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Thurso Surf Centre Awarded £5000 by SSE Sustainable Development Fund

10th May 2014

Community projects across the Highlands - including a new visitor centre in the Great Glen and an essential upgrade to an off-grid community hydro electric scheme in Knoydart - will share £1million from SSE’s new Highland Sustainable Development Fund.

Funded by SSE’s onshore wind farms, the Sustainable Development Fund is open to all non-profit making organisations, community groups and charities working in the Highland Council region.

Over 100 applications were submitted during this first funding round and following a comprehensive evaluation process, an independent panel led by former First Minister of Scotland Lord Jack McConnell awarded 29 projects a total of £1,045,000. Initiatives that demonstrated transformational impact, innovation and sustainability were given priority.

Projects awarded funding range from small start-up grants of £5,000, received by projects such as the surfing centre in Thurso, to large grants, such as the £225,000 received by Scottish Canals for a new visitor centre, shop and five bespoke retail units for start-up businesses in Fort Augustus.

Lord McConnell said: “At the launch of the fund, we asked for project ideas that were both sustainable and genuinely transformational. The breadth of applications made for tough decisions but I’m delighted at the reach and potential impact of the initiatives we have chosen to support. From the tip of Caithness to the sound of Mull, the successful awards will create jobs, revitalise open spaces and strengthen communities.”

Cllr Drew Hendry, Leader of Highland Council, said: “It is great to see so many communities in the Highlands benefiting from SSE’s new Highland Sustainable Development Fund. Congratulations to SSE for rewarding communities who demonstrate innovation and long term sustainability and to communities for responding with so many exciting local projects.”

One of the awards within the Built and Natural Environment went to the Aigas Community Forest, to secure control of the Aigas forest and associated telecoms masts in order to provide a wide range of social, environmental and economic benefits for the local community.

In the Community Energy category, Kingussie Community Company received an award to restore a 90-year-old hydro scheme and install a low head micro-hydro generating plant at a weir on the river Gynack in Kingussie to create an income stream for community projects.

For more information, including a list of all funded projects, please see the Sustainable Development Fund website - http://sse.com/community/sustainablefund/

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