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There are healthy steps being taken across Uist and Barra, with three projects sharing £30,000 to fund improved physical and mental health for island residents.

The grants are part of £471,306 in grants for 24 projects in the Western Isles announced by the Scottish Government last week (Monday 3 January), themselves a share of £1.3 million of Scottish Government funding from the wider £30 million Islands Programme.

The money is intended to be spent on community-led wellness initiatives designed to support islanders to live healthier lifestyles and the fund is managed by Inspiring Scotland helping to promote healthy and resilient islanders and communities – better-placed to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The larger share of the money awarded in Uist and Barra is a £20,000 allocation to Tagsa Uibhist, intended for healthy activity and social inclusion through community gardens in Flodaigh, Grimsay, North and South Uist.

The group was created in March 2020 and is a community-based project that promotes gardening as a way to enhance health and well-being by producing nutritious food and being a healthy social environment and activity.

They say: “We are here to support people to grow more food and beautiful plants, and to support people to share their experiences and expertise. We also hope to produce enough nutritious food to continue to make a contribution to the Uist and Barra Food Bank.” 

Cothrom learning centre in South Uist has been awarded £5,000 for an activity programme called Go Uist! To be delivered through the islands from Berneray to Barra, and Sgoil Uibhist a Tuath parent council have also received £5,000 to help weave resilience and well-being into school communities through the islands.

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.”

Picture from Tagsa Uibhist Community Gardens Group.