PR Grant Awards 2020-R2


Three community projects are to benefit from over £48k of funding following the Caithness & North Sutherland Fund’s latest grant awards.

CNSFund Chairperson David Glass said “Our latest grant awards help to further enhance community facilities and attractions that will contribute towards a sustainable future for our area. These latest community projects will not only benefit those living here, but will also support our tourism sector after visitor restrictions are removed.   We also wish to highlight that we are continuing to accept applications during the current pandemic. Our staff are working from home and we are conducting our assessment meetings by teleconferencing to ensure as little disruption as possible.   We are also liaising with our grant recipients who have had to postpone some of their planned events or activities in order to look at how these can be rescheduled where this is possible”. 

The Association of Northern Trails Scotland was granted £30,000 towards the costs of creating a new trail development manager post to take the John O’Groats Trail project forward through its next development stage. This will involve the delivery of a two-year major development programme that will see further trail developments and activities as well as promoting the walking trail on a much wider scale.

Jay Wilson, Chair of the Association of Northern Trails Scotland, said “We are very grateful for the funding support awarded by the CNSFund. Our work to date, which has been carried out by dedicated volunteers, has demonstrated that the John O’Groats Trail project is a viable destination for walkers from around the world, as well as local recreational users. We have seen that the number of users is only limited by the quality of the trail infrastructure and the grant will help us to appoint the expertise needed to take the trail to the next level. This will continue to grow the tourism and sustainable recreation potential of the area, while raising its profile as an international destination.”

Other awards included £10,000 to Thurso Golf Club towards purchasing a new hybrid greens mower to help the club maintain and enhance its course greens to the quality standards expected. The golf club provides an important recreational facility for the Thurso and surrounding area and also works with numerous visitor initiatives to promote and develop golf tourism in the area.

Caithness & Sutherland Vintage & Classic Vehicle Club was awarded £8,500 towards the costs of a new towable box trailer and a steel storage container to enhance the running of the popular annual vintage & classic John O’Groats rally event and to support the club’s ongoing community activities for many years to come.

The CNSFund is funded by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and distributes money to community projects that increase the attractiveness of Caithness and North Sutherland as a place to live, work and invest. Applications are assessed on a quarterly basis and information on how to apply can be found at the CNSFund website, or by phoning 07841 204 982. The deadline for applications for the next funding round is the 26th of June.


In light of the COVID-19 virus and Scottish Government advice to minimise social contact, we wish to highlight that the CNSFund will be continuing to operate as normal and we are able to accept enquiries and applications other than restricting public access to the office building and face to face contact. 

We also recognise that this may have an impact on your organisation and the project activities being delivered as part of our Grant Agreement with you.  

This is an unusual and developing situation and we wish to reassure everyone that we are continuing to accept applications. 

CNSFund 2020 Grant Application Schedule

The CNSFund assesses applications on a quarterly basis.

Please ensure that you submit your initial enquiry form well in advance of the closing dates to allow yourself sufficient time to complete your full application form, which we will provide you with after we receive your initial enquiry form and have concluded our eligibility screening checks.

CNSF 2020 Application Assessment Schedule


Application form closing date – Monday 16th December 2019.

Assessment Meeting – Friday 31st January 2020.


Application form closing date – Friday 20th March 2020.

Assessment Meeting – Friday 24th April 2020.


Application form closing date – Friday 26th June 2020.

Assessment Meeting – Friday 31st July 2020.


Application form closing date – Friday 25th September 2020.

Assessment Meeting – Friday 6th of November 2020.


The CNSFund reserves the right to change this schedule.

PR Grant Awards 2020-R1


Six community projects are to benefit from over £85k of funding following the Caithness & North Sutherland Fund’s latest grant awards.

CNSFund Chairperson David Glass said “Our latest grant awards helps to support a wide range of projects including initiatives that focus on delivering social improvements. The funding will also support various events being hosted in our area, all of which contributes towards promoting and enhancing our communities.”

Caithness Community Connections was granted £30,000 towards delivering a two-year programme of young people sessions and social activities within the Lybster area. The programme will include weekly early years sessions and youth clubs as well as holiday term activities to improve access to young people services within the rural coastal village.

Heather Urquhart, Caithness Community Connections Project Co-ordinator said “We are very grateful for the generous funding and support provided by CNSF to part fund this project. It gives us a firm foundation over the next two years and a strong footing to attract the necessary match funding in the very near future. The young people of Lybster highlighted that they wanted to see youth activities taking place in their own village. This funding helps secure weekly and holiday activities for them and allows us to plan a wide range of services so as many children and young people as possible can participate.”

