The Southern Uplands Partnership has received a confirmed grant of £150k from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the “PLACE (People Land Art Culture Environment) in the Biosphere” project, it was announced today. This is one of the first awards to be made in Scotland through The National Lottery’s ground breaking Great Place scheme. The funding will help develop projects and collaborations centred on the place’s unique culture and heritage to address issues such as poverty, employment, health and education.
PLACE in the Biosphere will be run across three contrasting landscapes within the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere: the Borgue Peninsula; the Wigtownshire Moors; and the Stinchar Valley. They cover two local authority areas and were selected due to their distinctive landscape character and the desire of local communities to engage more with their local natural and cultural heritage.
Through working with artists, writers, geologist, historian, wildlife guides etc. the Biosphere team hope the project will uncover some of the hidden gems of the Biosphere and their intrinsic links with the landscape that make our region so special.
The Galloway and Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere covers 5268 sq/km of SW Scotland. It was designated in July 2012 when it was recognised internationally as a world class environment for people and nature. The designation is recognition of the fantastic array of landscapes, wildlife, cultural heritage and learning opportunities that SW Scotland offers for communities, businesses and visitors to experience and celebrate in a sustainable way.
Biosphere Coordinator Ed Forrest said “PLACE in the Biosphere offers us a fantastic opportunity to work closely with a group of communities located in the Biosphere to identify the stories, the places, the people, the experiences that make these individual communities so special. Through PLACE we hope communities will feel more empowered to both protect their unique heritage and to create new initiatives that celebrate it.” These sentiments were echoed by Laura Moodie from the Borgue Peninsula who said “Borgue Community Council is delighted to be involved in the PLACE project and is looking forward to working with neighbouring communities in Wigtownshire and the Stinchar Valley to celebrate the people, environment and culture of these unique places.” Heather O’Hare from the Stinchar Valley was equally pleased stating “Our Colmonell Exhibition heritage event last year showed not only what a huge interest there is in local history, but also what a wealth of knowledge and artefacts people are more than willing to share. We look forward to being a part of PLACE in the Biosphere”
Commenting on the announcement, Lucy Casot, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, said: “The incredible natural landscape of the Biosphere gives the place a unique identity and makes it special for the people that live there. It’s the roots if you like. This scheme will show how building on those roots can have a hugely positive impact on the local economy in terms of health, employment and education, as well as well as instilling community cohesion and pride.
“Thanks to players of The National Lottery, we are enabling a step-change in thinking, encouraging local leaders to come together and recognise that heritage is a driving force for change for Galloway and South Ayrshire.”