A NEW Island Communities Fund has been announced by the Scottish Government, with grants of up to £150,000 available to applicants.

Businesses and community groups located across Scotland’s inhabited islands can apply for the funding towards projects focussed on supporting sustainable island economies and the journey towards net zero.

The fund is backed by £2 million of Scottish Government funding, which comes from the £9.5 million committed to the Islands Programme for 2021-22.

Islands Secretary Mairi Gougeon commented: "Each of our islands are unique, so I look forward to seeing the development of innovative ICF projects that recognise the particular and distinct challenges facing individual communities. The ICF will help our islands to thrive through community-led initiatives that contribute to our ongoing population priorities. Projects will support employment, community resilience and a green economic recovery from the ongoing impacts of the pandemic.

“This fund will help to deliver projects that contribute to Scotland’s fair and just transition to net zero and to climate resilient living on our islands," she continued. "We’re looking for ‘shovel-ready’ green infrastructure activities to support a strong and sustainable future for our islands.

“This fund builds on the success of and learning from the Islands Green Recovery Programme and supports the delivery of the National Islands Plan at a grassroots level.”

Grant applications will be submitted through Inspiring Scotland and applicants are encouraged to put forward ‘shovel-ready’ island-based community-led projects with details on how it will contribute to a successful and sustainable future for the islands and support employment and community resilience.

Inspiring Scotland's CEO Celia Tennant added: “We are delighted to be able to partner with the Scottish Government on the delivery of the National Islands Plan. The Island Communities Fund will support local communities and organisations to develop their local economy and support local employment in an environmentally responsible way - a vital step towards supporting wellbeing while reducing our collective impact on the planet.”

Interested applicants should apply by Friday July 16 by completing the online form https://www.tfaforms.com/4909799