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Baillie Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund supports groups with COVID-19 funding

As part of its commitment to support groups operating in the Caithness community during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Baillie Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund has recently provided funding to two organisations to enable their initiatives.

Caithness Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) has been awarded over £5,000 towards the costs of personal protective equipment and changes to their premises to enable staff to return to supporting clients face-to-face, both at the office and through home visits.

Isobel Mackay, Manager of Caithness CAB, said: “COVID-19 has had a real impact on many of the most vulnerable in our community and we have been extremely busy providing support to clients via telephone and email to help them deal with debt, get referrals to food banks, and access Universal Credit. This has been made harder due to many of our volunteers being unable to offer support at this time, and the need for our staff to work from home and not meet with clients face-to-face, in line with Scottish Government guidelines.

“We are expecting a huge increase in clients over the coming months as people deal with employment law concerns, increased energy costs and mental health issues as a result of the pandemic. This funding will go a long way towards helping us get back up and running at full capacity at a time when the services we have to offer are most needed.”

Caithness CAB delivers free confidential, impartial and independent advice to the citizens of Caithness and North Sutherland, assisting around 4500 vulnerable people per year with a range of issues including access to welfare benefits, debt, housing, and access to legal services.

The Fund also awarded a grant of £350 to Thurso Football Academy to support their efforts to distribute footballs and water bottles to local children as part of the Keep Scotland Active initiative. The funding also supported the Academy to print a training drills booklet to allow children aged 3-8 to play various themed games with parents in their gardens.

Alyn Gunn, Head of Coaching at Thurso Football Academy, said: “Helping young people keep fit and healthy has always been the goal of the Thurso Football Academy. This has been difficult in recent months, with the pandemic resulting in children not being able to access play parks and school facilities, as well as not being able to meet up and play with their friends.

“The funding provided by Baillie Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund will enable us to provide resources to help children keep active, and to support parents with some activities to entertain their children at this difficult time.”

Thurso Football Academy provides coaching for children aged 3-8, helping them to hone their skills and keep active in a fun and supportive environment.

The Fund continues to seek expressions of interest from groups across Caithness which require additional support or funding to enable them to carry out support activities for the community during the COVID-19 pandemic. This funding is intended to be as fast and flexible as possible, as the Fund recognises that the needs of communities and the organisations supporting them are changing on a regular basis at this time.

Groups interested in applying are invited to contact the Fund at enquiries@bailliecommunityfund.org.uk to give a brief outline of their proposal and an estimation of their funding requirement. The Fund team will then process these as quickly as possible and invite formal applications to support eligible projects.