Coigach and Assynt Living Landscape Partnership has secured funding worth £2.9 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund, with additional support from other funders, to enable delivery of a wide range of projects over the next five years.
This support will enable Project Partners to deliver twenty eight projects that will collectively enhance the area’s natural, built and cultural heritage. Highlights include: creating and expanding native woodland, offering outdoor learning to all local schools, major repairs to the approach and summit paths of Suilven, and work to excavate and stabilise the Iron Age Clachtoll Broch.
Jonathan Hughes, Chief Executive, Scottish Wildlife Trust said: “With these generous awards from HLF, the Lund Fund and many others, we now have the opportunity to achieve something very special for the landscapes, the wildlife and the communities of Coigach and Assynt. Through seeking to work in true partnership with local communities, neighbouring landowners and fellow conservation charities, the Scottish Wildlife Trust has already achieved so much more than it ever could by going it alone. Having been personally involved in this project from the beginning I’m thrilled this funding is now in place and look forward to seeing work on the ground becoming a reality in the months and years ahead.”
Richard Williams, Development Manager, Coigach and Assynt Living Landscape Partnership said: “On behalf of the whole partnership I would like to thank players of the National Lottery for supporting the Scheme through the Heritage Lottery Fund. This funding award represents the culmination of over five years of planning, research, development and hard work by a huge number of people and organisations. All of the funders have shown great commitment to the programme and we look forward to delivering projects that offer wide ranging benefits for the local area, communities and people.”
Lucy Casot, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, said: “Scotland has the most outstanding natural heritage and nowhere is that more evident than the astounding scenery of Coigach-Assynt. However, the enormous pressures upon these landscapes mean that we have to tackle their restoration and conservation on a bigger scale than ever before. The Landscape Partnership programme does just that, and more. Thanks to players of the National Lottery we can help bring real cohesion to the natural and built heritage of the region while reconnecting its communities with the incredible natural environment that lies on their doorstep.”
The Partnership comprises fourteen organisations, including local landowners, community and national interest groups. It is led by the Scottish Wildlife Trust, which has managed and overseen the development of the funding application and employed a project team over the past two years.
The Partnership is also delighted announced that Woodland Trust Scotland has joined the partnership to deliver the woodland creation elements of the Scheme.
Andrew Campbell, Woodland Trust Scotland’s Senior Advice and Partnerships Manager said: “This is a very special place indeed and it is exciting to be involved as the woodland partner in these ambitious plans. We believe schemes like this point the way forward for the economic and ecological regeneration of large parts of the Highlands. We look forward to helping manage this landscape for the needs of the local people, and creating a wonderful woodland asset for people and wildlife.
A team of six staff will be employed to assist in the delivery of the individual projects, ensure the overall scheme has a meaningful and lasting impact, and to encourage wide community engagement and involvement with the scheme, through a range of volunteering and training opportunities and an outreach programme.
In addition to the HLF grant the Scheme has to date secured almost £1 million from a variety of match funders, including: the Scottish Rural Development Programme, The Lund Fund, Scottish Natural Heritage, SSE Sustainable Development Fund, John Muir Trust and Scottish Wildlife Trust members, and the Highland Council Landfill Community Fund.