Communities urged to ‘plunge in’ to Year of Coasts and Waters

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Surrounded by sea on three sides, Kintyre has more reason than many areas to celebrate Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters 2020.

Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) is marking the year with the launch of a new £150,000 fund, the Plunge In! The Coasts and Waters Community Fund, offering a range of grants from small pots for schools and youth groups, to awards of up to £10,000.

Applications are now open for community-led ideas that will engage and connect more people with Scotland’s seas, coasts, lochs, rivers, streams and wetlands, as well as their unique wildlife.

Projects might include plans for restoring habitats, carrying out local surveys or promoting and celebrating local environment or wildlife, and should leave a legacy from the year, for example through improved skills and knowledge or the creation of a community resource.

Smaller grants of up to £500 will also be available to allow groups of young people to connect with nature by visiting one of Scotland’s many stunning national or local nature reserves.

SNH chief executive Francesca Osowska said: ‘As Scotland’s nature agency, we’re really excited about the Year of Coasts and Waters. There is so much to celebrate about our coastlines and waterways and we want to encourage and inspire people to explore and enjoy them as much as possible throughout this year and beyond.

‘We know communities up and down the country will also want to celebrate the year in their own way, but we recognise that some might lack the resources to do so.

‘This new fund is a fantastic opportunity for groups to get involved, be creative, help their local environment and wildlife and improve our coasts and waters.

‘We hope it will help secure a real and lasting legacy for the year in communities across Scotland, as well as allow many more young people to connect with nature in some of our most beautiful places.’

Applications to the fund will be open until February 28.