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There are healthy steps being taken across the districts of Ness and the Westside, with seven projects sharing in £471,306 of Western Isles grants announced by the Scottish Government last week (Monday 3 January).

The money is part of a total £1.3 million of Scottish Government funding from the wider £30 million Islands Programme and is to be spent on community-led wellness initiatives designed to support islanders to live healthier lifestyles.

The fund is managed by Inspiring Scotland and funded projects focus on building local capacity to increase well-being, foster connections and promote healthy and resilient islanders and communities – helping them to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the Ness and Westside areas, projects range from home health initiatives to sports facilities and outdoor activities.

A day club at Comunn Eachdraidh Nis and a project to help people stay healthy at home run by Horshader Community Development Trust each get over £9,000 towards their initiative.

The group which runs Eoropie Dunes Playpark, Guth Airson Iarrtasan Nis (GAIN) has been awarded £10,158 for a new scheme offering an ‘opportunity to be healthy’ at the park, which is recognised as one of the top 10 Green Flag parks in the UK.

Carloway and Breasclete Community Associations and Ness Sports and Recreation Association all receive awards of funding towards activities, while Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn (Galson Estate Trust) receives £5,000 towards the Hebridean Community Garden at the Clan Macquarrie Centre.

Islands secretary Mairi Gougeon said: “It’s important that local communities have initiatives that can promote participation and equality in physical activity, as we’ve outlined in our National Islands Plan. We need to ensure that these are locally-led and local community groups are often best placed to provide these services on our islands.

“The projects that we are funding will help encourage people to live healthier lifestyles and improve their resilience. I’m so grateful to the groups for applying to help improve the lives of the people living across Scotland’s islands and I can’t wait to see them in action.”

Pictures show Eoropie Dunes Playpark and the development of the Hebridean Community Garden.