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Funding Success – our new project for 2019

Thursday February 21st 2019

A Stronger UNESCO Global Geopark thanks to the National Lottery Heritage Fund

Scotland’s first UNESCO Global Geopark in the North West Highlands has received a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant of £50,400 for an exciting heritage project, to Strengthen its management and future resilience.

Made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, the project is very business focused and will ensure our management team has the right skills to become a more entrepreneurial entity, raising its own core funding.  In the current economic climate all charities must meet the challenges of core funding head on and the North West Highlands Geopark is no exception. Thanks to Lottery players, we now have the opportunity to upskill our staff and volunteers and become a stronger organisation better able to manage the astounding geological heritage of the North West Highlands. We will be seeking new volunteers to enhance our already enthusiastic team and offering training to develop skills locally. In addition, we are actively recruiting a transformation officer to support the delivery of the project. 

The North West Highlands was awarded UNESCO Global Geopark status in 2015 following ten years of hard work by its communities. This was in recognition of the region’s unique three billion year geological story and its international contribution to science and culture, but also the willingness of the community to look after its heritage and do what they can to manage it appropriately. The UNESCO accolade comes with no additional regulations for land owners but neither does it bring automatic funding to the management team which is why this project is so important to the future safeguarding of this internationally important heritage.

Commenting on the award, Geopark Chair, Michael Simpson said: “We’re delighted that we’ve received this support thanks to National Lottery players. The Geopark team are passionate about the value of our heritage, its contribution to the identity of the region and the opportunities it gives for education, tourism and scientific research. As a UNESCO site we believe in the values of sustainable development, which we define as development that meets the needs of the present, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. This project will allow us to focus on forming new inclusive partnerships, transforming our skillsets and becoming a good example of how to manage a region collectively for the benefit of future generations.” Geopark Coordinator Dr Laura Hamlet added “I am thrilled that we have practical support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to ensure the future resilience of our Geopark. We’d encourage everyone to keep up to date with announcements in the press, our website and social media channels as we will be looking for volunteers and promoting new activities and training opportunities. In the meantime please consider joining our “Friends of the Geopark” scheme to make a regular donation to support our work.”

Ríona McMorrow, Acting Head of The National Lottery Heritage Fund Scotland, said: “Resilient Heritage allows the heritage sector to build financial independence and resilience in a changing economic landscape of reduced public funding. It provides a tailored package of support that responds to the individual needs of organisations such as North West Highlands Geopark so, thanks to National Lottery players, they can not only survive in these challenging financial times, but thrive.”