Community farm gets funds to buy more land

Andy and Jennifer Macdonald at Woodside Farm.

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An Arran farming initiative is one of the first projects to benefit from the £2 million Islands Green Recovery Programme.

The Inspiring Scotland fund, to support community recovery projects, has awarded Woodside Arran CIC in Kildonan a grant of £35,000.

Owners Jennifer and Andy Macdonald will use the funds to purchase agricultural land to grow and supply more  fresh vegetables locally and develop fresh food vending machines for the community.

As well as local food production, seaweed farming and environmentally friendly washing for B&Bs are just some of the initial initiatives to benefit from the community-focused green funding.

The £900,000 community funding managed by Inspiring Scotland sought applications from island community groups, charities and businesses to support capital expenditure projects that contribute to the green recovery, reduce carbon emissions as well as improve the resilience, health and wellbeing for island communities.

Jennifer of Woodside Arran said: ‘Receiving the Island Green Recovery Grant is going to have such a lasting impact for Woodside Arran.

‘We are now going to be in a position to feed and support our community throughout the challenges that both Brexit and the Covid recovery period will bring.’

Islands minister Paul Wheelhouse said: ‘These fascinating projects, driven by the ideas of islanders themselves, will help our island communities to thrive, contribute to our work on population retention and repopulation.

‘They will also help to create new jobs while also supporting and enhancing health and wellbeing and the development of local supply chains and the associated economic output that comes with this, in line with the commitments set out in the National Islands Plan.

‘The £2 million Islands Green Recovery Programme will support a recovery that drives investment that lowers greenhouse gas emissions while increasing the resilience of island communities through investment in: a range of active and low carbon transport projects; environmentally-safe tourism; food sustainability; and zero waste projects that support and impact upon the green circular economy and related employment and I really look forward to seeing the positive impacts of these projects.’

Inspiring Scotland chief executive Celia Tennant said: ‘We are delighted to be able to support a wide range of locally-led green projects through Scottish Government’s investments.

‘This support will make a vital contribution to the economic, environmental, and social wellbeing of our island communities and we look forward to working alongside each project to maximise the impact of this programme.’