This project brings together local people who want to make changes on issues that are important to them and their communities along coastal Moray – areas around Burghead, Hopeman and Cummingston. The ‘Coastal Connections’ project builds on our community-led approach developed through our Rural Wisdom project. People have told us how they want to develop their ideas and the challenges they want to tackle. Their first priorities are around Fuel Poverty & Sustainable Energy, Transport, and Community Wellbeing – but we know that as more people get involved there will be more issues to explore.
This 2-year project is funded through the Community-Led programme – an award from The National Lottery Community Fund, made possible by National Lottery players.
What we're doing
We have supported the development of a steering group which includes local people and community groups – they have been involved in developing the project from the start. The steering group and our local team will work together, guiding the project ensuring that the learning and opportunities are rooted in community.
Together we will support local groups and wider community to work together to ultimately improve community wellbeing, sustainability, and resilience by:
- Supporting more people to become part of community-led activity, starting with the three areas of interest.
- Building on previous work to support older people to contribute and influence local action.
- Creating more opportunities for more younger people to have a voice, participate in, and influence local activity.
- Connecting local people and groups with organisations and community-led action in other areas of Moray so they can develop their own information and support networks for the future.
We have also been working with Zero Carbon Moray and their plans for community energy. They have held two energy fairs in Elgin Town Hall and have been visiting small towns to chat to people about what community energy needs are. Zero Carbon Moray believe that one way of tackling fuel poverty is to start producing community energy and using it to cut the cost of energy. This is a long-term goal and they are just starting.
The impact it's having so far
Like many – the community response to the cost-of-living crisis was to set up social hubs in 3 communities along the coast: Burghead, Hopeman and Spynie. We raised some money for the heating and asked Hopeman Community Bus to help with transport to the spaces.
What we are hearing is that this was a beautiful project that evolved, like many, and brought people together to have soup and chat. Being able to meet up a see people is very important and this was a real help over the winter. They are taking a break this summer but there are activities every month that are continuing until December. They have also been organising day trips using the Community Bus to places like Loch Ness.
We have a new project worker who is starting to work to help the Hopeman Community Bus develop its plans to tackle travel inequalities and social isolation. The bus was successful in helping with the Covid response and getting people to GP appointments along the coast. Now they are working on projects that will help people of all ages get together.
As with all our work our vision is to support an equal, welcoming, and inclusive society, where people can shape their communities, the services they use, and the things that are important to them.
This work is happening thanks to an award from The National Lottery Community Fund, made possible by National Lottery players.