reo80Y. For more information on smarter driving, call the Energy Saving Trust’s Advice Line on 0845 512 012 or visit the website at www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/scotland/Travel..
Posted Sunday, December 02, 2012
Posted Sunday, December 02, 2012
Posted Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Land Reform Review Group calls for evidence
Do you have interest in land reform in Scotland? The Land Reform Review Group (LRRG) want to hear from individuals and organisations to help inform their work. The group issued a call for evidence this week, with a closing date for submissions in January 2013.
A new website has also been launched where you can find information, documents and updates on the Land Reform Review.
The LRRG was set up by the Scottish Government earlier this year, although the work of the group will be carried out independently from government. The group is chaired by Dr Alison Elliot, with Dr Sarah Skerratt and Professor Jim Hunter as vice-chairs.
The LRRG have a wide remit and want to hear from those with an interest, or involvement in, a range of sectors from farming to forestry, from social and affordable housing to economic and community development. And the LRRG's report and recommendations will have an impact not only on the countryside, but also on towns and cities.
The closing date for submissions is 11th January 2013. You can find out more, and get links to the Call for Evidence and the group's Work Plan in Land Reform Review Group call for evidence. We have also set up a page in our news section where you can find information and updates on the Land Reform Review.
Posted Monday, November 12, 2012
The Scottish Land Fund will support rural communities to become more resilient and sustainable through the ownership and management of land and land assets. It will provide practical support and funding to enable local people to work together to develop their ideas and aspirations and plan and complete viable land and land assets acquisition projects.
Posted Monday, November 12, 2012
ASH TREE DISEASE RAPID SURVEY
Posted Tuesday, November 06, 2012
Posted Tuesday, November 06, 2012
Posted Tuesday, November 06, 2012
The date for Grant Panel 13 has been confirmed as 20th February 2013.
The deadline for draft applications is 2nd December 2012 and the deadline for final applications is 20thDecember 2012. For further information on the application process please see http://ccf.
Posted Sunday, October 07, 2012
Posted Monday, October 01, 2012
People's Postcode Trust - Dream Fund
The People's Postcode Trust Dream Fund offers funding for projects which: encourage active living; bring communities together; tackle climate change or expand life opportunities. Projects must be a maximum of 12 months duration. The closing date for applications is 31 October 2012.
For further details please see http://www.postcodetrust.org.uk
Posted Monday, October 01, 2012
CSV Local Nature Reserve Awards are available exclusively for volunteer-led projects which take place on Local Nature Reserves (LNRs) Projects must encourage volunteer involvement and bring new volunteers onto the reserve, involving people in recording and learning about wildlife, raising the local profile of the site and protecting and enhancing biodiversity. The closing date for applications is 30 November 2012.
For more details please see http://www.actionearth.org.uk/apply
Posted Monday, September 24, 2012
PRINCE'S COUNTRYSIDE FUND NEW APPLICATION ROUND OPENS SOON
Posted Friday, September 14, 2012
Grid connection, EU policy for islands and the use of marine algae as a fuel source are just some of the issues and developments that will be addressed by a major energy conference taking place on Mull later this month.
The Scottish Islands Federation's event 'Resilience and Innovation: The Islands Challenge' will take place at Craignure Hall on Friday 21st September. The speakers include those from islands around Europe and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning Michael Russell. Community Energy Scotland will be running two workshops and the panel discussion will be charied by Alyn Smith MEP.
Chair of SIF, Sandy Brunton, said “This important conference will follow on from the annual meeting of the European Small Islands Network, which we are hosting on Mull the previous day. Delegates will also be able to learn how islanders from Ireland, Denmark, Sweden and Finland take advantage of the natural resources available to them. The conference comes at a crucial time when island resilience comes under increasing pressure with power supply companies planning to increase their prices by nearly 10% very soon."
The conference has been timed to coordinate with ferry times so that day delegates can catch the 07.45 ferry from Oban and return on the 17.00 from Craignure. Islanders wishing to attend must register at www.scottish-islands-federation.co.uk, where you can also find further information, or email Camille at email@example.com as spaces are limited.
There is no charge for attending the day, due to assistance from Argyll and the Islands LEADER and there are limited bursaries to help with travel costs for those coming from distant islands.
The Scottish Islands Federation was set up in 2008 to assist island organisations and individuals to express their unique points of views, share their stories and make better representations at local, regional, national and European level, on all issues affecting the sustainability of the Scottish islands.
Posted Monday, September 10, 2012
The Scottish Government’s online rural community support database will be launched shortly. Its purpose is to act as a directory of all the organisations in Scotland that provide information and support to rural community groups about funding and project development. It will allow the user to search for organisations operating locally, in their local authority area, or at a regional or national level. It will provide contact information, a website link and a brief summary of the organisation's purpose and scope. Users will access information through a clickable map user interface and will be able to export and print simple reports.
The interface for the database will be hosted on the Rural Network website, and SCVO’s Rural Team will have responsibility for maintaining and updating the information.
Posted Friday, August 17, 2012
Does anyone use a tool bank to share or borrow garden tools they need?
A query came in this week about setting up a garden tool bank. We'd like to
call on the experience and wisdom of the Trellis network and ask if anyone
has experience of using a tool bank or library to borrow garden tools or
knows of any in operation?
How does it work? Where is it based ?
Or perhaps you'd like to use one? What kind of things would you want to
Please let us know, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted Monday, August 13, 2012
Community group South Seeds secures Scottish Government Climate Challenge Funding of £278k for practical programme of energy efficiency and greenspace reclamation. The Scottish Government today announced that the South Glasgow charity South Seeds, has received £228,000 to fund a two year programme of local community action to deliver energy efficiency and local food growing projects in the South Glasgow area. Today, Stewart Stevenson Minister for Environment and Climate Change announced that South Seeds is one of 21 groups across Scotland sharing £2.9 million through the Climate Challenge Fund (CCF). Reuben Chesters, Chair of South Seeds said “We’re delighted that our bid to the Scottish Government’s Climate Challenge Fund has been successful. We’ll be using the funding to help people in South Glasgow improve their environment through energy efficiency and improving local greenspaces for local food growing.”
The South Seeds project is based on practical action, and is focused on working with residents to improve tenements. The Climate Challenge Fund helps communities across Scotland to reduce their carbon footprint, supporting a low carbon lifestyle, and contributing to Scotland reaching its ambitious climate change target of reducing carbon emissions by 80 per cent by 2050. The successful South Glasgow project - South Seeds Energy Catalyst - will see volunteers and staff recruited to deliver practical advice and support to improve energy efficiency in properties in the South Glasgow. South Seeds will encourage tenements to tackle energy efficiency by setting up “Close Troops” in which people work together to cut energy bills in their local close, and work alongside the local community to work together to refurbish and manage green spaces for local food growing.
Reuben Chesters added: “a lot of energy schemes are targeted at houses, but an important part of our work will be helping tenement residents cut their bills. We’ll be doing this by recruiting a
volunteer army of ‘Tenement Champions’ who can help us take action to cut energy use and improve the standard of living for tenement residents in south Glasgow.”
South Seeds will spend the next two years working with local community groups, helping people to cut their energy bills by installing energy efficiency measures and thinking about how they use energy in the home. Over two years South Seeds expects to help the local community save 7,439 tonnes of CO2 which would be enough to fill Hampden Park over three times.
Posted Monday, August 13, 2012
Fancy up to £50,000 to make your transport budget go miles further? In this current economic climate every penny counts and with help from Energy Saving Scotland advice centre experts businesses could be on the road to major savings. The impartial specialists can help any organisation save money, and of course cut carbon, by becoming more efficient with transport and travel arrangements.
Using a FREE sustainable transport review many businesses have already benefitted from an average annual saving of over £7,200 and 12 tonnes of CO2. Working with the organisation, an expert transport advisor will audit the current transport and travel activity before recommending how to save money and carbon, issuing a full report for the company to implement.
There are also interest-free loans up to £50,000 available (funded by Transport Scotland) with payback terms of up to six years. These can be used to buy items which will reduce transport costs such as electric and plugged-in hybrid vehicles, video and teleconference facilities, cycle and shower facilities, fleet management software and vehicle efficiency devices.
With many ways to save what are you waiting for? Contact your local Energy Saving Scotland advice centre now on 0800 51 2012 or visit: http://bit.ly/NpVGk9
Posted Thursday, August 09, 2012
This is for those who live in Lochaber Susan Carstairs is looking for information from householders on their fuel, electricity and transport in order to complete a scoping study for an assessment of greenhouse gas emissions from the Lochaber area. This is being done initially for a postgraduate course but hopefully could form a first step for a full greenhouse gas assessment for the area in the future and other carbon projects.
Please contact Susan directly for a copy of the questionnaire: email@example.com
Posted Thursday, August 09, 2012
Are you based in Scotland and have an idea for a project related to farming or brewing? If so, then the Caledonia Best Seed Fund could be for you!
Caledonia Best beer launched in October 2011 with a pledge to commit five pence in every pint sold in the first six months to support brewing and farming in Scotland. This year's fund sits at £58,000 and is open for applications until 7th September 2012.
The Seed Fund will support successful applications with a seed fund grant to support projects that would otherwise have difficulty securing funding at the early stages of their development. The fund is open to individuals and groups and grants will be allocated on merit.
As well as the seed funding grant, successful applications will benefit from mentorship from Tennent Caledonian, one of Scotland's most successful and historic brewers.
Decisions will be made by the Seed Fund advisory board which includes representatives from Tennent Caledonian, the National Union of Farmers Scotland, the International Centre for Brewing and Distilling Heriot-Watt and Simpsons Malts.
You can find out more, and get an application form, on the Caledonia Best website http://www.caledoniabest.com. Applications should then be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted Monday, August 06, 2012
People queued up to take the HEN water taste challenge at the HEN marquee. Bottled water is not a green option and visitors to the HEN marquee were offered 4 different water samples to taste. The samples included local tap water, 2 well known bottled brands and a supermarket brand. Over 300 people took part in the challenge and less than 1/3 could tell the difference between tap and bottled water! Only 5 people actually managed to get all 4 samples correct!
People were really interested in the experiment and were even coming back the next day to find out the results. If you were one of the people that took part in the water taste challenge - A was tap on Friday and C was tap on Saturday.
So the HEN message is be water wise - drink tap and use a reusable bottle!
Posted Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Highland Environmental Network (HEN) is preparing to launch its new water efficiency campaign “Every Drop Counts” at Belladrum Music Festival. The aim of the campaign is to make people in the Highlands - water wise. Water is a precious resource that we need to conserve, the average person in Scotland uses 150 litres which is just not sustainable. The Every Drop Counts campaign will provide festival goers with lots of hints and tips to make them more water wise, there will also be information on Green Living by the Energy Saving Scotland Advice Centre.
Carol Masheter, HEN Development Officer said “The aim of the campaign is to encourage people to take action in their own homes by: reducing showers by 1 minute, turning the tap off when brushing your teeth or reducing the amount of times you flush the loo”.
As well as live music in the HEN Marquee there will be lots of fun activities for all the family to take part in including: tap v’s bottled water taste challenge, water wise quiz, children’s crafts and water play and prizes to win. There will also be a sculpture on display made out of water bottles; to represent 150 litres that we use per day and to demonstrate the amount of waste generated by bottled water. So if you are going to Belladrum come along to the HEN marquee and Free Range Folk stage in the walled garden were you will be able to enjoy 25 music acts playing traditional Scottish music to Celtic rock.
Music this year comes from a variety of Highland musicians as well as a small number from out with the Highlands with support from Somewhereto.com. For most musicians it will be there first time to off their talents at Belladrum.
Posted Monday, July 16, 2012
Scotland’s Biodiversity strategy is set for a refresh to ensure it meets with new international requirements.
Environment Minister Stewart Stevenson launched the consultation today during a visit to the Linn of Dee as part of his three day visit to the Cairngorms National Park.
Following the development of new biodiversity targets at UN and EU level the Scottish Government is committed to refreshing the 2004 Scottish Biodiversity strategy to ensure it meets the new challenges up to 2020.
