Isles MP Alistair Carmichael is encouraging charities, social enterprises and businesses in the Northern Isles to apply for support from Crown Estate cash in a new fund that will invest more than £1.8 million in the Highlands and Islands.
The fund is drawn from the marine holdings of the Crown Estate. It is designed to boost economic growth in coastal areas. Scotland will receive £3.9 million from the fund in 2012.
Applications for funding will be administered by the Big Lottery “Big Fund” and the application deadline for the first round of awards will be September, with winners announced in December.
Mr Carmichael said: “When it comes to the Crown Estate, it has often felt in the past like the Northern Isles has put a lot in without getting anything back. I know from discussions that I had had with colleagues in Cornwall and elsewhere that this is something that could be said of coastal areas in other parts of the UK as well.
“Ultimately I would like to see much more radical reform of the Crown Estate with more control of the sea bed being given to the local communities affected. A fund of this sort, however, is an important first step and having got our foot in the door we should now keep pushing.
“Funding is open to businesses, charities, social enterprises and local authorities and I would encourage all those who have a project that they feel deserves support to consider making an application.”
Details of the fund were first announced in July last year by the Treasury.