Community projects celebrating Scotland's seas and waterways win £150,000 funding

From river rangers to ocean-inspired artwork, sea safaris to saltmarsh stories, Gaelic song and orca-watching, community groups across Scotland are to share almost £150,000 of government funding to celebrate Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters.

The announcement, which comes on World Ocean Day, reveals 24 projects that will share the money.

The funding comes from the Plunge In! Coasts and Waters Community Fund, launched by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) earlier this year.

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The schemes highlight the diversity of Scotland’s shorelines and waterways.

Scottish Natural Heritage has awarded almost £150,000 to 24 projects celebrating the country's coasts and waters

Initiatives including revamped shelters for nature reserves in Glasgow, a celebration of the landscape and wildlife on the island of Eigg, a new song on the history and biodiversity of the Water of Leith and help for young people to discover more about what lies beneath the sea in the Outer Hebrides.

Water everywhere

Although many of the projects have had to delay plans until next year as a result of coronavirus restrictions, others are ready to get under way with innovative solutions such as online talks and events, art parcels for local residents and virtual song sessions.

The fund has been set up to help more people engage and connect with Scotland’s seas, coasts, lochs, rivers, streams and wetlands, as well as their unique wildlife.

Another objective is to leave a legacy from 2020, for example through improved skills and knowledge or the creation of a community resource.

SNH chief executive Francesca Osowska said: “We had an amazing response to this fund and the breadth and variety of our 24 successful projects really goes to show just how much there is to celebrate about our coastlines and waterways, their landscapes, biodiversity and wildlife.

“The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has inevitably impacted on the ability of some projects to get under way this summer, but we look forward to supporting them to deliver their activities into 2021.

“Meanwhile, it’s fantastic that some projects have found a way to use technology to get started and plunge right in.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing all of these projects progress and am sure that through their creativity and enthusiasm they will secure a real and lasting legacy for the year, connecting more people with our coasts and waters in communities up and down the country.”

Successful projects

Project Ability: Explore and respond to the flora and fauna at the RSPB Scotland Loch Leven reserve

A group of people with learning disabilities will have the opportunity to visit and learn about Loch Leven National Nature Reserve and its flora and fauna.

Belhelvie Community Trust: Focus on the Beach

This project will raise awareness of Balmedie beach and its wildlife, history and local facilities in the local community, while also promoting the area to a wider audience.

Voluntary Arts Scotland: ‘Mouth of the River’: A Song to Celebrate the Water of Leith

Local choirs will lead a celebration of the Water of Leith, its rich history, biodiversity and nearby communities, through song-writing and performance – culminating in a new song for the city.

Sea Watch Foundation: Orca Watch

This project aims to increase participation and engagement of local communities in recording sightings of whales and dolphins in the waters around northern Scotland.

Stranraer Development Trust: Coastal Heritage Education Programme

This programme will help to deliver coastal heritage education in Stranraer, through drama performances, artworks and film-making.

Lewis and Harris Youth Club Association: The North Harris Snorkel Trail Challenge

Opportunities will be provided for young people to learn to snorkel on the North Harris Snorkel Trail, and to celebrate and promote their experiences.

The SCAPE Trust: Celebrating Brora’s coastal sea salt-making history

This project will celebrate Brora’s history in salt-making and engage the local community in restoration and educational activities.

Dumbarton Area Council on Alcohol: Out of the Blue – a journey of recovery and improvement

Providing experiences travelling from source to sea, while reflecting on personal recovery journeys.

Isle of Eigg Residents Association: Eigg-splore our Coasts and Waters!

An opportunity to celebrate Eigg’s stunning landscape and wildlife through walks, talks, music, arts and sailing.

Curious Pilgrims: Sonic Outreach Shetland

Young people will explore, celebrate and promote Shetland’s world of hidden, natural coastal and sea sounds through audio technology and creative participation.

Friends of Glasgow’s Local Nature Reserves: Nature Shelters for Lochside Learning

Installing innovative shelters in nature reserves in Glasgow, that celebrate the importance of Scotland’s freshwaters to people and nature.

Cromarty Courthouse Museum: The Sea Inside

A celebration of the connections between the Cromarty community and the sea, through collaborative artworks and seafaring stories.

Taigh Chearsabhagh Museum & Arts Centre: Tide Lines

This project aims to increase awareness and share ideas on building resilience in the face of changing coastlines on North Uist.

RIG Arts: The Reflection Project

The Reflection Project will creatively promote Inverclyde’s stunning coastal position and important water heritage sites.

Wigtown Festival Company: The Saltmarsh Library: Solway to Sea

The creation of a book about Wigtown’s saltmarsh, its nature, and its place in the town’s history to raise awareness of this habitat’s importance to the area.

Feeling Strong: Making Waves

Making Waves will connect young people from Dundee with coastal and freshwater locations around Scotland, showcasing their experiences through mixed-media artworks.

Platform (Glasgow East Arts Company): A Sense of the Lochs

This project aims to connect and engage young people in the north-east of Glasgow with the expansive Seven Lochs Wetland Park located on their doorstep.

SEALL (Skye Events for All): Fèis an Eilein:The Skye Festival

The Skye Festival will deliver a diverse programme of events celebrating Skye’s coasts and waters.

ScrapAntics: Celebrating Our Coast – interactive arts festival and coastal trail

An interactive arts festival to celebrate the globally significant status of the marine, estuarine and coastal species and habitats along the Dundee coastline through the lens of social history.

St Andrews Preservation Trust: Exploring our waters with virtual reality: climate change

This innovative project will enable community and visitors to plunge into the waters around St Andrews and explore the underwater environment using Virtual Reality technology.

Belville Community Garden Trust: River Clyde Rangers

The Belville Community Garden Trust will establish the outdoor learning scheme ‘River Rangers’ with activities centred around the River Clyde and its ecology.

Paragon Music: Whoosh!

This project aims to use science and the arts to encourage engagement in Scotland’s coasts and waters and to explore water-based renewable energies.

Fèis na Linne: Spring Tide

Spring Tide will establish a Coasts and Waters song-stream by sharing and celebrating twenty selected Gaelic sea songs and their stories.

Thurso Community Development Trust: Discover Thurso’s Coast

This project will deliver a programme of activities that encourage the local community and visitors to celebrate and enjoy the coastal waters around Thurso.

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