Orkney Islands Council has welcomed the announcement that they have secured funding from the National Lottery for a £4.5m North Isles Landscape Scheme.
The scheme will create four full time jobs in Orkney and support and encourage heritage based development and promotion of built, natural and cultural heritage in Orkney's North Isles.
The Heritage Lottery Fund has today (Tuesday March 20) announced that it will support the scheme with an investment of just over £2.8m, following submission of the Council's final project proposal.
Additional funding will come from Orkney Islands Council, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Historic Environment Scotland, RSPB Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage and in-kind contributions from North Isles community groups.
The North Isles Landscape Partnership Scheme will build on the success of the award-winning Scapa Flow Landscape Partnership Scheme which ran between 2009 and 2012.
Councillor Graham Sinclair is a North Isles Councillor and Chair of the Council's Development and Infrastructure Committee. He said: "This is great news for the North Isles. As well as supporting jobs, the scheme will raise the profile of the North Isles and its diverse landscapes and communities.
"Through the delivery of a number of projects the scheme will raise awareness of, conserve and enhance our islands' distinct identities. The aspiration is to make heritage more accessible, encouraging the involvement of young people and the sharing of heritage between generations.
"Months of work has gone into securing this funding, including a huge amount of support and commitment from isles residents and partner agencies. I congratulate the project team and residents on their success and look forward to the project getting underway and seeing the positive impact it will have on our island communities.
Lucy Casot, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, said: “Scotland has the most outstanding natural heritage and nowhere is that more evident than the astounding scenery of the North Isles. However, the enormous pressures upon these landscapes mean that we have to tackle their restoration and conservation on a bigger scale than ever before.
“Thanks to players of The National Lottery we can help bring real cohesion to the natural and built heritage of the region while reconnecting its communities with the natural environment that lies on their doorstep."
The full award from the Heritage Lottery Fund is £2,829,200.
The scheme will cover 269 square kilometres to the north of the mainland of Orkney, encompassing Rousay, Egilsay, Wyre, Shapinsay, Eday, Stronsay, Sanday, Westray, Papa Westray, North Ronaldsay, Gairsay and Auskerry as well as 11 uninhabited islands.
HLF’s Landscape Partnerships are helping bring together members of the community as well as local, regional, and national organisations to deliver schemes which benefit some of the UK’s most outstanding landscapes and rural communities. Grants range from £100,000 up to £3m.