PR Grant Awards 2021-R2

PRESS RELEASE CNSF2021PR039 (01-06-2021)


Community groups in Caithness & North Sutherland are to benefit from over £76k following the CNSFund’s latest round of grant awards.

Bower Busy Bees ELC has been granted £20,000 to help create a purpose-built outdoor shelter facility that will enable the rural early learning centre to offer pre-school children a much better and engaging outdoor learning experience. The outdoor facility will consist of a cabin structure equipped with an adjoining composting toilet as well as being wheelchair accessible.

Bower Busy Bees ELC Treasurer Dr Neil James said “We are delighted to have been awarded a grant from the CNSFund which takes us closer towards reaching our funding target. The funds represent an enormous boost to the development of the nursery through the building of an accessible outdoor facility.  Bower Busy Bees prides itself on offering a unique early learning experience with an emphasis on outdoor learning. The new facility, to be located within the onsite forest, will allow children attending the nursery to spend more time connected with nature and the environment, especially during the winter months. It will also enable an accessible and practical solution that complements the existing infrastructure of the setting and increases our capacity to take more two year olds and children with additional support needs.  The outdoor facility will be an investment in line with the unique ethos of the nursery that benefits the local community and provides the county with a long term and sustainable option for outdoor learning at an early age.”

Other grant awards included £23,650 to Dunbeath Preservation Trust towards the costs of creating a new Development Officer post.   The Trust manages the Dunbeath Heritage Centre and the new role will enable the Trust to recruit and train more volunteers as well as enhance the heritage museum’s social media presence.  A community engagement programme and community consultation will also be carried out to help inform an action plan for utilising the Trust’s historical buildings.

Helmsdale Crafty Sew & Sews was awarded £23,329.73 for new sewing machines, equipment and materials. The new equipment will used by the group’s volunteer sewers to upcycle used or unwanted materials and convert them into second life items for environmental and community benefit.  Based at the Helmsdale Community Centre, the group will also provide community workshops and events to promote the learning of sewing and craft fabric skills as well as raising awareness of the environmental impact of materials and unwanted items going to landfill.

Thurso Players saw £7,000 awarded towards its history display project to create a large wall panel history display that will portray the evolution of the Mill Theatre complex and the history of the Thurso Players.  The multi panel display will be designed from a series of engagement workshops that will be captured using new IT equipment.  The history display will be installed in the Mill Theatre as part of a preliminary phase of activities to support the drama group’s Foundry building restoration plans.  A new theatre piece and website enhancements will also be undertaken.

North Coast Connection was granted £2,573.47 to carry out improvements to the Kyle Centre’s community garden.  The charity manages the community wellbeing centre at Tongue and provides a range of activities to older people and other groups, helping to address rural isolation.  The centre uses produce from the garden for its popular community lunch club.  The improvements will include installing new raised beds and new path work to improve garden access. Other improvements include display information and the creation of a memories garden area.

Gillian Coghill, CNSFund Chairperson said “We are pleased to support these wide-ranging community initiatives which collectively have an emphasis on delivering environmental, social, cultural and infrastructure improvements.  As always, we continue to look forward to supporting worthy proposals that meet our improvement aims.  We want our funding to help as many groups as possible, especially during these challenging times and we are particularly keen to encourage community groups who have not previously applied’’

 The CNSFund was established to distribute a £4M funding package provided by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority as a result of the low-level waste facility built near Dounreay.  Grants are distributed in line with the NDA’s socio economic policy.  Applications are assessed quarterly and the next application closing date is the 25th of June.  The quarterly application schedule and how to apply can be found at or by contacting the Fund Coordinator David Shearer on  Tel: 07841 204 982.