Cash Boost for National Park Children's Projects



NEWS RELEASE                                                                                                          22-5-13


                                         Cash Boost for National Park Children's Projects


The Friends of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs conservation and heritage charity  announced at their recent AGM that as a result of 130 local volunteers participating in the Hampden to Loch Lomond Kiltwalk over £30,000 has been raised to support a range of children's projects in the National Park.

Projects benefitting from this funding include new themed nature play areas; provision of adventure days out in the National Park for hundreds of disadvantaged children and children with special needs;safe Park trails for children and assistance with the purchase of a wheelie boat for disabled children to enjoy fishing on  National Park lochs.

Commenting on the fundraising effort, Friends Chairman James Fraser said: '' The level of interest in the Kiltwalk fundraising event from local residents and Park businesses has taken us by surprise but it has been very encouraging to see so many people getting so enthusiastically involved to raise funds for an impressive range of children's projects locally and nationally. 

He added: '' The funds raised will  make a real difference in helping to provide opportunities for children to enjoy Scotland's first National Park  and to enrich their outdoor experiences''

In an upbeat report at the Friends AGM the Chairman also highlighted:

- the growing success of the OUR Park visitor giving scheme which is now being supported by over 100 local businesses and led to 8 conservation, access and heritage projects receiving grants;

-the popularity of the Celebrating Park People & Stories events programme currently  underway as part of the Heritage Lottery funded All Our Stories initiative;

-the continuing campaign to protect the special scenic qualities of the National Park  from the visual impact of a number of  proposed giant wind turbine developments in the buffer zone surrounding the Park;

-the launch of a new website to showcase the rich and diverse heritage of the National Park more effectively nationally and internationally;

-some successes, with National Park Authority support, in opening up scenic views from busy tourist routes with the selective removal of tree tunnels;

-the increasing level of volunteer efforts to help with litter clearance , tree planting and other conservation work to ensure the Park remains a special place for people and nature.

He also praised the National Park Authority on their success in securing substantial additional funds from the Scottish Government's 'shovel ready' project fund to progress a raft of visitor infrastructure schemes building on the success of ongoing visitor management initiatives such as the pilot scheme on   East Loch Lomond which has greatly improved the visitor experience and led to some visitors describing the transformation as 'paradise being rediscovered'.

At the well attended meeting an informative and entertaining talk was also  provided by Professor Tom Furniss of Strathclyde University on theme of the literary giants of the National Park who played such an important role in popularising the area which is now the most heavily visited countryside destination in Scotland.