The 2020 Challenge aims to:
Increase the general level of biodiversity on land and in our seas and support healthy, well-functioning ecosystems Engage people with the natural world, for the health and well-being benefits that this brings, and empower them to have a say in decisions about their environment Maximise the benefits for Scotland of a diverse natural environment and the services it provides, contributing to sustainable economic growth Mr. Stevenson said, "This consultation will set out how we will meet our international obligations to halt biodiversity loss and protect our vital ecosystem services by 2020. The pressures on the natural environment from habitat loss, nutrient enrichment and climate change need urgent action and projects such as this are a great example of managing our land to meet these challenges."
Jonny Hughes, Director of Conservation at Scottish Wildlife Trust, said, "The Scottish Wildlife Trust has been pleased with the way the Scottish Government has involved and consulted us early on in the development of the new 2020 Challenge for Scotland's Biodiversity. Scotland's natural environment is a massive cultural and economic asset which has been taken for granted for too long.
"This new initiative from the Scottish Government recognises that the plethora of hidden benefits which nature provides need to be better understood, valued and managed. These hidden benefits include the food we eat, clean water, flood protection, carbon storage, educational resources, recreation, health and well being and economic vitality."
Susan Davies, Director of Policy and Advice at SNH, said, "The Scottish Government and SNH have worked closely with many organisations to try and make sure the 2020 Challenge will secure a strong and healthy future for Scotland's nature. Healthy nature is incredibly important to us all - not just for air, water and food, but for business, welfare and economic recovery. We need nature to thrive - as much for us as for nature itself."
Posted Monday, July 16, 2012
Rural communities in Scotland can now apply for support to help buy their land, Environment Minister Stewart Stevenson announced today. The new £6 million Scottish Land Fund which will empower communities by helping them acquire land opened for applications on Monday 2nd July.
The Minister announced the opening date for the fund - which will be delivered by Big Lottery Scotland and Highlands and Islands Enterprise - during a visit to locally owned Crossgates Community Woodland.
Crossgates was the first community in Scotland to successfully purchase land through the community right to buy provisions in May 2005. It also achieved ownership of the "Taft", a 15 hectare wooded area, through funding from the first Scottish Land Fund which ran from 2001 to 2006.
Since the successful purchase, Crossgates Community Woodland has secured a number of significant achievements. These have included the planting of over 7,000 trees, the creation of a play park and the creation of around a mile of pathways and tracks.
Mr Stevenson said, "Crossgates Community Woodland is an excellent example of what can be achieved when a local community, with a clear idea of how best to develop land for the benefit of its community, is supported to buy land.
"And today is an historic day for community land ownership in Scotland - I'm delighted to announce that our Scottish Land Fund, which will empower rural communities to help them acquire land, is now open for applications. The Scottish Government fully supports community buy-outs and is committed to building strong and resilient communities throughout Scotland.
"Both Big Lottery Scotland and HIE will ensure the fund makes the best use of existing resources and expertise to maximise the land fund's potential. These are exciting times for Scotland and this fund will help more of our rural areas to take control of their own destinies and build the successful, flourishing communities of tomorrow."
Neil Ritch, Head of Corporate Management at Big Lottery Fund Scotland, said, "This is a really exciting opportunity to help more communities in rural Scotland own and develop their local land and land assets. We know from our experience delivering the original Scottish Land Fund with our partners at Highlands and Islands Enterprise that communities can achieve great things when they own and manage local land and land assets. I am delighted that we are working in partnership with HIE once more to deliver the new fund.
"The Scottish Government's new Scottish Land Fund will give communities the tools they need to take greater control of their own futures. We will combine our experience and expertise to give communities practical support in developing their ideas and aspirations and submitting strong applications for funding."
Welcoming the announcement of the formal launch of the new Scottish Land Fund, David Cameron, Chairman of Community Land Scotland, said, "Today communities can start the process of applying to take more control of their futures. With the knowledge the new Land Fund was coming, a number of communities have expressed interest in taking the bold step to community ownership and make a start to a better future.
"I believe that such will be the interest, it is likely the demand we always knew was there for a dedicated land fund will out-stretch the available resources. When that moment comes I hope the Scottish Government will respond positively and support building ever more momentum in achieving further land ownership change. Communities which have been liberated from the past ownership pattern have been making real advances, and more communities need a taste of that opportunity and success.
Potential applicants wishing to apply to the Scottish Land Fund or find out more information should contact BIG Lottery on 0300 123 7110 or email email@example.com.
Posted Thursday, July 05, 2012
If elements of your environmental projects are not eligible for CCF funding but still need resourcing, you may be able to benefit from an Action Earth grant, CARES loan or free insulation.
Action Earth - If you are planning an environmental activity using volunteers, or think you can come up with a good project that improves your local area, you could be eligible for a CSV Action Eart grant.
The CSV Action Earth campaign runs from May to November, supported by Scottish Natural Heritage. The 2012 campaign offers grants up to £500 to cover plants, materials, tools and expenses and can make a big difference to an event.
1. CSV Action Earth Awards are grants of £250 for projects who are providing or improving habitats for wildlife, enhancing local nature spots and getting communities volunteering together.
2. CSV Local Nature Reserve Awards of up to £500 are available exclusively for projects taking place on Local Nature Reserves (LNR).
If you wish to discuss project ideas or discuss any issues relating to the campaign, please contact Robert Henderson on 0131 222 9083 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
CARES - Communities and rural businesses all over Scotland can now apply to a £23.5 million government loan scheme to help them get community energy renewable projects up to the planning stage.
The Community and Renewable Energy Loan Scheme (CARES) is designed to support projects before they reach planning as this stage is considered too high risk for commercial loans. Communities and rural businesses all over Scotland have already benefited from the loans, which are designed to help small-scale projects which directly benefit their local area, and which would not proceed without the loan.
Individual projects can receive loans of up to £150,000 to cover 95% of agreed costs. Free local advice and support is also available.
Organisations wishing to apply for a loan should contact Community Energy Scotland at email@example.com.
Free insulation - The Scottish Government currently funds free home insulation in many areas of the country through the Energy Saving Scotland advice centre network, in partnership with Scottish Local Authorities. Householders in South East Scotland are among those getting free insulation to help stay warm and cut energy costs, along with many other local authority regions.
The scheme offers free loft insulation, including ‘top-up’ insulation, and cavity wall insulation to all properties in Edinburgh, Fife, the Lothians and the Scottish Borders. It's not means-tested in any way; the only condition is that the property must be suitable for the type of insulation available. This is determined by a free no-obligation survey by an installer. Households living in other areas can also access free or discounted loft insulation and cavity wall insulation by calling their local advice centre free on 0800 512 012.
To find out more please read http://www.changeworks.org.uk/householders/free-insulation-offers/637/.
Posted Wednesday, July 04, 2012
Evaluating your therapeutic gardening project is one of the key ways of providing evidence to funders and commissioning and referral bodies such as NHS, GP's and activity referral schemes.
Trellis is proposing to run a training day on this subject. Focusing on soft outcomes (e.g. outcomes from training, support or guidance interventions such as increased confidence or better time management which, unlike hard outcomes such as qualifications and jobs, are likely to describe an individual’s journey), pros & cons of various methods and practical exercises, the aim is to leave with an evaluation plan for your project.
This would take place in Autumn / Winter 2012 and the approximate cost will be £60 for the day. Please contact us if you are interested and if we have sufficient interest, we can go ahead. Contact Jenny at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone Trellis on 01738 624348
For general information and resources on evaluating your project see http://www.trellisscotland.org.uk/evaluation
Posted Wednesday, July 04, 2012
Thank you for helping to tackle the blight of litter in Scotland by promoting National Spring Clean 2012. Thanks to the support of a myriad of charities, businesses and organisations such as yourselves the campaign reached far and wide, engaging almost 120,000 Scots from Shetland to the Scottish Borders.
Around 1,100 tonnes of litter were removed from across Scotland in what we estimate is the largest mobilisation of the Scottish public since World War Two.
We’d love your support in promoting the campaign next year and will be working hard in the meantime through education and enforcement to help ensure that our beautiful country remains clean.
If you, or anyone else would like to take part in a Clean Up before next year’s campaign we can supply FREE clean up kits, these can be ordered from: www.keepscotlandtidy.org/cleanupkit.asp
Posted Saturday, June 30, 2012
Some of Scotland's top chefs are backing the Scottish Government's seasonal eating campaign and have dished up a series of recipes for an Eat in Season recipe finder.
Top chefs including Nick Nairn, Roy Brett, Albert Roux, Tom Kitchin, Graeme Pallister and Donald Munro are among those who have provided recipes for the recipe finder app which has been launched as part of the wider Eat in Season campaign.
During the launch at the Royal Highland Show last week, Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead was joined by Mr Nairn, Mr Brett and Mr Munro to demonstrate how tasty, quick and easy cooking with seasonal produce can be. The campaign aims to increase awareness about what food is in season and persuade people to eat more seasonal produce.
Speaking at the launch, Mr Lochhead said, "Fresh, in season food is tastier and can often be cheaper as well as healthier. In Scotland, we're blessed with a fine natural larder on our doorstep and eating seasonal food means we can enjoy it at its absolute best.
"It's great that so many of Scotland's top chefs are backing our campaign because as they've shown me here today, it's easy to whip up a tasty meal using seasonal produce in next to no time."
Celebrity chef and Michelin star winner, Nick Nairn, said, "We all know we should be eating in season, but most of us don't know what's in season when. We need a reliable source of information to find the best produce at the best time of year. People can use this free app to help plan what they should be eating."
The Eat in Season app will allow people to search through over 230 recipes that use seasonal ingredients and is also linked to the Love Food Hate Waste recipe tool to help use up leftovers.
Evaluation of last year's campaign showed:
98 percent of people were motivated to buy or eat in-season food
Morrisons saw a 42 percent increase in the sale of seasonal foods that were featured as ingredients on recipe cards distributed in-store
85 percent of those surveyed said the campaign helped motivate them to think about which foods they choose and when
82 percent agreed the campaign told them something new
This year's Eat in Season campaign will run until 3rd August and will feature press adverts alongside promotional marketing events at supermarkets across the country.
Posted Saturday, June 30, 2012
Environment Minister Stewart Stevenson today announced that the new Scottish Land Fund will open for applications on Monday 2nd July. The £6 million fund will empower communities by helping them acquire land, and will be delivered by Big Lottery Fund Scotland and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.
Mr Stevenson made the announcement during a visit to Crossgates Community Woodland. The community was the first in Scotland to successfully purchase land through the community right to buy provisions in May 2005. It also achieved ownership of the “Taft”, a 15 hectare wooded area, through funding from the first Scottish Land Fund which ran from 2001 to 2006.
Since the successful purchase, the community have secured significant achievements including the planting of over 7,000 trees, the creation of a play park and around a mile of pathways and tracks.
Mr Stevenson said, "Crossgates Community Woodland is an excellent example of what can be achieved when a local community, with a clear idea of how best to develop land for the benefit of its community, is supported to buy land.
"And today is an historic day for community land ownership in Scotland - I'm delighted to announce that our Scottish Land Fund, which will empower rural communities to help them acquire land, is now open for applications.
"The Scottish Government fully supports community buy-outs and is committed to building strong and resilient communities throughout Scotland.
"Both Big Lottery Fund Scotland and HIE will ensure the fund makes the best use of existing resources and expertise to maximise the land fund’s potential.
"These are exciting times for Scotland and this fund will help more of our rural areas to take control of their own destinies and build the successful, flourishing communities of tomorrow."
Neil Ritch, Head of Corporate Management, Big Lottery Fund Scotland, said, "This is a really exciting opportunity to help more communities in rural Scotland own and develop their local land and land assets. We know from our experience delivering the original Scottish Land Fund with our partners at Highlands and Islands Enterprise that communities can achieve great things when they own and manage local land and land assets. I am delighted that we are working in partnership with HIE once more to deliver the new fund.
"The Scottish Government’s new Scottish Land Fund will give communities the tools they need to take greater control of their own futures. We will combine our experience and expertise to give communities practical support in developing their ideas and aspirations and submitting strong applications for funding."
Sandra Holmes, Head of Community Assets at HIE, said, "HIE is delighted to be involved in the delivery of this next chapter in the history of community land and asset ownership in Scotland. Over the past 20 years we have seen the benefits that ownership of assets brings to our communities. Community buy-outs are no longer experimental projects but an effective and proven rural regeneration model.
