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Projects in the Cairngorms National Park nominated for innovation award

16th October 2014

People across the Cairngorms National Park are being encouraged to vote in the first ever Rural Innovators Awards, with several projects across the Park having been nominated – but voting closes tomorrow (Friday 17th October)! The winners of each category will be announced on Monday 20th October with an overall winner to be revealed at the inaugural Scottish Rural Parliament in Oban next month.

The Rural Innovators Awards recognise a project, person or organisation which is improving life in rural communities by tackling one of the following priority challenges:

  • rural businesses and employment;
  • land use, planning and land reform;
  • transport infrastructure;
  • protecting our natural assets and adapting to environmental changes;
  • broadband and connectivity;
  • and support for communities to lead with confidence.

Duncan Bryden, Convener of the Cairngorms National Park Authority said: “I am delighted to see so many projects in the National Park nominated for an award. There are so many vibrant communities and organisations here and all of them are really making a difference to the lives of residents and visitors alike. The Park Authority is delighted to have been involved with all of the nominees in some form or another of the years.” 

The projects nominated are:

The Badenoch & Strathspey Community Transport Company has been nominated in the Transport Infrastructure Category. It is a charitable organisation which has been delivering much needed community transport solutions since 1997. BSCTC is constantly evolving to meet the needs of its clients and the local community, offering unique and diverse services.

The Braemar Community has renovated a castle, brought history to life with walks and maps, they organise an arts festival, there is a community orchard, better transport, a youth club and shelter, improved tourism facilities, a hydro scheme and much more. They have achieved a great deal in a short space of time and as such are nominated in the Communities Leading with Confidence Category.

In the Broadband and Digital Connectivity section, the Badenoch Broadband & Communications Community Interest Company is a community broadband provider. After four years of fund-raising, building five transmission masts and connecting customers, over 100 properties and businesses are subscribed to the service at speeds up to 16 times faster than the exchange. Everything has been designed and built by community volunteers and is supported and maintained using skills from within the community.

The Cairngorms Outdoor Access Trust (COAT) is an innovative environmental charity working to promote sustainable public access across the Cairngorms National Park and beyond. It delivers access infrastructure, management and skills training that meets the needs of communities, underpins a wide range of outdoor recreation and active health, and helps secure conservation of the outstanding nature of the Cairngorms. COAT has been nominated in the Land Use, Planning and Reform category.

To vote for any of the above projects to win a Rural Innovators Award you can visit the Scottish Rural Parliament website:

Finally, voting in the Rural Business and Employment Category has now closed but Tomintoul & Glenlivet Development Trust was one of the nominees. Since it was established the Trust has taken forward a wide range of projects with the aim of boosting the local economy including the new Smugglers Hostel and the redeveloped visitor information centre and museum.

The first Scottish Rural Parliament takes place in Oban from 6th– 8th November.  It will bring together around 400 delegates from across the country with the aim of developing and agreeing a way forward for rural Scotland. The event will also celebrate the strengths and achievements of rural communities. The creation of a Scottish Rural Parliament is inspired by similar initiatives in other countries in Europe. It is not a formal part of government, nor is it a parliament in the sense of a legislative or decision-making body but is a ‘bottom-up’ process of involvement and debate between the people of rural Scotland and policy makers to enable better understanding, improved policy and action to address rural issues.