Other awards included £30,000 to Ormlie Community Association towards costs associated with developing and administering a programme of community services and activities to support vulnerable people living in the Ormlie, Thurso and surrounding area.

Thurso Pipe Band was awarded £12,000 towards the costs of replacing and improving its 20-year-old band equipment and uniforms to bring it up to modern standards. The funding will help to purchase new equipment and tartan dress uniforms that will enhance the traditional pipe band’s many public performances at community events and shows.

The Scottish Surfing Federation was awarded £10,000 towards costs of holding the 2020 British Surfing Championships and British Cup in April. The event will be based at the new Thurso East surfing facilities and will be open to all to spectate. The competition will be streamed live online and a video production of the surfing event will also be carried out to promote tourism and further highlight the area as a world class surfing venue.

John O’Groats Development Trust was awarded £2,000 to help with costs of hosting a four-day John O’Groats Book Festival event in April 2020. The festival will offer numerous sessions and workshop events for people to attend and will have presentations from professional writers covering various literature themes. The festival will also include school visits to encourage young people as well as aspiring writers and visitors to the event.

Sea Watch Foundation was granted £1,800 to deliver a nine-day Orca Watch event in May that will include training members of the public as citizen scientists to monitor and record marine mammals around the North Coast. Whilst based at John O’Groats, the event will also include presentations at various community venues as well as in local schools and will promote the area as an attractive destination for marine animal sightings.

The CNSFund is funded by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and distributes money to community projects that increase the attractiveness of Caithness and North Sutherland as a place to live, work and invest. Applications are assessed on a quarterly basis and information on how to apply can be found at the CNSFund website, or by phoning 07841 204 982. The deadline for applications for the next funding round is the 20th of March.

PR Grant Awards 2019-R4

Helmsdale & District Highland Games Association was granted £5,000 towards costs to hold an enhanced 2020 Highland Games 40th anniversary event at Helmsdale in August 2020. The games will be an all day and evening event consisting of a full range of competitive highland games activities as well as numerous stalls showcasing crafts and artisan goods from the area. The enhanced games will also include tribal drumming performances, a high-profile ceilidh dance, a firework display and the production of a commemorative programme. The event will be open to all to attend, showcasing local produce and skills, promoting the Helmsdale and surrounding area and will attract visitors to the area.

Helmsdale & District Development Trust was awarded £30,000 towards the main build costs of refurbishing an existing old tennis court site situated in the village of Helmsdale into a modern two court multi-use all weather games area that will provide a major improvement to sport facilities for the area.

Pennyland School Parent Council was awarded £6,241.19 towards the costs of installing a polytunnel equipped with flooring, workbenches, raised beds, potting table and seed trays for the school children’s extra-curricular gardening club that will enable the club to grow a wider variety of vegetables, fruits and plants and to run activities all year round, irrespective of weather conditions. The benefits of the gardening club are to teach young people about food and nutrition, the environment and to encourage better and healthier lifestyles.

Lyth Arts Centre was awarded £27,330.00 towards costs of delivering a two-year young people education and engagement project that will deliver a programme of up to ninety artistic workshops annually in schools, community venues and at the arts centre, targeting young people in Caithness & North Sutherland using professional artists and practitioners. The project will also create a new part-time Outreach and Engagement Officer post to coordinate the workshops and develop the project to ensure that young people in Caithness & North Sutherland, particularly those from rural or disadvantaged areas have better opportunities to access a range of creative professional arts and culture activities and that talented young people can develop new skills and have access to development opportunities.

The CNSFund is funded by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and distributes money to community organisations for projects that will increase the attractiveness of Caithness and north Sutherland as a place to live, work and invest. The Fund has a particular emphasis on achieving environment, social, culture and infrastructure improvements. Applications are assessed on a quarterly basis and information on how to apply can be found at or by contacting the Fund Coordinator David Shearer on Tel: 07841 204 982.

CNSF Festive Break Office Closure Dates

The CNSFund office will be closed for the festive period from Friday 20th of December – Monday 6th of January.