"Around 500,000 acres of land are now in community ownership in Scotland – more than the John Muir Trust, the RSPB and the National Trust for Scotland combined. The new Scottish Land Fund will enable us to maintain the momentum and enable communities throughout Scotland to invest in a sustainable future."
The Scottish Land Fund will make available £6 million over the next three financial years – 2012/13 to 2014/15.
Potential applicants should call the enquiries line at BIG Lottery 0300 123 7110 or email email@example.com
Posted Monday, June 25, 2012
A Highland community charity has completed the final stages of fundraising as construction begins on a 10megawatt windfarm at Corrimony, between Glen Urquhart and Strathglass, near Inverness.
Soirbheas Ltd, a community charity representing the communities of Glen Urquhart and Strathglass, has partnered with Corrimony Energy, a local family-owned company, which is to build and manage the Corrimony windfarm. The windfarm is set to be operational early next year.
The charity has an economic interest equivalent to one of the five turbines on site, which will not only provide clean electricity but will also generate long term income for the local communities the charity serves. These communities will receive a fifth of the annual cash-flowgenerated by the windfarm. The income will be used to benefit the communities directly via investment into schemes that aim to, for example, reduce fuel poverty, support economic growth and community resilience, tackle environmental issues through green projects, and look after vulnerable members of the communities.
Debt funding for the construction of the windfarm has been provided by the Co-operative Bank and a £500,000 investment from Social Investment Scotland, via the Scottish Investment Fund. As a result of its involvement, it is hoped that Soirbheas will receive income of in excess of £1 million over the first ten years of operation, with the potential for at least as much again during the balance of the windfarm’s expected life.
The windfarm site is on Corrimony Farm at the head of Glen Urquhart and is far enough away from neighbouring properties to ensure minimal visual impact. Electricity will connect to the National Grid at Fasnakyle Power Station in Strathglass and will contribute to Scotland’s national targets for green energy.
Soirbheas was formed in 2009, specifically to take forward the Girvan Family’s proposal that the communities should have a meaningful interest in thewindfarm they proposed to develop. The board of directors are all local to the communities represented by Soirbheas and share a common vision of earning revenue from a renewable energy resource to ensure the wider community flourishes and the area becomesmore resilient and attractive as a place to live and work.
Tanya Castell, chair of Soirbheas, said: “That this project is so close to completion, with only construction of the windfarm to go, is a great testament to many people, not least the Girvan family for their inspiring community spirit but also to the volunteers who have helped Soirbheas and of course to the various bodies who have provided vital funds to allow us to reach this point, SIS foremost (along with the Big Lottery Fund, Community Energy Scotland and Highland Council).
“This project, which is set to earn our communitiesa valuable revenue stream over the next two decades, will allow us to make a positive impact on climate change by harnessing natural local resources and using them to directly benefit the whole community,deliveringsignificant opportunities for social and economic benefit.”
Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said: “I am delighted construction is about to begin on the Soirbheas community windfarm. The Scottish Government is determined to ensure communities all over Scotland reap the benefit from renewable energy.
“Scotland is leading the way across the UK in how we support local and community ownership of renewable energy. We have set a target of 500 MW of community and locally owned renewable energy projects by 2020, which could be worth up to £2.4 billion to Scottish communities and rural businesses over the lifetime of those projects.”
Alastair Davis, chief executive of Social Investment Scotland, said: “Soirbheas has had a strong vision for community resilience since it was formed in 2009.
“Its dedication to transforming the lives of the local community must be commended and the proceeds from this windfarm will be extremely important in both securing the future of the region whilst contributing towards the Government’s objectives for renewable energy. We look forward to working with Soirbheas in future and are delighted that we can play a part in helping to build the capacity of the local community.”
Posted Monday, June 25, 2012
2013 has been designated by Government as the Year of Natural Scotland. VisitScotland/EventScotland in close association with the Scottish Government, SNH and many other nature based bodies are developing a programme of events and features that will bring Scotland's natural heritage to the attention of visitors and the Scottish population in a coordinated manner in a way never seen before.
The objectives for the year, in summary, are to create economic benefit, enhance Scotland's reputation, increase awareness, inspire people and visitors to participate and increase joint working amongst busineses and organisations across Scotland.
A steering committee has been created to coordinate the development of the programme for the year and significant activity is already being developed by SNH, NTS, HS the two National Parks, Creative Scotland, FC, Wild Scotland and Scotland Food and Drink. That's fine but the organisers are keen to know about and feature as many nature based facilities, events and activities as possible. They don't need to be new or even specially happening for 2013, they just need to be of potential interest to visitors or local people.
Posted Friday, June 22, 2012
Aigas Community Forest (ACF) is seeking a self employed Development Worker to help bring about the community purchase or lease of Aigas Forest from Forestry Commission Scotland, through the National Forest Land Scheme.
The applicants should have experience of, and a track record of success in, securing grant and trust funding, project management, social enterprise, working with communities and the ability to manage financial projections/business plans. They should also have excellent communication skills and be able to represent the organisation externally to funders and other stakeholders. Knowledge of forestry and associated sectors is an advantage but not essential. Experience of community land purchase is also desirable but not essential.
This contract is for an eight-month period from August 2012 part time. For further information see the Jobs section or visit ‘Documents’ section on www.aigasforest.org.uk or contact Andrew Leaver, Secretary, Aigas Community Forest, North View, Aigas, Beauly, Inverness-shire, IV4 7AD or email firstname.lastname@example.org call 07796 225728 or 01463 782597
Posted Monday, June 11, 2012
Carbon Trust Scotland will be launching two Carbon Management programmes for SME’s in June with the choice of attending a launch workshop in either Glasgow (25th June) or Inverness (27th June).
Although it costs around £3,000 to take a company through the programme we are currently offering places to a limited number of businesses this year for £500.
Summary information from the first two programmes show the 20 businesses involved collectively identified potential annual cost savings of £1.2m.
In addition, being among the first SMEs in the UK to develop a Carbon Management Plan will bring significant ‘green marketing’ opportunities to these businesses, which include such leading names as: Wm Tracey Group, Soapworks, Hebridean Seaweed, Nairns Oatcakes, Harris Tweed Hebrides and Abhainn Dearg Distilleries.
Further information and flyer for the programme can be found at:
Posted Friday, June 08, 2012
Do you love cycling? Then this might be just the opportunity for you to share your passion!
Transition Black Isle can offer a 4 day Cycle Leader Training Course, insurance, support, resources and £8/£10 per hour in exchange for around 80 hrs work per year. We currently need Trainers in Muir of Ord, North Kessock and Fortrose. Once trained you will be required to organise and deliver events for kids and/or adults in your community such as group bike rides and bike maintenance sessions.
You would be part of the TBI Transport team helping to deliver the Million Miles Project to reduce car travel in your area and improve access to more sustainable transport options for all.
For more details and an application form contact:
Application deadline 14th June 2012
Posted Monday, May 28, 2012
Would you like to learn more about the PVG scheme and how it affects your organisation? Do staff members / volunteers require training to facilitate a verifier / signatory for the PVG Scheme?
Signpost have two courses available (please find attached details). These will be held in the training room at Signpost – 2nd Floor, Highland Rail House, Station Square, Inverness – on the 28th June 2012. The cost of the two courses together would be £25 (£20 to members), including buffet lunch. Attendance at either the morning or afternoon session only would cost £15 (£12 to members).
For bookings or further information contact email@example.com
Posted Monday, May 28, 2012
Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and the Buchan Countryside Group have joined forces to help community and other groups of all abilities enjoy Scotland's wonderful nature.
With outdoor activity recognised as being beneficial for mental and physical wellbeing, unfortunately the outdoors are not easily accessible for everyone. By offering 50 percent travel grants, SNH hope to offer support to those who aren't fully independant such as the elderly, those with disabilities or long-term illness. It is hoped that those taking advantage of the grants will gain the confidence to then go on and explore the outdoors on their own.
The grant scheme is open to groups operating in Moray, Aberdeenshire, Aberdeen and the Cairngorms National Park, with visits to places such as nature reserves, wildlife centres and country parks all elligible for the funding.
Further information and application details are available from the Buchan Countryside Group website http://www.outdoors4all.org.uk/ctg.html.
Posted Thursday, May 24, 2012
BIG LOTTERY FUND (BIG) PROGRAMMES
The Big Lottery Fund are holding an information event on 31st May 2012 at Town Hall, Inverness.
There will be two sessions: the first runs from 10am – 12.30pm and the second from 1.30pm – 4.00pm. Tea & Coffee will be available. To book a place or for further info call 0141 2421400.
• From £300 to £2k for grassroots sports projects
• Eligible organisations include community sports clubs, voluntary groups, schools and community councils
• Funding aims to encourage more people to take part or volunteer in sport or physical activity
More information:- http://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/prog_2014_communities
Awards for All
• From £500 to £10k for wide range of community, arts, sports, heritage, health, education and environmental projects
• For example, putting on an event, activity or performance; buying new equipment or materials; running training courses, conferences or seminars; setting up a pilot project; carrying out special repairs or conservation work; paying volunteer expenses, costs for sessional workers or professional fees; carrying out feasibility studies; transport costs
• Range of not-for-profit groups eligible to apply including community and voluntary groups and schools
More information: http://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/prog_a4a_scot
Coastal Communities Fund
• Grants programme run by Big Lottery Fund (BIG) on behalf of the UK government
• Deadline for the first round of applications is past but the fund will be available again in 2013 and 2014
• Designed to support the economic development of coastal communities by promoting sustainable economic growth and creating jobs that are sustainable in the longer term
• There is no restriction on communities in terms of population size
• Grants in excess of £50k
• Wide range of organisations eligible to apply including local authorities, voluntary and community groups, social enterprises, development agencies
• All applications must meet the outcome that coastal communities are better able to use their assets (physical, natural, social, economic and cultural) to promote sustainable economic growth and jobs;
• They must also meet at least one of the following outcomes:-
• Coastal Communities have greater capacity to create a sustainable economic future and are better equipped to adapt to change;
• Partnerships are developed to support economic innovation, enterprise and investment either within a community and/ or across a number of coastal communities;
• People have more opportunities for training and skills development, including volunteering.
More information: http://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/prog_coastal_communities_fund.htm?regioncode=-uk
Communities and Families Fund
• Grants programme funded jointly by the Scottish Government and BIG
• Grants of between £250 and £10k for projects that benefit children - or parents and families of children - who are aged 8 and under
• Eligible applicantsinclude voluntary and community groups, statutory bodies, community councils (ineligible organisations include schools, profit-making organisations, non departmental public bodies)
• Must meet at least one of following outcomes
• Improve the quality of life of children (pre-birth to 8) through greater access to early learning, play and child and maternal health support
• Enable communities shape and deliver support for families.
• Examples of the types of projects that could be supported include:- parenting support and development; community play; better nutrition for young children; community-based family support and childcare
More information: http://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/prog_communities_and_families_fund?tab=1&
Community Spaces Scotland
• Programme aims to bring communities together around a space or place that matters to them, for example, a park or community garden, an outdoor play area, an allotment, a village hall or a community centre.
• From £10k to £250k but anticipated average will be around £100k
• Mainly for capital works although revenue funding may be provided for projects that meet the outcomes of the programme, for example, for green gyms.
• Funding targeted to specific areas of Scotland – parts but not all areas of Highland
• Range of not-for-profit groups eligible to apply including community councils, voluntary groups and schools (local authorities are not eligible)
• Final application round opens on 14th June 2012
More information: http://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/prog_community_spaces_scotland
Growing Community Assets
• Aims to help communities have more control and influence over their own future through the ownership of physical assets such as land, buildings or equipment, but may also include other types of asset such as energy
• Projects must meet all four outcomes for the programme. These are that communities - work together; become more sustainable and improve their economic, environmental and social future; develop skills and knowledge; overcome disadvantage and inequality – through the ownership and development of local assets.
