The Fallago Environment Fund, which shares the benefits of the Fallago Rig Wind Farm in the Lammermuir Hills with projects in the Borders, has launched a £30,000 Covid-19 paths recovery fund.
Community groups are being urged to apply for grants of up to £2,500 from the fund to help finance work that will enable the public to exercise safely on local routes.
Unable to access gyms or other indoor spaces during lockdown, people have increasingly turned to outdoor exercise. And while this has been beneficial for health, the increased traffic has caused many paths to deteriorate.
The Fallago Environment Fund hopes its grant allocation, with payments made up-front, will enable infrastructure to be repaired as quickly as possible .
Gareth Baird, chairman of Fallago Environment Fund, said: “While Covid restrictions have been in place, outdoor exercise in our beautiful countryside has delivered enormous physical and mental health benefits for thousands of Borders residents, however the number of people enjoying our rural pathways has led to significant wear and tear in parts of the path network.
"We’re delighted that through this new windfarm-generated support scheme, the Fallago Environment Fund can help groups across the region to maintain, repair and improve these important routes so that communities can continue to safely enjoy the many advantages that outdoor exercise can bring.”
The initiative is the second Covid-specific grant scheme to be developed by the fund, which in 2020 launched a special Covid-19 Recovery Programme that saw 38 Borders organisations share £100,000 in grants to help improve wellbeing and reduce the negative impact of social isolation.
The pathway grant scheme will be administered by community development charity The Bridge. Details on the application process can be found at www.the-bridge.uk.net or by emailing [email protected]
To qualify for a grant, applicants should aim to complete path repair work by September 2021. Match funding of 10% in cash or in kind, including volunteer effort, is also required.