The fund is open to non-profit organisations, and applications must be for a project or activities that benefit children and young people aged 26 and under. Organisations can apply for £500 to £2000.
CalMac’s director of community and stakeholder engagement, Brian Fulton, said: “The establishment of a Community Fund was a key commitment by the company to help build stronger ties with the communities we support and to have a positive impact on people within them in addition to delivering transport links. I’m delighted we are now in position to reach out for applications.
“The scope of use for this money is extremely flexible and I’m really looking forward to seeing some creative applications on how it can be used to help positively impact young people’s lives within our communities.’
“We are targeting 30 awards in year one, and will monitor interest levels in the fund over the course of the year, with each application being judged on its own merits.”
Community awards will be made across six separate areas by region and will be made in three rounds during the course of the year.
Each application will be judged by a screening panel of young people recruited from across the company’s network in partnership with Young Scot.
Minister for energy, connectivity and the islands, Paul Wheelhouse, said: “The Scottish Government is committed to improving our nation’s ferry services to support economic, social and cultural development of island and remote communities. I welcome CalMac taking this fund forward, helping building stronger bonds with these areas.
“I would like to encourage as many organisations as possible to get involved and put forward their innovative and exciting ideas to enhance the lives of young people in the communities CalMac serves.”
Organisations can access an online application form and see full terms and conditions at www.calmac.co.uk/community-fund. The first round of applications are being accepted from non-profit organisations based in the Western Isles from March 1.