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Rural funding in the Cairngorms National Park – help is at hand

17th June 2008

A new service aimed at helping land managers, rural businesses and communities make the most of the new Scotland Rural Development Programme (SRDP) as well as help contribute to the vision set out in the Cairngorms National Park Plan has been launched by the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA).

The aim of the service is to ensure that all those eligible to apply to the SRDP are aware of this national programme – which represents a significant shift in how rural funding is delivered throughout Scotland – and how to make the most of it. In addition to the information and advice available from the Scottish Government, the CNPA, with partners, is embarking on a programme of further promotion of the SRDP in a bid to encourage a whole host of good quality applications that will help protect and enhance the Cairngorms National Park for generations to come.

The £1.6billion SRDP for 2007-2013 provides the framework to deliver European and Scottish Government funding promoting social, economic and environmental benefits across rural Scotland.

Funding is being delivered through a range of measures including the European funded LEADER programme, which is managed locally by the Cairngorms Local Action Group and is aimed at community driven enterprises that are innovative in nature, will enhance the local area and help economic development. For land managers and other rural businesses in the Cairngorms National Park, SRDP’s Rural Development Contracts – Rural Priorities’ is likely to be a key funding source.

As part of the CNPA’s work with partners to promote SRDP to land managers in the Park, two dedicated land management support officers have been employed to help identify potential projects and encourage good quality applications to the programme from across the Park.

Zoë Taylor and Gordon McConachie have been employed by the CNPA for a period of two years to help get the SRDP in the Cairngorms National Park off to a good start. They will be working with land managers and others to identify projects which will help to deliver many of the actions contained within the Cairngorms National Park Plan as well as meet the Rural Priorities set out for the three regions in the Park (Highland, Tayside and Grampian).

Applications to ‘Rural Development Contracts – Rural Priorities’ are being asked to deliver benefits for the people of Scotland such as habitat improvements or improved outdoor access. In many cases projects will involve a variety of land managers or owners coming together to deliver these projects – or benefits – on a landscape scale. However, it’s not just land managers that can apply, rural businesses, community groups and some other organisations will also meet the criteria for applying to ‘Rural Development Contracts – Rural Priorities’ for funding support.

In addition to the support being offered by Zoë and Gordon, a series of information roadshows are taking place in and around the Park in July (see local press for details); the CNPA has produced a leaflet with specific information on the SRDP in the Park and further news and information about the programme will also be available via an electronic newsletter (details on how to subscribe to this service coming soon).

Alastair MacLennan, CNPA board member said: “Land managers, rural organisations and communities have a crucial role to play in helping to deliver the actions in the National Park Plan and protect and enhance the special qualities of the area. SRDP is a new approach to delivering funding support for rural Scotland so it is important that the Park Authority can help land managers and others negotiate the Scotland Rural Development Programme effectively. That way the very best can be made of the programme from the start with lasting benefits for everyone.”

For more information or to receive a leaflet about SRDP in the Cairngorms National Park contact Zoë or Gordon on tel: 01479 870512 or email: [email protected] For more information about LEADER contact Patricia Methven on tel: 01479 870515 or email: [email protected]