CNSF 2019 AGM Report

Please select the following link to download the CNSF 2019 AGM Report:

CNSF 2019 AGM Report Download in PDF format

Chairperson’s Report

I am pleased to present my report for 2019 which is the eighth year of the Fund’s operation. Since the last AGM, the Fund has held four assessment meetings and has assessed 19 applications, awarding a total of £218,836 to 17 deserving community projects. When leverage funding is taken into account – because most projects rely on more than one funder – the total value of projects enabled by the Fund this year is just over £1Million. Although each application for funding is assessed on its merits, it is pleasing that each of the geographic parts of Caithness and North Sutherland has benefitted. Since its first year of operation in 2012, the Fund has awarded just over £2Million to projects which make Caithness and North Sutherland a better place to live, work and invest.

The total sum awarded annually fluctuates from year to year but is broadly in line with the yearly contribution of £300,000 from the NDA. At the beginning of this year we did see a slight reduction in the number of applications. In response to this the Fund increased its focus on PR, particularly with highlighting individual projects in addition to our quarterly press releases. We also promoted the Fund at a funding fayre and at community project events. The second half of the year has seen a significant increase in the level applications. We are also encouraged by the current level of enquiries which has increased and is now slightly ahead of last year.

In addition to the quarterly assessment meetings, the Board also held its annual review meeting in February 2019 and found that the Fund’s application process, evaluation criteria and level of applications coming forward were evidenced to be working well in order to meet the Funds mission statement, aims & objectives. Recorded feedback from applicants was also reviewed and applicant’s feedback continues to be extremely positive. The Fund’s own independent audits and NDA audit findings continues to be consistently good, which further demonstrates that the Fund is being well run.

At the last AGM it was reported that a review of the Articles of Association of the Fund had been reviewed and updated. As part of that process it was decided to increase the maximum number of our Appointed Directors from four individuals to six in order to enable a greater level of community representation on the Board. As a consequence, the Board elected Tom Sayles and Michael Simpson as appointed directors.

During the year, Councillor Linda Munro stood down from the Board and I would like to thank her for the valuable contribution she made during her period of service. Councillor Hugh Morrison joined the Board, thus maintaining representation from North Sutherland.

Lynn McIntosh, the Fund’s Administrative Assistant commenced a period of maternity leave during the year and the Fund recruited Paula Davidson to cover the duties of the post on a temporary basis. Following the birth of her baby, Lynn decided not to return to her post and Paula accepted the Board’s offer of a permanent appointment. I would like to express my thanks to Lynn for her work for the Fund, which was highly valued by the Board.

The Fund is fortunate in having David Shearer as Coordinator. David is the face of the Fund in the community as well as managing the Fund’s affairs with efficiency and professionalism. The positive feedback from applicants is testimony to the advice and support they have received from David.

Our Board of Directors works well and I would like to thank my fellow Directors for their support during the year. I am especially grateful to my Vice-Chair Gillian Coghill who fulfilled the duties of Chair for a period when I had to step aside.

Finally, on behalf of the Fund, I must thank the community bodies who have sought our support during the year. I congratulate them on their imaginative proposals and their hard work in bringing them to fruition. Their projects cover a very wide range – from healthcare to heritage – but all contribute to a sustainable future for our area. I will finish by encouraging community groups to continue to come forward with proposals which meet the objectives of the Fund. We stand ready to help.

David Glass

CNSF Chairperson

CNSFund 2019 AGM Notice – 6th November

The Caithness & North Sutherland community are invited to the

Caithness & North Sutherland Fund

8th Annual General Meeting

which takes place on

Wednesday 6th of November at 7pm

in the Pentland Hotel Ballroom, Thurso.

If you would like to learn more about the work of the Fund and the community projects we have supported, please join us. Refreshments will be provided.

In addition to our AGM business and reporting on our funding work, a short presentation by one of our recent grant recipients will also be given.

PR Grant Awards 2019-R3


Seven community projects are to benefit from over £80k of funding following the Caithness & North Sutherland Fund’s latest grant awards.

CNSFund Chairperson David Glass said “Our latest funding includes improvements to youth activities, community and recreational facilities as well as progressing an ambitious project to establish a major visitor attraction in Caithness. We are pleased to have received a good level of applications and we continue to encourage community groups to come forward with proposals that will enhance the Caithness & North Sutherland area.”

The Caithness Broch Project was granted £14,815 to appoint specialist architect and consultancy services to produce a replica broch development brief. The report will establish a preferred site for the replica broch construction, an architectural design concept and a business case that will enable the replica broch project to progress towards the construction phase of building a replica drystone broch tower to serve as an iconic visitor attraction in Caithness.

