£1m EU funding boost for coastal communities

EU funding has helped develop Eyemouth as a tourism and offshore wind farm industry service port.
EU funding has helped develop Eyemouth as a tourism and offshore wind farm industry service port.

A £1 million coastal communities pot of EU money is available for towns and village along the Berwickshire, East Lothian and Fife coastline.

The European Maritime Fisheries Fund (EMFF) can be used to support a wide range of projects to help the fishing industry, create job opportunities, stimulate economic growth and to enhance environmental assets.

The Forth Fisheries Local Action Group is inviting businesses and local groups to submit expressions of interest for projects to be considered at the next meeting in May.

Councillor Stuart Bell, executive member for economic development at Scottish Borders Council, said: “This is good news for our fishing communities and a great opportunity for businesses and community groups to get funding for projects that otherwise might not be eligible for additional financial support.

“The funding will help to promote the diversification of the maritime economy and will support continuing economic development in our coastal areas.”

The Forth Fisheries Local Action Group has 20 members representing a cross section of the local community and fishing industry interests from each area.

Chair of the Forth FLAG, Grahame Sinclair said: “I am delighted to chair the Forth FLAG and keen to support our local coastal communities in re-energising their communities and in collaborative projects along the Forth coastline.”

The fund replaces the European Fisheries Fund which saw £588,000 invested in Berwickshire’s coastal communities, enabling investment of around £1.5m on a range of projects: four processing and marketing grants worth £419,000; five vessel modernisation grants totalling £27,000; and grants of £140,000 to improve facilities at Eyemouth Harbour.

EMFF programme co-ordinator is Rosalind McArthur: rosalind.mcarthur@scotborders.gov.uk or 01835 825117.