Elgin and Keith projects net almost £105k in LEADER funding

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Fergus Ewing with Leanne McHardy of KeRBS and Angus Dixon of Elgin’s Orchard.

TWO MORE MORAY PROJECTS are to benefit from funding during a visit by a Cabinet Secretary to the Moray LEADER programme team.

Fergus Ewing MSP, who is Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and Connectivity, called in this week as Elgin’s Orchard and Keith Skatepark received almost £105,000 between them.

The two projects include an innovative mobile apple juice production enterprise and improvements to Keith’s ‘much-loved’ skatepark, providing a safe and accessible recreational space for local young people to use.

Receiving £80,726, Elgin’s Orchard Ltd has been awarded funding to process apples and other produce into juice. The award will cover the cost of machinery to handle, wash, crush and press fruit and vegetables and to pasteurize and bottle the juice and label the bottles.

The operation is based at Kirkhill Farm, Elgin but the machinery will be installed on a trailer pulled by a 4×4 vehicle, allowing a juice making service to be offered around Moray and north east Scotland. The award will cover 70% of the total eligible project costs.

Keith Rollerbladers, BMX and Skateboarders – better known as KeRBS – receive £24,040.93 towards the redevelopment of their skate park in the Cuthil Park area of Keith.

The project provides a safe and accessible space for local young people to use, providing outdoor recreational leisure and service provision that supports them to gain social skills and confidence in a sport they are passionate about. The award will cover 62.4% of the total eligible project costs.

Fergus Ewing said: “I was pleased to visit Moray LEADER and hear about the high level of interest in the programme, and the excellent support provided to applicants by the team.

“Moray LEADER is the only LEADER programme in Scotland to be run by a local third sector organisation, tsiMORAY, and have so far committed more than half a million pounds towards innovative local projects that invest in Moray’s economic and community development.”

Norman MacAskill, Moray LEADER Programme Manager, added: “We are delighted that the Cabinet Secretary has recognized the uniqueness of Moray LEADER by visiting us for an update today.

“His interest and support is very much appreciated by the team and the Local Action Group, who manage the programme. We have been able to tell him the good news about Moray LEADER’s success so far, and brief him on the large number of applications for funding that we are expecting over the next few months.

“Our review of our Local Development Strategy is well under way, and we look forward to targeting LEADER funding as effectively as possible in 2018.”

Fabio Villani, Chief Officer of tsiMORAY, concluded: “From day one, the Scottish Government have supported the idea of tsiMORAY running the Moray LEADER Programme, and it was great to have this opportunity to brief the Cabinet Secretary on progress so far.

“Community-led local development works best when it is truly community-led, and I hope that Moray LEADER will be seen as a model for how to run similar programmes in future.”