• £10k to £1m
• Range of not-for-profit groups eligible including social enterprises, voluntary and community groups. (local authorities - including schools - are not eligible)
More information: -http://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/prog_growing_community_assets
Heroes Return 2
• For World War II veterans who saw active service and are resident in the UK/ Republic of Ireland
• For commemorative visits (within the UK and overseas) to mark the anniversary of events that led to the end of WWII
• Fixed amount grants of between £150 and £5.5k depending on the number of people taking part and the destination
More information: http://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/prog_heroes_return
Investing in Ideas
• To develop ideas that have a clear public benefit and help to turn good ideas into well planned projects
• Grants of £500 to £10k
• For example, market research; feasibility studies; business planning; exchange visits in the UK to see how other projects work; community consultation; professional advice; technical reports; scheme design studies
• Eligible applicants include voluntary and community groups, social enterprises, charities, local authorities and health bodies, community councils
• Aims to support people at key times of change and help them make their lives better particularly projects that reach people most in need and those who are least likely to receive support
• Expects to fund a wide range of activities and services such as projects that offer supported employment; encourage mentoring, befriending and peer support; build financial literacy, financial capability and financial inclusion, or develop basic and softer skills such as communication skills
• Range of not-for-profit groups eligible including social enterprises, voluntary and community groups, local authorities
• £10k to £1m
More information: http://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/prog_life_transitions.htm?regioncode=-uk
Supporting 21st Century Life
• Aims to improve the quality of family life by helping families most in need to deal with the challenges of family life, intervening early to prevent poverty and disadvantage and give children a better chance in life.
• Expects to fund wide range of activities and services such as parenting and family support; tailored advice and support to help people access services; projects that encourage mentoring, befriending and peer support; activities, such as play, volunteering and outdoor experiences.
• Range of not-for-profit groups eligible including social enterprises, voluntary and community groups, local authorities
• £10k to £1m
More information: http://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/prog_supporting_21st_century_life?tab=1®ioncode=-uk
• Aims to contribute to rural revival by supporting inspiring community business ideas that bring communities together to tackle the challenges they face.
• Projects must be based in communities with a population of 3,000 people or less
• Grants from £10k to £50k (unable to contribute to projects costing more than £100k)
• Examples of the types of projects that funding might be available for includes village shops, community transport schemes, tearooms, woodland projects, broadband, energy schemes
• Eligible applicants include social enterprises, voluntary and community groups, community councils
• Final deadline date for applications 12th September 2012 but applications can be submitted and assessed before then.
More information: http://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/prog_village_sos?regioncode=-uk
• Grants programme run by BIG on behalf of government to distribute money from dormant bank and building society accounts
• Grants from £10k to £50k
• For voluntary organisations, community groups, social enterprises, housing associations, sports organisations, co-operatives and charities(schools and statutory bodies are not eligible to apply)
• For projects that create opportunities and help young people aged between 8 and 24 realise their potential.
• Projects must meet one or more of four outcomes and some examples of the type of projects can could be supported are provided below.
• Confident - young people have more confidence and skills e.g. using local artists in a creative arts’ project to improve confidence; providing peer support such as buddies and mentors
• Healthy - young people have better physical, mental and emotional health e.g. youth workers providing support to young people with mental health issues; getting young people involved in sport through the use of local sports facilities.
• Connected - younger and older generations are better connected and have more understanding and respect for each other e.g older people teaching young people about the history of their area or skills such as cooking and gardening; young people teaching older people how to use technology and try new activities such as using the internet, social networking and gaming.
• Enterprising - young people are better prepared for getting a job or starting a business e.g. work experience tasters with local employers; volunteering placements with local social enterprises.
• Open application process
More information: http://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/prog_young_start
Posted Thursday, May 24, 2012
Alness based charity and social enterprise, ILM Highland, is encouraging local businesses to clear their WEEE from the Highlands. Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment – known as WEEE, is one of the fastest growing waste streams in Europe. In the UK alone, we throw away around 2 million tonnes of WEEE every year; much of which ends up in landfill. The European WEEE Directive came into force in 2007, which made it illegal for businesses to dispose of their electrical waste into landfill.
ILM already deals with over 2,000 tonnes of domestic electrical waste each year from across the Highlands. Where possible, these items are refurbished and sold at very reasonable prices in ILM’s shop so that they may be reused. All profits made by ILM Highland are ploughed back into the organisation to provide vital services to often vulnerable and disadvantaged Highland residents. As a fully authorised treatment facility, ILM Highland has almost 10 years experience in the recycling and processing of electrical waste. ILM can provide local businesses with a professional, confidential and legitimate route to deal with all types of WEEE; whilst providing the necessary compliance certification and paperwork.
In addition to helping the environment and complying with the WEEE Directive which is law; local businesses will also be directly supporting local jobs and local enterprise in the Scottish Highlands. There are also positive benefits for the local businesses themselves, as clearing away their electrical waste may help businesses increase their revenue by expanding their operations through hiring more staff, or renting out office space previously clogged with old equipment; or by staff becoming more productive as the office is cleared bringing increased morale and better working environments.
Kenny Horsfield, the WEEE Manager for ILM Highland, says: “There really isn’t any need for businesses to hold onto their old waste electrical equipment. ILM can offer businesses a fast and easy solution, which takes away all the worry and stress about what to do with their computers for example that may contain sensitive data, etc. We are fully authorised to provide confidential data wiping or destruction services. We can also collect any WEEE directly from businesses, or they can drop their waste items off at our Designated Collection Facility in Alness…which ever is easiest. Dealing directly with ILM Highland cuts out the middleman which will save companies money”.
Businesses across the Highlands now have a secure, legal and simple solution to get rid of their electrical waste once and for all – helping not only their staff and their business, but also supporting local enterprise, local jobs and the wider environment of the Scottish Highlands and their communities.
Posted Monday, May 21, 2012
If you are planning an environmental activity using volunteers or think you can come up with a good project that improves your local area, then you could be eligible for a CSV Action Earth grant.
The CSV Action Earth campaign is running from May to November, supported by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH). The 2012 campaign offers grants up to £500 to cover plants, materials, tools and expenses and can make a big difference to an event.
CSV Action Earth Awards are grants of £250 for projects who are providing or improving habitats for wildlife, enhancing local nature spots and getting communities volunteering together
CSV Local Nature Reserve Awards of up to £500 are available exclusively for projects taking place on Local Nature Reserves (LNR)
Last year, CSV Action Earth volunteers were involved in tasks such as improving woodlands by planting and clearing, turning derelict wasteland into bee-friendly wildflower meadows, creating ponds and footpaths, building bird and bat boxes, tagging sharks and a whole range of other environmental activities.
We are keen to help projects and groups attract new volunteers to their work. Grants will be allocated on a first come first serve basis, so please register quickly. Projects can apply now. You can apply online, download forms or get more information at http://actionearth.csv.org.uk
If you wish to discuss project ideas or discuss any issues relating to the campaign, please contact Robert Henderson on 0131 222 9083 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Get involved and help make a difference to your local environment!
Posted Friday, May 18, 2012
THE Cairngorms National Park is to host a groundbreaking gathering of players in one of the north’s fastest growing green industries.
The second meeting of the fledgeling Highlands and Islands Woodfuel Group takes place in the Duke of Gordon Hotel in Kingussie on Thursday 31 May.
At an inaugural gathering in February, more than 50 woodland managers, forestry contractors, researchers, stove and boiler installers and suppliers of pellets, woodchips and logs gave a resounding thumbs up to proposals for a new regional forum to represent the sector.
Now stakeholders are being invited to come and formally establish the new group.
“Woodfuel offers great scope for people to have a bigger stake in their own local energy supplies,” said event organiser Amanda Calvert of woodland charity Highland Birchwoods.
“We’re keen for all those involved in this dynamic and exciting sector to get involved in shaping productive and co-operative ways of working together. This will help ensure the industry thrives and grows, bringing jobs to the area and boosting the local economy.
“Among the topics on the agenda for the day are business development and financing installations and there will be an opportunity to see a working commercial woodfuel boiler in action at the venue, the Duke of Gordon Hotel.”
The meeting is being funded by the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) which has played a pioneering role in supporting and developing the woodfuel industry in the Park. Land management officer Penny Lawson said: “The Cairngoms National Park Authority is delighted to support the blossoming Highlands and Islands Woodfuel Group by hosting its second meeting at Kingussie within the bounds of the National Park.
“We hope the event will appeal to the many local woodfuel producers, users and others involved in the industry, as well as those from the wider Highlands. The meeting offers a valuable learning and networking opportunity on our door step, one not to be missed.’
Ian Ross, chair of the CNPA’s woodfuel steering group added: “There is a significant wood fuel resource within the National Park Area and this can make a major contribution to fuel choice and cost for homes and businesses both within and out with the Park.
“It also allows woodlands to brought back into management which is sympathetic to the nature conservation and biodiversity commitments of the National Park. Wood fuel can be an increasingly important contributor to the sustainable rural economy of this important part of Scotland.”
For further information or to get involved in the group contact Amanda Calvert email@example.com phone: 01463811606
Posted Thursday, May 17, 2012
The National Trust for Scotland has set up a NEW Highland Conservation Volunteer Group based in Inverness. If you’re 18 or over, reasonably fit, and enjoy the outdoors then we'd love to hear from you!
Becoming a Conservation Volunteer (CV) would give you the opportunity to:
Learn new skills such as drystane dyking, footpath construction and woodland management;
Work in the stunning countryside and beautiful gardens throughout the Highlands;
Meet new people, enjoy some fresh air and exercise, and become actively involved in conservation and the Trust;
Attend training courses and lectures to enhance your understanding of countryside skills and conservation issues.
The Group will have its base in Inverness, but if you live near to one of our Highland Properties you're still very welcome to join in when the Group attends a weekend project near you. You'd simply have to make your own way to the property.
For further information and to download a copy of our events programme, visit www.nts.org.uk/Volunteering/Outdoor or contact Julie Bond, Conservation Volunteer Co-ordinator by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 0844 493 2589 (Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays).
We look forward to welcoming you to the Group!
Posted Friday, May 11, 2012
THE potential for planting and managing farm woods for domestic and commercial fuel is to be explored at a free event in Dingwall next week.
Until the 20th century, home grown firewood was the most common source of fuel used by farmers for heating and cooking. As oil ushered in a new era of convenience, the use of wood declined, and on many farms trees were removed, or left unmanaged.
Now soaring prices of high carbon fuels such as coal and kerosene and huge advances in wood burning technology are causing a steep rise in demand for woodfuel. Sales of wood burning stoves have rocketed and firewood merchants across the country are struggling to keep up with the explosion in demand for logs to fuel them.
As the drive to cut carbon emissions gathers pace and oil prices rise, biomass boilers are rapidly gaining recognition as a practical, efficient way of heating homes and businesses.
Dan Gates, from the wood heating specialists Uaine Limited, will be the keynote speaker at the free seminar at Dingwall Auction Mart from 6 - 9pm on Thursday 17 May. The event has been organised by Black Isle charity Highland Birchwoods as part of Use Greenheat, an EU funded project promoting renewable energy.
Mr Gates draws on extensive work with the biomass and agricultural sector in asserting that the time is ripe for bringing farm woods into management for fuel. “Two to three hectares of well managed woodland would be enough for a medium to large farmhouse with a 25 - 50 kilowatt boiler to be entirely self sufficient in fuel,” he explained.
“With the new and rapidly expanding market for woodfuel, and uncertainty over the future affordability of fossil fuel heating, the economic case for farmers to diversify into growing trees for firewood, both for home use and to sell locally, is getting stronger all the time.”
Support is available to help finance forestry projects and biomass boilers, and to help with marketing woodfuel. The Scotland Rural Development Programme can fund boilers and specialist processing equipment, and encourages the creation of new woodlands with grants that will contribute to the cost of their establishment. Automated log, chip and pellet boilers are eligible for payments under the UK Government’s Renewable Heat Inventive(RHI), a cash back scheme for heat similar to the feed in tariff for solar or wind.
According to Mr Gates, keeping supply chains short and sticking to local markets when diversifying into woodfuel makes both economic and environmental sense.
“If you add the cost of haulage to processing costs, it is hard to make the figures add up. However, producing fuel for domestic use can dramatically cut energy bills, and supplying local householders and businesses can be a profitable sideline. Overheads can be reduced by collaborating with other woodfuel producers and through sharing equipment and setting up local machinery rings. These so called farmer or forest cooperatives are very common in Scandinavia and Highland Birchwoods has done work on business cases in the Scottish context.”
Questions have been raised as to how ‘environmentally friendly’ woodfuel really is.
“Essentially, a tree absorbs the same amount of carbon dioxide when it is growing as is released when it is burned,” Mr Gates explained. “The emissions in the process come from the fuel used for processing and diesel used for transporting logs or woodchips.