Robin Herrick, Caithness Broch Project Chairman, said “The importance of this stage of the project cannot be overstated as it will underpin the work of our community organisation to replicate an Iron Age broch as the core of a financially sustainable charitable business, which will benefit the community as a tourist attraction and an inspirational symbol of Caithness heritage. We are very happy that we were able to convey our enthusiasm for this work, and the potential benefit to the community.”

Other awards included £30,000 to Thurso Youth Club towards delivering a two-year development programme of weekly youth club sessions and activities. The project will have a focus on enhancing the club’s long-term sustainability and will create two new staff posts consisting of a Community Officer who will be responsible for managing the day to day operations of the club and a Senior Youth Worker to coordinate youth sessions and activities.

Latheron Hall Committee was awarded £18,340 towards the costs of refurbishing the Latheron community hall car park by extending the existing car park area and resurfacing with a tarmac surface. The community hall car park is also used by the wider community because of its unique location near the Thurso and Wick main route junction. The refurbishment will provide a long-term improvement to the popular community facility making it more accessible and safer for its many users as well increasing its parking capacity.

Armadale Clay Pigeon Club was awarded £8,100 to install a semi-permanent shooting shelter at the club’s shooting range. The shelter construction will provide welcome cover for competitors and is part of a range of improvements being carried out by the club following its recent Scottish Clay Target Association accreditation.

Castletown School Parent Council was granted £5,000 towards costs of installing a new multi-level timber trail within the primary school playing field grounds. The trail will include a range of innovative trail obstacles as well as safety matting and will provide stimulating outdoor play facilities for young people who use the school’s outdoor grounds.

Portskerra Harbours Association was awarded £3,048 to install steel galvanised safety handrails, pier wall ladders and safety and information signs to provide safety and access improvements for the Portskerra community slipway.

Olrig & District Beekeepers Association was granted £1,000 to purchase new beekeeper microscopes and specialist equipment that will assist beekeepers to identify pollen and bee diseases as well as learn about alternative uses of beekeeping. The new equipment will also enhance the group’s presentations talks to further promote the importance of beekeeping as well as increase the capacity and diversification of hobby beekeepers.

PR Grant Awards 2019-R2


The Caithness & North Sutherland Fund has committed over £70k to six community projects in its latest round of grant awards.    CNSFund Chairperson David Glass said “This latest investment supports improvements to recreational amenities and events in Caithness & North Sutherland, helping to ensure that people living and visiting our area can enjoy a high standard of leisure activities.  All of these projects are overseen by volunteers who work hard to improve the quality of life for our communities and we are pleased to support them in achieving their plans.”

Helmsdale Golf Club was awarded £20,000 towards the costs of a new precision cut fairway mower to help the club maintain and improve the Helmsdale community golf course and promote golf tourism for the area.  The nine-hole golf course sits along the hillside of the Strath of Kildonanan and is an important amenity for the small rural community of Helmsdale.

North Coast Entertainments was granted £18,137 towards infrastructure costs to hold a new Scottish/Celtic music festival event in Dunnet.  The funding is for a welfare cabin unit that will serve as the event control centre and welfare area.  The Tunes by the Dunes music festival is a two-day music event that will be held in September featuring top Scottish/Celtic artists and local artists.  The group also aims to establish the festival as a regular annual event.    North Apex Gymnastics Club was awarded £10,000 towards new gymnastics equipment and competition leotards.  The new equipment and costumes will enable the club to develop and progress young people in gymnastics as well as improve the recreation and sport amenities that are available in Caithness.

Reay Golf Club was granted £10,000 to help refurbish the Reay golf club clubhouse with new double-glazing windows and doors.  The refurbishment will improve the energy efficiencies and long-term sustainability of the building to create an attractive and modern recreational facility.

Wick Amateur Swimming Club was awarded £9,395 to host a five-day summer swimming camp that will be held in Wick and Thurso swimming pools.  The camp will bring national level swimming coaching to Caithness and will improve access to sporting and training opportunities for young people aspiring to participate in competitive swimming.

Lybster Golf Club was granted £3,000 towards purchasing a low maintenance hybrid greens mower to help maintain the 9-hole golf course in Lybster to high standards, providing improvements to a valued recreational facility.  The unique golf course is one of the shortest in Scotland and is very popular with a wide range of golfers of varying age groups and abilities.     The CNSFund is funded by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and distributes money to community projects that increase the attractiveness of Caithness and North Sutherland as a place to live, work and invest. Applications are assessed on a quarterly basis and information on how to apply can be found at the CNSFund website, or by phoning 07841 204 982.  The deadline for applications for the next funding round is the 27th of September.