Highlands and north-east communities receive £500k from Moray Firth wind project

Beatrice windfarm achieved first power in July
Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm generates first power

Highland and Moray communities have received nearly half a million pounds from a massive Moray Firth wind project.

The Beatrice Offshore Windfarm (BOWL) Partnership Fund said it has distributed £460,000 to non-profit community groups and charities over 2018.

The 84-turbine SSE Beatrice project, due to be operational next year, is currently under construction in the Outer Moray Firth.

One of the biggest infrastructure projects in Scotland’s history, the windfarm will look to generate 588 megawatts (MW) of power.

Worth a total of £3 million over five-years, according to BOWL the project fund is designed to deliver “transformational social, economic and environmental changes in the local area whilst supporting long term community development”.

One Highland housing support organisation received £46,246 over two years to hire a substance misuse officer and to extend their foodbank to a further four communities in surrounding areas of Tain.

Chairman of the housing support group Christian Community Action Support Team (CCAST), Graeme Nutt, said: “’The Board of CCAST Highland are extremely grateful to the Beatrice Partnership Panel for supporting the work of CCAST This grant will allow us to develop two key areas of work.

“Firstly, to expand the Food Bank provision into new areas, allowing us to meet people’s very basic need and secondly, to support those vulnerable people requiring addictions support”

BOWL also announced that it will reopen applications in January 2019.

It will be open to non-profit groups in east coast communities in Caithness and Sutherland and the community council areas of Edderton, Tain, Inver and Tarbat.

In Moray, it will be open to groups from the coastal communities in Moray and the areas of Buckie, Keith, Lennox and Strathisla.

David Shearer of the Beatrice Partnership fund panel, said: “Part of our funding priorities is to empower fragile communities to become more resilient.  Our award to CCAST Highland will enable the charity to substantially extend its foodbank facility at Tain to an additional four surrounding communities.

“This will negate the need for the most vulnerable to find funds to travel to the food bank and will improve access to a vital community support service.

“Over two years, our funding will also support a new substance misuse worker to outreach the charity’s addiction support group activities and will include prevention awareness in schools to further ensure that a longer-term social improvement is achieved.”