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SEVEN local projects awarded £500,000 of EU money

By Alistair Whitfield

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A SERIES of workshops highlighting how discarded rubbish can be made beautiful is amongst seven local projects awarded grants by Moray LEADER.

Going Nova has been given £11,812 towards running 20 workshops across Moray over the next 12 months showing how waste plastic, old fabric and used bicycle tyre tubes can be turned into items of value.

A Lossiemouth brewery is also one of the projects given a grant by Moray LEADER.

Windswept has received £53,640 to develop and market a new product line, made in cooperation with a partner firm in Belgium.

Another project to benefit is the newly open Moray Sports Centre which has been given £48,650 to help build the first play park of its kind in the North of Scotland.

The inclusive park will include swings and roundabouts designed to accommodate wheelchairs, as well as other equipment that can be enjoyed by both fully-abled and disabled children.

The LEADER programme (an acronym in French – Liaison entre actions de développement de l'économie rurale – meaning links between actions for the development of the rural economy) is a European Union initiative to revitalise rural areas and create jobs.

More than £2 million of funds have been allocated to projects in Moray during the current programme, which began in 2014 and is administered locally by the Moray Local Action Group.

Alastair Kennedy, the chairman of the Moray Local Action Group, said: "Despite a delayed start to the programme locally, reaching the full budget allocation for Moray is now in sight.

"The broad range of projects funded throughout the programme demonstrates the value of community-led local development, in helping support rural communities to overcome the challenges they face and harnessing the opportunities available to them."

Other awards include £214,369 to tsiMORAY, an organisation which supports charities and not-for-profit businesses.

This cash will be used towards the staffing of a new team of Community Development Officers, who will be based at different sites across Moray.

A total of £37,233 has been given to Thorabella Farm at Dallas to support the purchase of a refrigerated van, a shepherd's hut and the development of a new website for its plan to create a new portable farm shop.

Moray Wellbeing Hub on Batchen Street, Elgin, has received £114,639 to expand its support of vulnerable and disadvantaged people.

Finally, £25,340 will be put towards Foraging Fortnight, a wild food festival starting this September, which will be run in co-operation with five other LEADER areas in Scotland.

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