Environment Minister commends launch of 250,000 "Heart of the Community" Trust

March 28, 2011 11:46

Elderly residents of Smiddybrae House in Orkney are the first to benefit from a brand new charitable trust launched on Tuesday 22 March by Scottish Sea Farms, one of Scotland's leading salmon farming companies. The ‘Heart of the Community' Trust aims to improve the lives of the local communities where Scottish Sea Farms operates, reports www.megafishnet.com with reference to Scottish Sea Farms.

State of the art computer equipment, including iPads and a wireless network, will allow the Orkney residents to communicate via the internet. Scottish Sea Farms has supplied the technology and training in its use and will provide a year's technical support as part of overall donation from the new Heart of The Community Trust.

Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham, said: "Scotland's growing aquaculture industry makes a critical economic contribution in fragile rural communities - particularly in Orkney, Shetland, the Hebrides and the along the west coast of Scotland. However, I'm pleased that Scottish Sea Farms are going beyond economic support and jobs creation, by giving something back to the communities they are involved with.

"This first Heart of the Community award is going to make a real difference to the people at Smiddybrae and I look forward to hearing more about the other projects that the programme will deliver elsewhere in Scotland."

Regional Production Manager for Scottish Sea Farms, Richard Darbyshire, said: "This will allow the residents of Smiddybrae to keep in contact with loved ones around the world, lobby for causes that interest them, even to vote. They will now be able to ‘tweet', email and surf to their heart's content. They have all enjoyed having a go on the new system and we are delighted to be able to make such an impact on their day to day lives. We hope the ‘Heart of the Community' Trust will be making a big difference to lots of people in the months to come."

Manager at Smiddybrae House, Gillian Coghill, said: "We are very excited at the prospect of using the iPads at Smiddybrae. This will make a very positive contribution to enhancing quality of life for our residents as they will be able to keep in touch and actually see their nearest and dearest who live off island, undertake online shopping and learning, look up items for reminiscence, have improved access for visual impairment, enjoy leisure pursuits, experience new challenges, correspond easily, access information, communicate more effectively and challenge ageist attitudes."

The initial Heart of the Community Trust funds available in the next 12 months total £250,000 and support will be allocated to community projects in the Shetland Islands, Orkney Islands, the Highlands, Argyll and Dumfries. Scottish Sea Farms operates within some of the most remote areas of Scotland and is often the largest employer in those areas. Jim Gallagher, Managing Director of Scottish Sea Farms, commented on the new scheme: "The Heart of the Community Trust is designed to enhance our communities and make a real difference to the lives of local people.

"The broad aim of the "Heart of the Community" Trust is to support community projects that will deliver lasting change to local communities and allow them to grow and develop. We want to give something back to the communities in which our employees live and work. We will fund projects in the areas of health and health promotion, education and life-long learning, personal development and various community projects that bring benefit."

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