Local areas across Scotland are set to benefit from a share of £25 million to help regenerate their communities. The joint Scottish Government and COSLA investment will inject new life and opportunity into disadvantaged and fragile rural areas, helping support or create more than 2,300 jobs, support some 50 community facilities and services and refurbish or bring back into use around 25 local buildings.
For Orkney phase 1 of the Orkney Research Campus has been awarded £500,000. The 3.75-acre campus will support the growth of existing research and innovation activity and the expansion of companies in Orkney’s world-leading marine renewables, energy and low carbon sector. It will also attract additional research activities to Orkney, both from the commercial and academic worlds.
Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has approved up to £5.15 million for the project. This includes £1.48 million of European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) money administered by HIE.
Orkney Islands Council is to provide £1.5 million in funding. The Council will also transfer the ownership of the Old Academy and former Stromness primary school as part of a partnership agreement with HIE.
The two adjoining buildings will be refurbished, updated and extended to create the campus. The aim is to attract academic institutions and businesses with an interest in carrying out a wide range of research projects in an island setting. This could include research linked to Orkney’s energy resources, transport needs, culture and economy.It is intended that work to create the Orkney Research and Innovation Campus will begin on site before the end of 2017.
On awarding the Regeneration Capital Grant, Local Government Minister for the Scottish Government, Kevin Stewart said:
“I am delighted that 29 fantastic locally-driven projects will benefit from this major injection of funding. Spanning the length and breadth of the country, they will help regenerate local areas, stimulate economic growth and create new jobs.”
“The focus of the projects range from tackling social isolation to services to address health inequalities, educational attainment, support ex-offenders and boost tourism. They are an excellent example of how national and local government are working together on shared priorities that benefit local communities.”
“I’m also pleased to announce that RCGF funding has been confirmed until 2021 – and that a call for applications to the fund for 2018/19 will be made shortly.”
Councillor Stephen Hagan, COSLA Spokesperson for Development, Economy and Sustainability said:
“The diversity of the projects being supported is a testament to innovative thinking from local communities where regeneration activity is being tailored to local circumstances.”
The Regeneration Capital Grant Fund (RCGF), which supports projects in disadvantaged areas that engage and involve local communities is open to all 32 Scottish local authorities. An independent panel makes recommendations on which projects should receive funding.