“Burning fossil fuels like coal and oil releases carbon stored underground millions of years ago. Greenhouse gases are released through the refining, transportation and burning of oil, coal and gas. The emissions from biomass are well under 10% of those from fossil fuel.”
Mr Gates is keen to stress the strategic opportunities for farmers to work partnership within the energy sector. “This may be forming a joint venture with a boiler supplier to heat say a local school or town swimming pool,” he said. “Alternatively larger forestry contracting companies will take an option on the woodland.
“Perhaps the best example is Deeside Woodland Products (DWP) Harvesting in the North East. They share costs of production among 36 members and supply woodchips to local heat users on a ‘heat’ contract. This gives better value than selling to big users who typically are further away - it costs more in transport to deliver wood products to that market.”
A Forestry Commission Scotland spokesman said: "For farmers, developing their own woodfuel supply from under managed woodlands could be very beneficial. Trees can turn an unproductive area of land to a productive one. Developing their own woodfuel supply can be an opportunity for farmers to both to save money in fuel costs and to develop a new income stream from sales of woodfuel."
Contact Amanda Calvert at Highland Birchwoods on 08000 285858 email@example.com to find out more and reserve a place. Complimentary refreshments will be available on the night.
Posted Thursday, May 03, 2012
BTCV has been working for over 50 years to help local people reclaim green places. From May 1st, we will have a different way of introducing ourselves.
Right now, with cuts in public expenditure, and one third of the UK's natural assets in danger of being lost or degraded, our work is more important than ever.
We are delighted to have the involvement of 2,000 community groups in our Community Network. And to have hundreds of thousands of volunteers involved in our own environmental projects. But we think that all those people deserve better recognition and support for their vital work.
For a long time, people have had difficulty with our name. The full name "British Trust for Conservation Volunteers" is long winded and complicated. And the initials, "BTCV", are easily muddled up. We need to simplify the way in which we introduce ourselves, so that people can understand and remember who we are.
From May 1st, we will introduce ourselves simply as "The Conservation Volunteers". Please visit our new website at www.tcv.org.uk , where you can see a short film explaining why we have made the change, and a copy of Roots, our supporters magazine, which has some great news about the fantastic work being carried out by conservation volunteers all over the country.
People have always been at the heart of The Conservation Volunteers. It is the dedication and effort of volunteers and communities that helps to protect green places and make them special. It is the goodwill of landowners and partner organisations that helps to mobilise and focus volunteer effort. And it is the support of funders that has helped us to keep going for over half a century.
Thank you all for being part of the BTCV story over the last fifty years. And thank you for your continuing involvement with The Conservation Volunteers.
The changeover will be scheduled according to a national timetable. So locally, you may not see an immediate difference in terms of our minibus, or office signage. But we will let you know when those things are about to change.
Posted Monday, April 30, 2012
The Scottish Parliament Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee has today published a letter on reforms of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Concerns raised include the need for Scotland to get a fair share of CAP funds, and for the European Commission to be honest about the timetable for reform.
Following a comprehensive programme of evidence sessions, the Committee has outlined the following issues:
Scotland must get a fairer share of both direct support funds (pillar one) and rural development funds (pillar two) within the EU and UK. Scotland currently receives the lowest share of rural development (pillar two) funds across the whole of Europe
The Committee does not agree that the phasing out of direct payments to farmers is in the interests of Scottish Agriculture. The Committee considers that these payments provide a life line to Scottish farmers and crofters and should be continued
The timetable of the new CAP is scheduled for 2014 however the Committee is calling for urgent clarification on whether this is achievable and what the interim proposals would be
The Committee welcomes the inclusion of a ’Scottish clause’ to tackle the issue of ‘slipper farmers’, that is farmers receiving subsidy payments for land that is not farmed. However, it must reflect Scotland’s diverse land, taking into account farming which could include grazing of heather not just grass; and not exclude those such as crofters from accessing funding
The greening proposals need a significant amount of revision before they will be considered workable by the farming community
Committee Convener, Rob Gibson MSP said, “The Common Agricultural Policy affects thousands of Scottish farmers and crofters along with the communities they support, so it’s vital the Commission get this right. In our letter, the Committee has expressed concern over the proposed reform of this policy.
“Reform was meant to deliver a better deal for Scottish farmers. However, our Committee is clear that these proposals do not deliver progress or give Scotland its fair share of CAP funding. If we do not learn the lessons of the past we put at risk the future of Scottish farming.
“We are also calling on the Commission to urgently clarify its timetable for reform. It is clear that the farming community do not have faith that this can be delivered by 2014. The Commission needs to come clean and be honest with Scottish farmers on a realistic timetable."
Commenting on the report, Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said, "It’s critical that we get a fair deal for Scotland’s farmers in Europe and I welcome the support shown by the Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee in this report.
"When it comes to CAP reform, the devil is in the detail but it's reassuring that the committee's views largely reflect our position.
"As the committee acknowledges, Scotland currently receives the lowest level of Single Farm Payment and rural development funding in the UK and amongst the lowest in Europe. This must be addressed in the current reform process and this is a priority for the Scottish Government.
"This week I’ve attended the European Council working to get the best possible deal for Scotland and made clear that we oppose the UK Government’s unhelpful desire to see a substantial cut to the Direct Payments which are a lifeline for so many Scottish farmers.
"If the redistribution of CAP direct payments proposed for 2014 onwards applied to Scotland as a member state, our farmers could receive between £100 million and £200 million more each year – valuable support that would help them continue to manage our landscape and produce the fine raw ingredients that are the backbone of our food and drink industry.
"I also agree with the committee that we need to be realistic about the timescale for reform and – crucially – ensure that workable interim support measures are put in place."
You can find out more on the Scottish Parliament website http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/newsandmediacentre/50050.aspx
Posted Monday, April 30, 2012
This May, people in Highland will get an opportunity to take part in a Festival with a difference. The Highland Soil Biodiversity Festival comprises nine days of illustrated talks, field visits and guided walks to raise awareness of the importance of our soils for nature and wildlife.
Janet Bromham, Biodiversity Officer with Highland Council is co-ordinating the Festival. She said “We have put together a very interesting programme of events all over Highland to try to answer the questions of Why does soil matter? What does it do for us? and What lives in and on it?
“We are holding this Festival during Scottish Biodiversity Week because soil and soil biodiversity is receiving more attention from the press and the policy makers – the State of Scotland Soil Report was produced last year – and yet very few people have a clear understanding of how soils work and why they are important to us. It fits in very well with the Scottish Biodiversity Week theme “Biodiversity is Life – Biodiversity is Our Life” and we hope lots of people across Highland will take this opportunity to find out about soil and associated wildlife.
“There will be something for everyone, from a Soil Biodiversity Forum at Great Glen House in Inverness, to walks, talks and site visits looking at the animals that live in and on the soil, how soil influences vegetation and land use, and how we can manage our soils better to benefit wildlife and people. We are running a BioBlitz event in Dingwall, where people will get a chance to spot as many different species of plant and animal as they can in 24 hours, and a Worm Charming Championship in Lairg – which, of course, will be judged according to strict International Worm Charming Championship rules!”
Professor Sir John Lawton CBE FRS said: “It’s the little things, the creepy crawlies, that make the world work, but for most of us, out of sight is literally out of mind when it comes to the creatures that live in the soil. And yet they are vital for our well-being, and we ignore the health of the soil environment and the creatures that live in soil at our peril. I applaud this important initiative.”
Professor Richard Bardgett, Lancaster Environment Centre added: “Soil, and the multitude of organisms that live in it, play a vital role in controlling all the biogeochemical cycles on which the functioning and future health of the Earth depends. This festival is a fantastic opportunity for people to learn about the many, often unexpected, ways that humans depend on soil, both knowingly and unknowingly."
The Festival is co-ordinated by Highland Council on behalf of the Highland Biodiversity Partnership, which was set up in 2005 to provide guidance and support to a network of local biodiversity groups, and make progress on the key strategic biodiversity issues in Highland.
It is funded by the Scottish Government and the European Community Highland LEADER 2007-2013 Programme, with match funding from Highland Council, Scottish Natural Heritage and RSPB Scotland.
Events run from Saturday 19 to Sunday 27 May, visit the Highland Biodiversity Partnership’s website www.highlandbiodiversity.com for a detailed programme and further information. Contact Janet Bromham or Jonathan Willet on 01463 702274 for further information.
Posted Monday, April 30, 2012
Concern about the drop in children enjoying the outdoors has led to the National Trust launching a new nationwide campaign to encourage sofa-bound children to take to the outdoors and enjoy classic adventures from skimming stones to building dens.
'50 things' is an interactive checklist of the best things to do in the great outdoors - complete with rewards and games on the way. It all free! To find out more visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/50things
Posted Monday, April 30, 2012
The University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) has launched its first international undergraduate degree. Delivered entirely online, the BSc (Hons) in Sustainable Development allows students from anywhere in the world to gain the qualification.
Created by staff at Lews Castle College UHI in Stornoway, the course explores sustainable economic, social and community development as well as the environment.
Programme leader, Dr Michael Smith, said, “Sustainable development has never been more in focus. Leaders are gearing up for one of the largest ever conferences on sustainable development in Brazil and governments are thinking seriously about alternatives to the current global economic system which appears less sustainable as each year passes as populations grow and resources become more limited.
“This degree is available to anyone with access to a computer and broadband connection and we’ve built flexibility into weekly interactions and group activities, so students can continue to work alongside their studies.”
As well as the undergraduate degree, the university also offers short courses in sustainable development for professionals who would like to develop and add to their existing knowledge and skills. Fully accredited by the Institute of Economic Development, both the defree and short courses allow graduates the chance to have fast-track access to full institution membership.
Joe Macphee, Head of Economic Development at Western Isles Council, said:
“This course aligns with our mission to support economic and social regeneration. We need to encourage and enable communities to generate new ideas and maximise potential from development opportunities. This course seems well placed to help this process.”
To find out more about the courses in sustainable development that are on offer, visit the UHI website or call the Information Line on 0845 272 3600.
Posted Monday, April 23, 2012
As part of their goal to improve the service they provide, an online survey has been set up by the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) Planning Department to collect users' feedback.
The survey http://www.cairngorms.co.uk/park-authority/planning/ is open to individuals, organisations, businesses and developers who have applied for planning permission within the National Park, commented on a planning application or who have contacted the Planning Department for advice on planning issues.
The planning arrangements in the Cairngorms National Park are unique in Scotland and involve collaboration with five local authorities who border the Park, including Highland Council, Aberdeenshire Council, Moray Council, Angus Council and Perth and Kinross Council.
CNPA Planning Officer Andrew Tait said, “We’re aware planning policy and procedures can be complex and an important part of our job is helping people through the process. The feedback from the survey will help us carry on the good work we’re doing and also identify areas where we may be able to improve how we work.”
The survey is being held as part of the CNPA's annual Service Improvement Plan which identifies areas that can be improved in order to keep the planning service effective and efficient for all users.
Posted Monday, April 23, 2012
The 2012 Highlands & Islands Food & Drink Awards are now open for entries. The Awards complement the work of the Highlands & Islands Food & Drink Forum by encouraging food and drink businesses to be innovative, forward thinking and collaborative through celebrating their excellence and achievements.
Supported by Highlands & Islands Enterprise, the Awards are now in their eighth year and showcase the wide range of food and drink products in the region, produced using some of the best natural produce in the world.
This year sees the introduction of five new categories to the existing awards, which include:
Best Drink Award
Best Marketing Initiative
Development of Export Markets Award
Restaurant of the Year Award
Quintin Stevens of the Highlands & Islands Food & Drink Forum said, “Some 1900 businesses operate in the food and drink supply chain and help underpin the economy in the Highlands and Islands. With some of the best natural produce in the world, the Awards showcase the wide range of food and drink products in the region and the equally diverse profile of businesses, from internationally renowned companies to small innovative producers.
“We’ve introduced several new awards this year to cater for and appeal to the wealth of outstanding innovation and effort we know is helping to shape the future of the industry. We hope that more businesses in the Highlands and Islands’ food and drink industry will step forward this year and let the Awards help gain recognition for and promote their achievements."
