A EUROPEAN cash grant to the tune of £67,000 will help take a raft of projects earmarked for the Ettrick and Yarrow Valleys to the next stage.
The money is from the Leader rural grants programme and, together with £10,000 from the National Lottery, will help fund the next phase of the Valley Development Project.
It will again be managed by the Southern Upland Partnership, but be based in the Buccleuch Estates offices at Bowhill, near Selkirk.
The funding will help progress projects identified during the recent community consultation.
Each of the projects and proposed schemes still requires work in the form of feasibility studies, design work or scoping studies to establish exact requirements and costs, and the Leader monies will pay for these, plus cover the costs of a year-long position for a part-time development worker.
Match-funding is being provided in kind by Buccleuch Estates in the shape of office space and project co-ordinators have been able to count a substantial amount of volunteer time towards the match funding requirement.
Chair of the Valleys Steering Group, Councillor Vicky Davidson (Selkirkshire, LD), commented: “I’m delighted that both our funding applications have been successful as this takes the Valleys Project to the next stage in terms of developing project ideas and means we can keep up the energy, enthusiasm and commitment which has built up over the last two years in both valleys.
“We can now progress various projects which will enhance life in the valleys and help to make living and working in the valleys a more viable and sustainable option in the future.
“It also shows continued faith by the funding agencies that we are on the right track.”
Pip Tabor of the Southern Upland Partnership added: “We are delighted that this project is moving ahead on so many fronts. The approach taken in the valleys has attracted a lot of attention, both locally and from further afield.
“It shows what communities can do for themselves when the right support structures are in place. We look forward to seeing some of these exciting projects being realised over the months ahead.”
The projects involved include feasibility work on a Minchmoor to Yarrowford cycle trail; a Yarrow off-road section of Bowhill Cycle loop; a hydro scheme; a pilot creative residency based on the Ettrick inspiration for James Hogg and/or William Johnston; a circular off-road walking route around St Mary’s Loch; a scheme for support in marketing valleys tourism businesses; and a link toll road from the head of the Ettrick Valley down to the A708 to link with Moffat.