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More cash available from Highland charity 'alarmed' at lack of climate change progress


By Tom Ramage

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Highland charity The Pebble Trust have announced an increase of their maximum grant to £10,000 for projects in 2021-22 which contribute to reducing the impact of the nature and climate emergencies.

The trustees, whose catchment area covers the area of Scotland as defined by Highlands and Island Enterprise, have become so alarmed at the lack of progress in tackling the emergencies, despite the increasing urgency of the situation, that they have decided to encourage more, and more ambitious, projects.

People with ideas for small and larger projects can find a straightforward application form on the

website www.pebbletrust.org.

“We are in the Decade of Action, COP26 is on the horizon," said local trustee Jo Cumming from her home at Laggan.

"The UN’s latest report is a stark warning of the need for urgent action – the UN Secretary General said it was a ‘Code Red for Humanity’.

Pebble Trust urges action on climate change and is offering financial assistance to local projects
Pebble Trust urges action on climate change and is offering financial assistance to local projects

"We can all do more to help Scotland achieve its ambitions to reduce carbon emissions and mitigate the effects of climate change. Local initiatives provide the opportunity to demonstrate what is possible and can be scaled up.”

She added: "Some government laws and policies can be too slow and inadequate to tackle the climate emergency.

"We believe many small projects can make a difference. We are keen to ensure that our grants are used to the greatest advantage and are particularly committed to supporting smaller and medium sized grass-roots organisations which are effective at creating a more sustainable way of life."

"Our grant is often the catalyst that enables them to turn their ideas into reality.” Said Penny Edwards, trustee and founder.

"The trust welcomes applications from people with ideas for more environmentally friendly, resilient, and sustainable living."

In the last seven years the charity has supported over 60 projects from a huge area of the Highlands.

Among them is the strath's celebrated therapy garden movement.

"As previous recipients of a grant from the Pebble Trust, we found the application process straight forward," said Mary Stewart, of Badenoch and Strathspey Therapy Gardens.

"Their funding enabled us to continue our sessions, with participants learning how to grow fruit and vegetables.

"Our volunteers and the gardeners really benefitted from the social interaction, and were delighted to take some of their vegetables home to enjoy.’’

So far, the trust has funded projects around growing food locally and reducing food miles; encouraging people to reduce food waste and increase local recycling; helping people to walk or cycle rather than use their car; reducing energy use and reliance on fossil fuel and

improving the quality and sustainability of both land and sea.

The Trust is also interested in educational projects around climate change and sustainability, especially those appealing to the young people whose future depends on the actions taken now.

Applicants vary: small community-based organisations with very limited resources but a strong vision for a more sustainable future; innovative individuals and small businesses with the skills and talent to develop products or services supporting greater sustainability; and larger organisations with the capacity to develop and implement more complex projects.

"What all projects have in common is that they are led by passionate people working towards a better world."

The benefits of the grant scheme include:

 a straightforward application process

 a quick decision on whether or not the application meets the trust’s criteria

 feedback on the viability of applications and the opportunity to resubmit with a more robust

proposal.

The Trust is looking for projects which:

 increase local resilience, involve others and reduce dependence on the global market

 will be managed by someone with a track record of delivering results

 provide value for money; have a breakdown of costs and other financials

 are based on preliminary research and have a strong likelihood of success

 share the learning and provide lasting benefits beyond the funded period

 align with the circular economy by borrowing, reusing, recycling, instead of always buying new.

The trust, based in Culbokie, near Dingwall, have a vision of a more sustainable, equal and low-carbon society, where constraints on fossil fuels lead to a more localised economy with

stronger, more resilient, communities. Where human activities take account of climate change and the wider environment.

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