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Caithness.org News Bulletins -  November 2002

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Communities and organisations in Caithness and Sutherland, Ross and Cromarty, Skye and Lochalsh, Nairn and rural Inverness areas are invited to apply for funding now available through the European Union, North Leader Plus Programme.

Over the life of the programme, which runs from 2002 to 2008, North Highland Leader Plus will release around £5.7 million for community projects, 45% of which will come from Europe.  The Programme which is aimed at young people and rural communities across the north and west of Highland is administered by The Highland Wellbeing Alliance and is co-financed by a range of partners, including Scottish Natural Heritage, Highlands and Islands Enterprise Network, and The Highland Council, as well as private and charitable organisations.

This programme will allow a broad range of initiatives to be funded under the three themes of:
 - Youth development making Highland the best place in Scotland to be young;
 - Using Highlands natural and cultural heritage to sustain communities; and
 - Unlocking creativity.

The main aim of the programme is: "To achieve a significant and lasting improvement in the quality of life of the North Highland area and its communities, by making it the best place in Scotland to be young and by enhancing the value of its natural and cultural heritage."

Although young people (aged 14 to 25) and community groups are the prime targets for the programme, it will also be of direct benefit to small and micro-businesses, to the unemployed and to women in the North Highlands.

This programme will allow a broad range of initiatives to be funded under the two themes of youth development and use of the area’s natural and cultural heritage as a means of delivering community development. It will also encourage projects that unlock creativity and innovation ranging from dance and drama to heritage surveys or volunteering.

The Programme will be very much community orientated with representatives from the community and from interest groups making up 50% of the advisory groups who will decide on where the money should go. Young people will comprise 50% of the local partnership groups who will decide on how some 60% of the youth theme budget should be spent.

To register an interest in the North Highland Leader Plus Programme organisations and community groups should contact Programme Administrator, Wendy Gordon at the North Highland Leader Plus Partnership on tel: 01463 702548 or email: wendy.gordon@highland.gov.uk 

The Highland Wellbeing Alliance is the community planning partnership for Highland involving The Highland Council, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Northern Constabulary, NHS Highland, Scottish Natural Heritage, Communities Scotland, the Voluntary Sector and the Scottish Council for Development and Industry. The partnership also has links to a wide range of public, private and voluntary sector agencies.