Public backs local oyster festival

Stranraer Oyster Festival received almost �50,000 after a public vote.
Stranraer Oyster Festival received almost �50,000 after a public vote.

Stranraer Oyster Festival has landed more than £49,000 in National Lottery funding to help to develop the event, which was held for the first time last year.

The festival, which was set up to celebrate the Loch Ryan oyster harvest and locally caught seafood, is believed to have been worth £500,000 to the local economy last year.

This year’s event will feature a series of workshops, demonstrations and a gala event.

The festival, which was awarded £49,566, was one of three projects across the ITV Border area to receive the most The People’s Projects public votes.

The other groups to secure funding were The Bee Space, a community apiary project in Dumfries, and The Wild About Wellbeing project in Galashiels.

Joe Ferns, UK funding director of the Big Lottery Fund, said: “The People’s Projects highlights the incredible things people and communities are doing across the UK.

“From rural villages to towns and cities, local people are working together to help each other lead happier and healthier lives.

“We’re really excited to see this year’s winners using National Lottery funding to take their projects further, bringing more people together to make a life-changing difference in their local area.”

The funding award was welcomed by local MSP Finlay Carson, who commended the festival organisers for their strong bid to attract votes.

He said: “I am absolutely delighted the Stranraer Oyster Festival have been successful in securing this significant funding ahead of their festival.

“It is testament to the hard work from local organisers, who pulled out all the stops to secure votes and this will be a major boost to their plans.

“Last year’s event showcased the great community spirit in the area and I thoroughly enjoyed attending.

“I’m sure organisers have got plans to make this year’s event even bigger and better and I congratulate them on being one of the winners of the People’s Project vote.”

The Bee Space was awarded £20,500 for a project to set up a dedicated apiary and learning space in Hollywood, near Dumfries, which will include a bee-friendly orchard, native hedges and flowerbeds.

Altogether there were five groups from across the region which made it to the final vote for funding help them to continue their work to bring people together, build stronger communities and make a difference to people’s lives.

For 13 years, the Big Lottery Fund, ITV and The National Lottery have teamed up to give the public a chance to decide where National Lottery money should go in their local area. The Big Lottery Fund distributes money raised by National Lottery players to communities across the UK.