Entries are now open until Friday 15th June and can be made online, via email or post by following the guidelines on the entry website http://www.hifoodanddrinkawards.com/how-to-enter-introduction.html The shortlisted finalists will be announced in September and the Awards Dinner and Ceremony to honour the winners will take place at the Drumossie Hotel in Inverness on Friday 19th October.
Posted Thursday, April 19, 2012
Vision in Business for the Environment of Scotland (VIBES) Awards launch will take place in Inverness on Thursday 26th April 4-6pm. The event is an opportunity for business that are interested in being recognised for their employment of environmental best practice to find out how to enter the VIBES award 2012.
The event will take place at:
Inverness Retail Park
For more details please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Interested in helping with our Million Miles Project? TBI is looking for a full-time project officer for our three-year project to help Black Isle residents reduce their car usage, and we also need a part-time PR consultant and Bookkeeper.
The Million Miles Project hopes to reduce the annual distance driven by Black Isle folk by a mere 1% - or a massive Million Miles, depending on which way you look at it! We’ll be looking at the things that stop people using bikes, lift-share schemes and public transport, and trying to make them easier and more fun.
The Travel Project Officer will take overall control of the project, arranging events, liaising with other interested parties, managing part-time staff and co-ordinating volunteers. The PR Consultant will over-see the marketing and communications side of the project, and the Bookkeeper will maintain financial records, including PAYE and monthly reports against budget.
If you’re interested in any of these positions, we need applications by 20th April. Send a CV and covering letter, or in the case of the PR Consultant or Bookkeeper posts, a proposal setting out your background, your proposed approach to the work, and an estimate of fees. Applications should be sent to Martin Sherring, Stoneybank, Culbokie, IV7 8JH.
There’s more information available on the website www.transitionblackisle.org
Posted Wednesday, April 11, 2012
The official national launch took place on Thursday 29th, in Portobello in Edinburgh, with Richard Lochhead, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs & Environment, and Derek Robertson, Chief Executive of Keep Scotland Beautiful.
It’s still not too late to join the 60,000 who have already signed up, and help Keep Scotland Beautiful reach the target of 200,000 Scots out cleaning their favourite part of Scotland this Spring.
It’s completely free to take part, plus there are competitions and Greggs treats can be ordered for every person who takes part in your clean-up event. And if you don’t fancy organising your own event, you can search our on-line map to see if there is an event in your area you can join.
So, what are you waiting for? More information, and on-line registration, can be found here: www.keepscotlandbeautiful.org/springclean
If you would like to organise a clean-up event out-with the National Spring Clean dates (1st April – 31st May), you can order a free clean up kit here: www.keepscotlandbeautiful.org/cleanupkit
Posted Tuesday, April 10, 2012
The energyshare Fund, a collaboration between energyshare and British Gas, will open for applications again from Tuesday 10th April onwards. This new round of funds will have eight awards of amounts between £2,500 and £5,000 available to local energy projects.
Local community groups who wish to apply to the Fund will have two options available:
Raise £5,000 of your own through the Peoplefund.it website and British Gas and energyshare will match it. Submit an online application to be considered for one of three awards of £2,500
During the previous energyshare Fund, four local communities were helped to realise their renewable energy projects and between them they are set to generate enough energy to power 1,169 homes and earn a projected annual income of £500,000.
Funding received through the scheme must be used towards a potential renewable energy installation, energy efficiency measures or behavioural change measures.
Further details on the fund including how to apply, are available from the energyshare website http://www.energyshare.com
Posted Thursday, March 29, 2012
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and have recently launched a flooding awareness campaign specifically aimed at businesses.
14,000 businesses in Scotland are at risk of flooding and being prepared can significantly help reduce the impact it has on a business. SEPA’s Floodline direct warning service aims to give people who sign up valuable time to take action and protect their business against flooding.
Sign up to the new free flood warning Floodline www.sepa.org.uk/floodingsignup
0845 988 1188
Posted Thursday, March 29, 2012
Corrimony Energy is Building a small (5 turbines) wind-farm. The community charity Soirbheas are raising funds to own one of the wind turbines. The money raised from the generation of electricity will be fed back into the community.
How will the money be spent tackling fuel poverty, Community Growth Projects and community sustainability. The Charity needs community support and feedback to make sure the money is spent in the most effective ways.
To find out more visit the Soirbheas website www.soirbheas.org
Posted Monday, March 19, 2012
As one of Scotland's leading environmental charities, Keep Scotland Beautiful has been active in Scotland for over 40 years. During this time much of our work has focussed on litter, waste and campaigning for a clean and tidy country.
National Spring Clean is our litter campaign to encourage communities of all types to take ownership of an area close to them and use their combined effort to make a difference.
Participation has risen exponentially over the last few years we now seek your support to assist in reaching our ambitious target of 200,000 participants in the 2012 National Spring Clean campaign.
Groups can register for a free Clean Up Kit and find out more about what is happening in their area by visiting the website www.keepscotlandbeautiful.org/springclean
Please assist us by supporting our vision of a clean, green, sustainable Scotland and encourage all of your members to register and organise a local clean-up to support National Spring Clean 2012.
Please feel free to use the promotional flyer, email / newsletter text and logo attached to this email and let us know if you need any other materials or information.
On behalf of Keep Scotland Beautiful, thank you for supporting our National Spring Clean campaign.
Keep Scotland Beautiful, working for a clean, green, sustainable Scotland in partnership with Zero Waste Scotland.
Join us and 200,000 volunteers in keeping Scotland beautiful. Scotland’s biggest clean up, National Spring Clean, runs from 1st April – 31st May 2012. Find out more and register at: www.keepscotlandbeautiful.org/springclean #NationalSpringClean
Working for a clean, green, sustainable Scotland in partnership with Zero Waste Scotland.
Posted Monday, March 19, 2012
From Fuel Poverty to Green Gold
Still a few places left, so it's not too late to join us for an inspiring day which will also be a great opportunity to learn more about sustainable energy and network with like minded organisations and individuals.
Download the booking form from the conference page or call Carol on 07557044809.
Posted Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Tick-borne disease charity BADA-UK (Borreliosis and Associated Diseases Awareness-UK) and its Patron, TV Bushcraft and Survival expert Ray Mears, are warning both outdoor workers and outdoor-pursuits enthusiasts to be vigilant about a potential increased risk of tick bites this spring. The week long event is being held between March 26th and April 1st.
The charity is using its annual awareness campaign Tick Bite Prevention Week to highlight the health risks that ticks pose, especially following the recent EU ban of the herbicide Asulam. Up until its ban, Asulam was used by hill farmers and other professional to control the invasive spread of bracken which provides the perfect habitat for ticks. Ray Mears warns:
"The control of bracken is vital to the survival of numerous species of flora and fauna as well as reducing tick populations. The spread of bracken as a result of this ban will lead to increased tick numbers making it all the more important that the public takes precautions against tick bites when out and about in rural areas."
BADA-UK, a registered charity run by unpaid volunteers who have been affected by Lyme disease and associated infections, believes that the key to combating the recent rise in tick-borne disease is through increasing public and professional awareness. The charity advises that with no preventative vaccine available, the best defence against tick-born infection is to avoid being bitten, by taking a few simple precautions when out and about.
Wendy Fox, Chair of BADA-UK says:
"We understand, perhaps better than most, the devastating effects that tick-borne diseases can have, therefore we strive to help prevent others from falling victim to them.
Ticks are part of the natural world and the great outdoors are there to be enjoyed. It is therefore important to be informed about, rather than unknowingly exposed to, infections that are preventable".
Further information about Tick Bite Prevention Week can be found on their website.
Posted Friday, March 09, 2012
Highland Council has participated in Earth Hour each year since it began in 2008. As a show of support floodlighting are to be switched off at key landmarks including Ruthven Barracks, Inverness Castle, Glenurquhart Castle and Eilan Donan Castle. The aim is to encourage people to think about the energy they use, where it comes from and the impact that it has on the environment and climate change.
WWF are also encouraging individuals to sign up to the campaign and they can register to do so on the website below. WWF publish a league table of the Local Authorities with the most signatories and last year Shetland Isles Council came out on top place.
Posted Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Keep Scotland Beautiful is excited to announce details of Scotland’s biggest annual litter clean up, National Spring Clean, and this year we’re hoping it will be the biggest and best yet.
This year’s campaign will run from 1st April – 31st May 2012 and this year we’ve set ourselves the ambitious target of getting 200,000 participants.
Make a difference to your favourite place
Taking part in National Spring Clean is a great way to make a difference to your favourite place in Scotland.
Whether it’s your local park, a favourite beach, the route of your Sunday walk or an unloved piece of land that you pass everyday there are thousands of places that would benefit from a bit of TLC.
So this Spring why not spend an hour or two with your family, friends, colleagues or community group to improve your neighbourhood.
How you can help
Sign up to now to receive your FREE Clean Up Kit. Your kit contains everything you need to get started including tabards, posters, a ‘how to’ guide and details on how you can get the litter you collect picked up afterwards.
Visit www.keepscotlandbeautiful.org to find out more, including details of great competitions and how to get your hands on some tasty Gregg’s treats.
Posted Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Don’t miss out on our Green Gold day! From Fuel Poverty to Green Gold is the theme for the Highland Environmental Network 2012 Annual Conference. The invitations are out to organisations and individuals to attend HEN Annual Conference that will take place on Saturday 24th March in Drumnadrochit.
There is increasing concern about the alarming rise in fuel poverty across Scotland. HEN wants to raise awareness about the environmental impact of traditional fuels and how communities and business can realistically move towards renewables. This motivating event will aim to explore practical alternatives for communities and businesses to tackle fuel poverty; focusing on the positive outcomes that sustainability can bring – green gold!
“HEN has been running conferences for a number of years now and the events have gone from strength to strength. The event also provide a great opportunity to network as well as learning more about how we can help to sustain our environment and share good practise.” Said Jenny Sleeman, Chair of HEN
As well as a programme of inspiring speakers, delegates will have the opportunity to attend 2 workshop including: Getting the most out of wood fuel, Using a Thermal Imaging camera to tackle fuel poverty, Developing a business model for a low carbon economy, Practical ways to reduce fuel poverty in my community and Making Renewable Energy work for you.
Key note speakers:
Andrew Millson - Scottish Business in the Community
Chris Perkins - Highland Birchwoods
Dr Peter Dennis - The SEAM Centre, Inverness College UHI
Richard Jones - HBS Ring Ltd
The AGM will take place at 4pm after the conference – all welcome.
For further information on how to book a place at the conference contact Carol Masheter, HEN Project Development Officer (p/t), email@example.com or go to the website to download programme and booking form www.highlandenvironment.org.uk.
Speakers & Workshop Facilitators Biographies
Dr Peter Dennis, The SEAM Centre, Inverness College, UHI
The SEAM Centre is a training, information and research facility for Sustainable Energy and Micro-renewables based at Inverness College UHI. The Centre is an important hub for micro-renewables and sustainable energy technology within the Highlands, Islands and Scotland. Inverness College UHI is also a partner in the EU funded Northern Periphery Programme (NPP) project, SMALLEST. This project seeks to draw on the shared knowledge and skills of European partner regions to create an innovative service assisting remote communities to implement renewable energy solutions.
Andrew Milson, Scottish Business in the Community
Scottish Business in the Community is one of the Prince's Charities in Scotland, it is the only organisation supporting and challenging its private sector members and its partners to improve their impacts on the economy, environment and society. Andrew is the Head of Environment, Training and Advisory Services at SBC on his journey to Scotland from South Africa via a commercial life in London and a development world in Tanzania. During this time, Andrew come to realize the power of business and with that it’s (unfulfilled) capacity to make lasting change for a fairer, safer and more environmentally sound world.
Amanda Calvert & Chris Perkins - Highand Birchwoods
Highland Birchwoods was formed in 1992 as a partnership of the Forestry Commission, Scottish Natural Heritage, Highland Council and Highland & Islands Enterprise to promote best practice in the management of woodlands and forests to: improve conservation and biodiversity values, deliver sustainable rural development, enhance recreational, landscape and amenity facilities. Amanda originally studied Biological Sciences at Wolverhampton, upon graduation she decided that her ultimate career would be one that meant spending her time carrying out conservation work in one form or another. She joined Highland Birchwoods team in 2010 to run the highly successful “Use Green Heat” project. Chris has extensive experience in rural development and countryside management. He has worked as a Project Manager for Scottish Native Woods, run his own native woodland management company and the Loch Katrine Native Woodland project. Chris moved from native woodland management to Highland Birchwoods to manage the “Forestry and Rural Development Scheme”. Although a self confessed native woodland nut, he works mainly with commercial woodland supply chains and is also the owner/manager of the smallest district heating scheme in Scotland!
