New children’s book festival set for Arran

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Arran will be home to a new children’s book festival next year.

The Wee Mac Children’s Book Festival will be held next September and is being organised by the Arran Theatre and Arts Trust (ATAT). Although planning is still at the early state it is hoped that it will give young people access to a relaxed, festival experience with the opportunity to meet and interact with authors.

This week the trust received a welcome cash boost through CalMac’s new Community Fund.  Heather Gough from ATAT said:  ‘Arran Theatre and Arts Trust is delighted with this award and very grateful to CalMac for helping us to further develop an interest in reading and writing in our young people.’

A second award from the community fund has gone to Corrie Primary Parent Council who will use the money to launch a Swimming for Life project with the aim of having all pupils ‘deep water safe’ by the end of the teaching session. So far the fund has supported 39 projects across west coast communities.

CalMac’s director of community and stakeholder engagement Brian Fulton said: ‘The response since we made the first round of awards earlier in the year has been fantastic.  We are already seeing the awards put to good use in the Western Isles and I’m delighted that we are able to help both of these organisations on Arran. The projects are very different but the aims are similar, equipping young people with life skills that will open up new opportunities for them.’

Each application was judged by a screening panel of young people recruited from across the company’s network, in partnership with Young Scot.

The book festival is likely to be held on the weekend of Saturday September 12, 2020.

Sidebar: Community fund to be expanded

Demand from west coast youth groups for CalMac’s new Community Fund has been so strong that the company has decided to expand it.

Now they are looking for a further round of applications from non-profit organisations looking for support for a project or activity that will benefit young people aged 26 and under. Organisations based in a mainland port or island the company serves can apply for £500 to £2,000.

CalMac’s director of community and stakeholder engagement, Brian Fulton said: ‘We have been bowled over by the demand from groups up and down the west coast. There is clearly a need for this type of support within the communities we serve, so I’m delighted to announce the extension of the fund for another round this year.

‘So far we have made awards to some truly innovative projects that will really make a difference to the lives of young people in our island and coastal communities. I’m really looking forward to seeing what this next batch of applications brings in.’

Organisations who have applied unsuccessfully are welcome to submit a new application, but successful applicants cannot apply again.

Application form and full terms and conditions can be found at at

Corrie Primary Parent Council with Fiona Hamilton-Bulger port assistant at Brodick. Photograph: