A joint project between Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles is one of the latest community projects to secure support from Orkney Islands Council’s LEADER fund.
Six projects were awarded funding in the latest round, bringing the total awarded since the fund opened to just over £1.5m across 29 community driven projects, which will take forward works and activities to benefit Orkney's communities, economy and environment.
Between Islands, the first LEADER co-operation project with the Western Isles and Shetland, will be a collaborative arts project with an inter-island cultural exhibition of artefacts, a publication, touring musical events, arts/crafts workshops and intergenerational skills sharing.
The LEADER scheme requires that 5% of the total allocation for the area has to be spent on co-operative projects.
Although the project will be led A Lanntair, an arts centre in the Western Isles, it will create an ambitious series of collaborative arts, heritage and music events, across all three island groups and create a legacy for future working practices. The total project costs £123,654 with a Orkney LEADER contribution of £41,218.00.
The other five projects to receive funding were:
Making Yoghurt and Farmhouse Cheese – a farm diversification project – to renovate an old building and create a facility to produce yoghurt and farmhouse cheese from the farms’ own milk. Total project costs £60,416.91 with a LEADER contribution of £30,208.45.
St Magnus Way Phase 2 – a tourism/heritage sector project – to assist with including way markers and interpretation boards along the 55-mile walking route as well as a new pilgrim passport incorporating local businesses and updating the website to reflect these changes. Total project costs £16,946.09 with a LEADER contribution of £8,473.05.
Ness of Brodgar Development Project Phase 2 – a tourism/heritage sector project – to build on the Phase 1 project employing two staff to apply for large specialised grants, produce a collation of all the research work, find and artwork undertaken to date into a comprehensive interim report, explore further access to new audiences for the Ness and continue assisting the excavation work. Total project costs £119,751.00 with a LEADER contribution of £59,869.00.
Linkshouse Residency Centre – a community sector project – to convert and upgrade the interior of Linkshouse, Birsay, to create and adaptable and accessible residential facility with studio space to allow creative and educational residential courses to be held by The Pier Arts Centre and others. Total project costs £192,240.00 with a LEADER contribution of £18,839.52.
North Isles Landscape Partnership Scheme – Staff Costs – an environmental sector project – to employ three staff to deliver the NILPS projects in the North Isles including biodiversity, habitat creation and management, an oral history project, development of heritage centres as well as traditional skills training. Total project costs £185,323.56 with a LEADER contribution of £66,716.49.
Francesca Couperwhite is Chair of the Local Action Group, which determines fund applications. She said: "It is particularly pleasing to see the range of projects that the LAG considered and approved at the last meeting.
“This round has seen projects supporting farm diversification, tourism, archaeology, the creative industries and as well as the natural and cultural heritage of the north isles.
“The co-operation project with Shetland and the Outer Hebrides is an exciting opportunity to foster support joint working and sharing of skills and expertise in music, arts, heritage and crafts.”
LEADER is part of the Scotland Rural Development Programme which funds economic, environmental and social measures for the benefit of rural Scotland.
Orkney’s £2.5m LEADER programme offers funding for projects that are led by the local community or are in the local community’s interest, with the aim to provide economic and community development within Orkney.