Richard Jones - HBS Ring Ltd
HBS Ring Ltd was started in 1991 to match up farmers with a surplus of machines or labour with those who had a shortage and so "The Machinery Ring" was born. Since then activities have expanded and they now offer just about everything a Farmer, Estate, Contractor, Small Business or Individual Member could need including training and advice on renewables. Richard Jones has a background in farming and originally joined the ring as training co-ordinator and is involved in all aspects of HBS Ring Services.
Robert Dunn, The Lochaber Initiative on Fuel and Energy (LIFE)
LIFE is a project delivered by The Lochaber Environmental Group funded by the Climate Challenge Fund. The Project aims to reduce energy and fuel consumption, and thus Lochaber’s carbon footprint by using thermal imaging cameras to see where homes are losing heat. The project also providing information on insulation and other home energy saving methods, particularly where free support is available from the government; as well as encourage the use of local renewable fuel and energy sources.
Alan Grant - Energy Saving Scotland advice centre Highlands and Islands (ESSac)
The ESSac helps householders save energy, carbon and money by providing free, impartial, expert advice on all matters related to energy efficiency, small scale renewables and low carbon personal transport. Alan is an Outreach Engagement Officer, and is working with community groups and external partners to promote the Scottish Government’s Energy Assistance Package targeting lower income groups and the fuel poor. Alan joined the ESSac in May 2009, having worked previously for The Highland Council and Cairn Housing Association in their Housing Departments.
1. Andrew Millson - Developing a business model for a low carbon economy.
Recognising the opportunities and challenges faced by business and organisation that choose the low carbon route.
2. Dr Peter Dennis - Making renewable energy work for you.
Making the right choice when going for a renewable heating or energy system.
3. Amanda Calvert - Getting the best out of wood.
Advice on wood fuelled systems, types of timber and storage.
4. Alan Grant – Practical ways to reduce fuel poverty in my community.
Reduce fuel costs in the home and stay warm.
5. Robert Dunn – Lochaber Initiative on Fuel and Energy
Using a thermal imaging camera as a tool to tackle fuel poverty.
Posted Friday, February 10, 2012
The BIG Lottery Fund is now using online interactive sessions to help even more organisations get grants of up to £10,000. All you need is a computer with broadband and either a microphone and speakers, or a telephone. Joining by microphone and speakers will incur no cost to you, but via BT landline will cost you less than £5 for one hour.
The first session on 9 February 2012 is aimed at beginner applicants. So if you have never successfully applied for a small grant from BIG, are just setting up as an organisation or new to fundraising, why not join this user-friendly session?
It will take you through the requirements for applying, help you decide which grant is right for your project and give you an overview of our three small grants. They will also give you tips on completing your application, using Awards for All as an example. You’ll be able to see their presentation, ask questions directly and get on the spot responses. Previous participants have found the system easy to use (there’s a short demonstration at the start) and have saved on time and travel costs.
If you are looking for a quick start to getting your project funded this could be for you. Places are limited, so to register please use the invite below now.
Further identical sessions will take place in 2012 on 13 March 3-4pm and 4 April 10-11am - registration for these is not yet open (please check their website in future).
Posted Tuesday, February 07, 2012
HEN 2012 Annual Conference & AGM From Fuel Poverty to Green Gold
Sat 24th March 2012 at Craigmonie Centre, Drumnadrochit.
This motivating event will aim to exploring realistic alternatives for communities and businesses to tackle fuel poverty; focusing on the positive outcomes that sustainability can bring – green gold!
Andrew Millson - Scottish Business in the Community
Chris Perkins - Highland Birchwoods
Dr Peter Dennis - The SEAM Centre, Inverness College UHI
Richard Jones - HBS Ring Ltd
As well as a programme of inspiring speaker delegates will have the opportunity to choose from a selection of workshops including: Getting the most out of wood fuel, Using a thermal imaging camera to tackle fuel poverty, Developing a business model for a low carbon economy and Making Renewable Energy work for you.
Book now as places are limited – Deadline 5th March 2012
The AGM will take place after the conference at 4pm – all welcome!
For the full programme and booking form go to the conference section of the HEN website
Posted Thursday, January 19, 2012
a new accounts service for Registered Charities and Voluntary Organisations
· Account Preparation
· Independent Examination
All charities and voluntary organisations need to have their accounts checked to make sure that their finances are managed properly and running smoothly. Most don’t require an audit by an accountant.
Our new Accounts Service can help with:
· Financial Systems
· Book Keeping
· Preparing your Accounts
· Independent Examination
All registered charities need to file accounts and returns with OSCR (Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator). If you are a charity with an annual income of less than £500,000 we can help you to meet your legal requirements and avoid having your accounts returned by OSCR.
ask the experts
Finding someone with the required expertise to independently examine your accounts can be difficult and time consuming. Because we support other charities and voluntary organisations, Signpost can now offer you a professional Independent Examination service that is tailored to meet the individual needs of your organisation. Our highly trained staff have in-depth knowledge
of the laws and procedures governing charities accounts. They will work with you to produce professional, compliant, annual accounts in line with OSCR requirements.
Already producing compliant accounts?
Then ask us for a quotation to carry out your independent examination
Because we’re here to help, our rates are kept low.
The cost of our service is based on a standard rate of £25 per hour. All work is costed up to the nearest quarter-hour. However, we will be more than happy to negotiate a fixed-price deal if that is what you prefer. In line with our charging policy, if your organisation needs this service and genuinely cannot afford to pay... please contact us to discuss your options.
and what else
In addition to our Accounts Service, our friendly, experienced staff can offer a range of services to support charities and voluntary groups to run their organisations dynamically and efficiently.
Signpost can offer you help with:
· Quality Standards
· Human Resources
...plus a variety of office services including photocopying, services including photocopying, laminating, franking and mailing.
For more information about our services and how we can help your organisation, please contact:
1a Millburn Road
t: 01463 711393
Signpost is a company limited by guarantee, registered in Scotland, no. SC394375. Signpost is a Scottish Charity, no. SC042210
Posted Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Environmental volunteering charity BTCV Scotland is currently offering half-price membership of just £19 to its newly enhanced Community Network whose member groups include hundreds of community associations, conservation societies, gardening projects, and ‘Friends of’ groups throughout the country. All care for an aspect of their local environment - a community garden, nature reserve, woodland, allotment, park or open space. As well as the environmental gain, such projects provide valuable social, health and learning opportunities for everyone taking part.
At the heart of the Community Network’s provision is an improved programme of free and subsidised training events covering a wide range of topics from practical conservation skills to working with volunteers from different backgrounds.
Other Network benefits include:
• Support from BTCV’s local offices to help member groups with their projects on the ground.
• Online assistance through BTCV’s Community Hub, including links to the comprehensive GRANTnet funding website and a Resource Bank packed with useful information for group leaders.
• The Chestnut Fund - a small grants scheme enabling groups with limited funds to equip themselves with necessary tools and training.
• BTCV’s popular insurance scheme enabling groups to ‘do their own thing’ with essential insurance cover for volunteers and public alike, plus peace of mind for group organisers.
• The Network Bulletin, three issues annually, showcasing the work of member groups.
• A monthly e-Bulletin providing up-to-date news and information on training courses, funding opportunities, and networking events. Information is power!
BTCV Scotland is developing the Community Network in partnership with the Forum for Environmental Volunteering Activity (FEVA), with support from the Scottish Government and Scottish Natural Heritage. The Network is aimed at supporting both ‘traditional’ environmental groups, plus organisations representing the wider spectrum of community and voluntary activity. This includes BME groups, youth organisations, health agencies, and others whose volunteers and clients can also contribute to, and benefit from, environmental activities.
BTCV Scotland’s introductory offer of £19 for new members runs until 1 April 2012. And for those groups who don’t require the full package of benefits, the Community Network also provides a number of free information, learning and networking opportunities for interested individuals and groups.
For further information visit www.btcv.org/scotland, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or telephone Graham Burns at 0141 552 5294.
Posted Tuesday, January 03, 2012
In 2011 the volunteer networks have expanded to new areas across Aberdeenshire, north rural Tayside, Moray and the Highlands. The project has added to the already large volunteer base and raft network from the previous projects, with now over 500 volunteers in place and over 900 rafts active across 20,000 km².
Since April this year over 100 mink have been removed from the SMI area. In response to mink sightings reported north of Ullapool, SMI extended the project area northwards to cover much of the North West Highlands. Cromarty Firth Fisheries Trust has now taken on the responsibility of mink control within their area and two more trusts are set to follow early in 2012. The new volunteer and local networks that have been established comprise of over 100 organisations and groups. We continue to raise awareness about the problems mink cause and the aims and achievements of SMI. Our work has featured in a number of scientific and technical publications and SMI has had a prominent and enthusiastic presence at many local and national events.
If you need any equipment or just want a chat about the progress, please do get in touch.
Mink Control Officer
Cairngorms and Moray
(Rivers Spey, Lossie, Findhorn, Nairn, Ness and Beauly)
c/o Cairngorms National Park Authority
14 The Square
07825 185 178
Posted Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Through the UK Government’s Renewable Heat Premium Payment (RHPP) scheme homeowners in Scotalnd can benefit from a cashback voucher of up to £1,250 towards the cost of a home renewable heating system such as a heat pump or wood fuelled boiler.
It is only available until 31 March 2012 so if you are thinking about adding a renewable energy system to your home find out more information by visiting the Energy Savings Trust website.
Posted Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Is your community interested in hosting a free road safety play suitable for all generations? Road Safety Scotland has been working with Baldy Bane Theatre Company in the development of a new play which is set to tour the country for a ten-week period in spring 2012.
It is hoped that a wide variety of groups will take up the offer to host the stage play Better Late Than Dead on Time in their local community venue. The play covers many issues including inappropriate speeds, hazards to drivers and pedestrations and young drivers. All topics are dealt with sensitively and are primarily presented in a humorous but realistic way to focus awareness and discussion in the audiences.
Mairi Blair, Assistant Director, Road Safety Scotland said, "In the road environment, pedestrians and drivers can be affected by the same road safety issues, no matter the age. Baldy Bane Theatre Company has, once again, developed a wonderfully funny, and incredibly thought-provoking and stimulating play to engage the whole community. Don't miss out!"
Alison Couston, Executive Director, Baldy Bane Theatre said, "We are excited about taking this new production out on the road as it is relevant to so many groups within our communities. It gives a very human perspective on the issues highlighted in the play, and, most importantly it is very entertaining for the audience and will provide an excellent focus for any group meeting. We are keen for as many organisations to get in touch to embrace the opportunity of hosting this free resource."
If considered appropriate, there is the opportunity for an interactive post-show session, which takes the form of an enjoyable, and possibly rewarding quiz.
The play will tour from 6th February 2012 until 13th April 2012. The production is funded by Road Safety Scotland and is free to all groups. If you are interested in hosting the play contact the Baldy Bane office directly on 0141 632 0193 to reserve a booking.
Posted Tuesday, December 13, 2011
The Festival is supported by The Co-operative and Creative Scotland. All events feature discussion with local business, campaigners and filmmakers details of our 2012 Scottish Tour showcasing "the best of the fest" across rural Scotland. Spread the word to people you know in Stirling, Ashford, Dumblane, Comrie, Aberdeen, Banchory, Alford, Nairn, Inverness, Cromarty, Ullapool, Stornoway and Skye! And if you know secondary schools in these areas that might also be interested in taking part, please get in touch.
