European Fisheries Fund cash available for projects

Funding to help develop and support Aberdeenshire’s coastal areas is being made available through the European Fisheries Fund.

Local groups, individuals and organisations hoping to promote sustainable development in Aberdeenshire’s fisheries areas are being offered the chance to tap into a £1.1 million fund.

The Aberdeenshire European Fisheries Fund (AEFF), formally launched in March, awards grants to fisheries-related projects which demonstrate innovation, increase community capacity and improve economic output in Aberdeenshire’s fisheries areas.

The AEFF budget of around £1.1 million is financed by the European Commission. The fund is administered locally by the FLAG partnership, a collective group of fisheries, public, private and voluntary sector organisations, of which Aberdeenshire Council is the lead partner.

Money awarded to a project will have to be matched by an equal sum from the public sector, which means there is a total of around £2.2 million available for local initiatives.

So far in 2012, eight projects, designed to revitalise Aberdeenshire’s fisheries areas and provide a legacy for fishing communities, have been approved for funding from the AEFF.

They include: A project to scope potential for a Seafood Festival and Trail; Redevelopment of a Johnshaven lifeboat shed into a heritage hub and Introduction of a dedicated Seafood Pavilion at the annual Taste of Grampian Festival.

A total of just under £350,000 has been awarded to the eight projects, which means there is still a significant amount of funding available to eligible groups.

Chair of the Fisheries Working Group, Aberdeenshire councillor Charles Buchan, said: “Fisheries communities are a vital part of Aberdeenshire’s economic and cultural identity and it is great that they are being supported by the AEFF fund and match-funding from the public sector.

“There are many innovative and exciting projects being planned around Aberdeenshire coastal areas and I would encourage any individuals or groups looking for financial support, to get in touch with us and get more information.”

Applications for AEFF funding are welcomed from micro, small and medium businesses, private and voluntary groups and organisations and public sector organisations.

Staff are on hand to offer advice on the application process, ideas for potential sources of match funding and to help with the development of projects which have been awarded funding.

Anyone interested in applying for funding, or finding out more, should contact AEFF Co-ordinator, Ann Marie Macaskill, on 01467 628278 or visit www.aeff.co.uk.

For more information on the projects which have already received AEFF funding this year, go to: www.aeff.co.uk/funds-awarded/table-of-funds-awarded.