£1.3M distributed as Paths For All celebrates first anniversary of fund

Loch Leven. Photo: Jim Cornall

On the first anniversary of the launch of the Ian Findlay Path Fund, Scottish charity organisation Paths For All has recapped some of the successful projects from the first round of funding.

The Ian Findlay Path Fund was launched a year ago, and was named after the charity’s late chief officer, Ian Findlay, CBE, who passed away in March 2021.

The fund, supported by Transport Scotland, is designed to encourage the improvement of path networks within and between local communities to make it easier and more attractive for local people to walk, wheel, cycle or choose public transport for local everyday journeys. The fund supports projects that will improve usability and accessibility of paths for more people.

In the past year, there were 24 successful projects who were allocated funding, totalling £1,293,153.  The projects were from 15 local authority areas from the Highlands to Dumfries and Galloway.  Funding was allocated to projects demonstrating planned improvements to usability and accessibility of paths, encouraging more people to use them.

Kevin Lafferty, chief executive officer at Paths For All, said: “We are pleased to see such great results from the first round of funding, and the impact it is already having in those communities. The first year of funding has revealed a wide range of exciting projects which demonstrate the innovation and dedication of applicant groups, encouraging active travel by improving path networks within their local communities.  We were fortunate to visit the site of the first completed Ian Findlay Path Fund supported project last week, and it is fantastic to see the funding being put to such great use.

“It’s wonderful that Ian’s legacy and passion for active travel is carried on within communities and their efforts to encourage walking, wheeling, and cycling.  We are looking forward to seeing progress on all the other projects already being supported by the fund and are excited to see what comes next from this year’s new applicants.”

The first four completed projects, with the support of awarded funding through the Ian Findlay Path Fund include the Loch Leven Heritage Trail, which used the funding to upgrade a path linking the Boathouse pier in Kinross to Channel Farm/Loch Leven’s farm shop and the businesses and communities to the North of the Loch. The second project funded was the Westhill Orbital Trail Project, which saw the upgrading of a 480m stretch of path previously damaged by flooding.

Another project was the development of a lane by Lanark Community Development Trust, which also plans, with the help of the community, to create a mural with Lanark landmarks.

The fourth project was given to Queen Margaret University, which created an active travel link between the new walking, wheeling and cycling path that runs alongside Queen Margaret University campus with the NCN 1 at Monktonhall, Musselburgh.

The Ian Findlay Path Fund is accepting applications for the second round of funding from now until March 1, 2024. Community groups looking to improve their local path networks are encouraged to contact the team to discuss their ideas.