Visit the website for email from http://takeoneaction.org.uk/ or If you need to speak to us directly, please telephone +44 (0)131 553 6335 or with media enquiries please call Simon on +44 (0)7515 106 303. or
Dates of tour
Fri 17th FebMacrobert Centre, StirlingEven The Rain
Sat 18th FebAshfield Village HallThere Once was an Island
Sat 18th FebAshfield Village HallEven The Rain
Mon 20th FebMacrobert Centre, StirlingHomegrown
Tues 21st FebVisit Scotland Information Centre, Callander There Once Was an Island
Wed 22nd FebComrie Village HallYou’ve Been Trumped
Thurs 23rd FebBelmont Cinema, AberdeenEven The Rain
Fri 24th FebWoodend Barn, BanchoryHomegrown
Sat 25th FebTullynessle & Forbes Hall, Alford Blood In the Mobile
Mon 27th FebEden Court, InvernessBlood In the Mobile
Tues 28th FebNairn Community & Arts Centre Even The Rain
Wed 29th FebRoyal Hotel, Cromarty Homegrown
Thurs 1st MarMacphail Centre, UllapoolYou’ve Been Trumped
Fri 2nd MarAn Lanntair, Lewis You’ve Been Trumped
Sat 3rd MarDuirnish Media Club, SkyeThere Once Was an Island
Sat 3rd MarDuirnish Media Club, SkyeYou’ve Been Trumped
Posted Monday, December 05, 2011
Dates have been published on the Scottish Government website for the next Rural Priorities Assessment Rounds in 2012. Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs announced this week that the Rural Priorities funding scheme will open for business again in 2012. However, he said it was vital the Axis 1 funding was spent carefully as there was less money in the pot because spending was brought forward in 2009 and 2010 in response to the credit crunch. Find out more http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/farmingrural/SRDP/RuralPriorities/KeyFacts/RPACDates/Q/editmode/on/forceupdate/on
Posted Monday, December 05, 2011
Are you interested in an opportunity to promote, and possibly research, an emerging issue concerning rural areas? If so, the Arkleton trust is inviting expressions of interest from those wishing to develop proposals which will help to determine the future theme(s), on which the Trust will focus its efforts for 2 - 3 years from 2013. You find out more in The Arkleton Trust Future Theme - call for expressions of interest. http://www.arkletontrust.co.uk/
Posted Thursday, October 13, 2011
The campaign from Friends of the Earth Inverness & Ross
is helping businesses in the Highlands to ‘Keep The Heat In’
The campaign – funded through the Scottish Government's Climate Challenge Fund – will run until March 2012, by which time we hope to have save hundreds of tonnes of greenhouse gases. Trained energy advisors are available for free visits to discuss all aspects of energy in your business and direct you towards other sources of help. Peter Elbourne is the group’s lead Energy Advisor:
"The campaign is about stopping energy waste, so we want to help businesses in the Highlands with all aspects of their energy use, including advice on lighting and renewables."
‘Keep The Heat In’ kicked off in Dingwall on Saturday 11th June, when volunteers began speaking to businesses in and around the High Street about the project. We will be trying to contact every one of the offices, restaurants, bars and retailers.
To help work out how much electriciy businesses are consuming, we also have two types of monitor available to borrow for two weeks at no cost.
Focusing a campaign in a community makes it easier for us to work out what common barriers businesses are experiencing. We're finding that a lot of businesses are reliant on electric heating, which is expensive and polluting. A local campaign also encourages businesses to make the necessary changes together. So if you run a local shop and you're 'keeping the heat in', then put up one of our window stickers! Now that we are getting towards the end of our campaign in Dingwall, we will be shortly moving on to Inverness and, eventually, Nairn.
Please contact us if you would like more details about our project or if you are interested in taking part in one of our campaign days.
Below is a list of some of the businesses in the area that we have advised during our campaign:
- The Greenhouse, Dingwall - Green Tree, Strathpeffer
- Ma Maison Ecossaise, Inverness - Celtic FC, Inverness
Also see downloads for a report on the campaign in Dingwall.
For more information contact 07715 663781 or email email@example.com or visit www.foe-invernessandross.org.uk
Posted Monday, October 10, 2011
Keep Scotland Beautiful welcomes today’s (5th October 2011) announcement, that The Climate Challenge Fund (CCF) which supports community-led action to reduce emissions, has reopened again with the addition of a stream dedicated to under 18s called Junior CCF.
Announcing the £10.3 million extended Scottish Government scheme, Environment and Climate Change Minister Stewart Stevenson met with P4 and P5 pupils from Churnside Primary at Lambhill Stables in Glasgow which previously received over £360,000 from The Climate Challenge Fund to create a community hub. Now training and educational opportunities are offered at Lambhill Stables to local residents on the following themes: gardening; renewable energies; and sustainable transport.
Mr Stevenson said, "The Junior CCF is an exciting addition to this overall project and I look forward to seeing the innovative ideas put forward by Scotland's children to reduce our carbon footprint. The ambition of Junior CCF is clear - to provide the means for the next generation to make a real difference on an issue we know they are passionate about.
"Since 2008, 345 individual communities across Scotland have received awards through CCF and their contribution in tackling climate change is greatly acknowledged. Our Economic Strategy and Spending Review makes strong references to the importance of grass roots action such as this if we are to move towards a truly low carbon economy.
"Lambhill Stables is a great example of how CCF offers real community benefits. It has brought the practical benefits of low carbon living into this area making it relevant and making a positive difference to people's lives."
Keep Scotland Beautiful has administrated CCF since it was launched in June 2008. Chief Executive Derek Robertson said, "Keep Scotland Beautiful is delighted to hear that the Scottish Government has re-opened the CCF to applicants today. Keep Scotland Beautiful has managed the CCF on behalf of the Scottish Government since 2008 and provided support to communities, including Lambhill Stables, taking action on climate change. Our staff's passion and commitment to the CCF has been evident in the ongoing success of the scheme and is an integral part of Keep Scotland Beautiful's vision for a clean green sustainable Scotland.
“Having managed our flagship education program Eco-Schools Scotland so successfully for over 10 years we feel the addition of Junior CCF will really benefit from the strengths and expertise Keep Scotland Beautiful has and the added value that brings to the fund"
For more information and detail of how to apply visit www.keepscotlandbeautiful.org/ccf
Posted Thursday, September 29, 2011
The Highland Cross Organising Committee is calling on registered charities that provide medical or social services for the benefit of the people of Highland to apply for funding. Previous applicants to Highland Cross, whether successful or unsuccessful, are welcome to apply. Highland Cross can only provide capital funds and cannot support revenue or staff costs. Applications must be with Highland Cross by 31 October 2011.
Applications to be a major beneficiary from Highland Cross 2012
Charities that provide medical or social services for the benefit of the people of Highland can apply to become a major beneficiary from Highland Cross 2012, which will take place on 23rd June 2012. A potential major beneficiary will usually seek a sum in the region of £20,000 to £40,000. Funding will not be available until the autumn of 2012.
Major beneficiaries are expected to contribute to the successful organisation of the event by:
Contributing £1,000 towards the costs and
Providing 20 appropriate people to act as marshals
Normally Highland Cross will have three or four major beneficiaries each year. Applications must be with Highland Cross by 31 October 2011.
Applications for smaller amounts of assistance
Applications for smaller amounts of assistance should also be made by 31 October 2011, and if surplus funds are available from the 2011 event, a distribution may be made thereafter. The smallest grant ever given was for just under £60. Funding for smaller grants will be available from November 2011. Applicants for smaller sums are not required to pledge finance or personnel, but many beneficiaries do offer small numbers of marshals to future events.
Whether charities are looking for funding for a small project, or to be a major beneficiary, applications must be made on the funding application form, which can be obtained from www.highlandcross.co.uk
Alternatively, a copy of the application form can be requested from Highland Cross Organisers, Redwood, 19 Culduthel Road, Inverness, IV2 4AA or by e mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
The completed form should be sent with the required supporting documents to Highland Cross Organisers at the above address.
Charity Selection Process
All applications undergo an initial screening. If successful at that stage, applications to be one of the principal charities will have the opportunity to present their case to a selection panel in Inverness. The Organising Committee do not select the charities as a number of the Organisers are professionally involved with charity work in the Highlands.
Charities are chosen by an Independent Charity Selection Panel of three members who are quite separate from the Organising Committee. The Charity Selection Panel normally selects up to 6 potential major beneficiaries for interview and then informs the Organisers of the nominated causes.
Grants for smaller amounts are assessed on the basis of the application form. Where they consider it necessary the Independent Charity Selection Panel may seek additional information from applicants.
Further background information on Highland Cross can be found on its website
Posted Monday, September 19, 2011
The Local authorities of the Highlands and Islands have been working together for a number of months to try to persuade the UK Government of the need to retain the 2 MCA funded Emergency Towing Vessels (ETVs) which currently operate off the West coast and around the Northern Isles. The ETVs were introduced following the environmental disaster caused by the Braer shipping accident and the vulnerabilities that existed then have not diminished significantly to warrant the withdrawal of this service. Indeed, the MCA’s own risk assessment, carried out in 2008 (the Marico Report) made a very strong case for retaining the ETVs and nothing has changed since then to materially affect their assessment, save the need to make budget savings. Furthermore, the MCA do not plan to introduce any measures to compensate for the withdrawal of the Tugs such as improved AIS tracking, mandatory pilotage or investment to improve the sea going and fire fighting capability of the existing harbour tugs.
Local authorities have met with the Shipping Minister and with MCA officials on a number of occasions but it is clear that they will not change their minds unless an alternative funding source can be identified. We have issued press statements and have received some press coverage, but we need more people to become aware and get involved. With a local MP sitting in the Treasury as the Chief Secretary, it must be possible for funding to be found elsewhere, if there is a political will to do so, but we have reached the end of what can be achieved through political channels alone. We need assistance to raise the profile and generate a head of steam around this issue that Ministers will have to listen to.
Can you help? To join the campaign to retain a vital maritime and coastal protection measure which the UK Government has decided to remove for budgetary reasons and against the strong advice of the UK Parliament’s Transport Committee.
Please join the facebook campaign Save Scotland's Tugs
Please lobby the following:
The Secretary for State for Transport, Phillip Hammond
The Chief Executive of the MCA, Sir Alan Massey, Sir Alan Masey and
The Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander.
The Chief Executive’s Office
The Highland Council
Please see Downloads - for a Risk Assesment
Posted Tuesday, August 02, 2011
The date is nearly upon us and there is definitely a feeling of excitement building in the HEN House! HEN will be at Belladrum on mass this year accompanied with 25 Highland based musical acts. So what is it all about?
HEN is hoping to sign up over 60 people to take action to reduce their carbon footprint. Local bands will show their support by wearing feathers and taking on the challenge of carbon reduction. There will be quizzes and fun activities to test your carbon footprint and even a chance to have a thermal image taken. So if you’re coming to Belladrum this weekend don't for get to pay the HEN House a visit you will find us in the Walled Garden - enjoy the music and chill out with us!
Friday 5th August
2100 Black Rock Ceilidh Band
2000 Dorec- a -belle
1900 Last Summer Effect Unplugged
1800 Adrian Telfer
1630 Lilian Ross and Malina MacDonald ,Lewis Kane
1545 Ghillie dhu folk band
1500 Alice Bentley with Finnie Eveling-Swinney
1415 Ally McLeod and Donald Forbes
1330 Corey Symonds
1245 Graham Bell
1200 Jamie Reid
Saturday 6th August
2100 Ashley Mackay +3
2000 Maria Hall Unplugged Band
1800 Fiona J Mc Kenzie, Stu Clarke and Lisa Rigby
1715 Acoustic reverb
1630 Emily McKinnon
1545 Waiting for Bruce
1500 Sarah Jane Thomson
1415 Malcolm Cumming
1330 Graham Brown +1
1245 Feis Chataibh
1200 Megan Blyth
Posted Monday, July 18, 2011
Highland Environment Network (HEN) will be having a major presence at this year’s Tartan Heart Festival 2011 at Belladrum with the introduced of the FREE RANGE FOLK STAGE. HEN successful secured funding from the Climate Challenge Fund which will enable them to be at this year’s festival.
The resources of HEN, Glachbeg Croft and Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival supported by the Climate Challenge Fund have combined to provide this stage to give Highland acoustic performers an opportunity to play at what they see to be their local festival.
The Free Range Folk Stage has grown out of the Glachbeg Croft Education Centre music club which has been set up in response to local musicians concerns that, though there was a lot of music to be heard in the Highlands, a great deal of it was not from local acoustic performers.
Festival goers will have a chance to listen to some musicians that are becoming well known on the local scene, as well as those have their own flock of followers! All we ask listeners to do is to open their ears and minds to something that hasn’t q