Tyne Esk LEADER projects defy the odds during pandemic
Projects funded by the Tyne Esk LEADER programme hit a quiet spell when Covid-19 struck, but many are now defying the odds with the “new normal”.
Tyne Esk LEADER is a rural development programme covering rural Midlothian and East Lothian and is funded by the European Union and the Scottish Government.
Sales sky rocket
Among the projects supported is Fishing around the Forth, which promotes local fishing in the region. It has seen a huge resurgence since restrictions were eased, with a virtually unused website becoming hugely popular as sales of fishing permits sky rocket with the advice to “stay local”.
Fishing around the Forth sees huge potential in this - the Central Belt population is the largest in Scotland, so their aim of making the Forth as attractive a fishing destination as the Dee or the Tweed is in sight. Applicant Jonathan Louis explained how the LEADER funding couldn't have come at a better time:
“Having the new hub is allowing many fisheries to continue when shops and permit outlets remain closed,” said Jonathan. “If we had not set it up, it would have been a very different story. Sales have surged and some clubs are reaching permit capacity which is rarely achieved.”
Midlothian based Whisky Frames has also optimised its potential, diversifying with barrel gift maker Darach and producing whisky infused wood chips for barbeques. The community-minded business has also set up Rosewell Cares which delivers food parcels to those in need in the area, including those shielding or isolating.
Legacy project Crowdfund ‘Tyne Esk’ is also providing support to a number of Midlothian Covid-19 related projects. An example is The Friendship Reflection Book which focuses on the bonds being strengthened between loved ones and friends during the pandemic.
"It's been fantastic to see the talent and enthusiasm coming from Tyne Esk,” said Crowdfunder coach, Emmi Koivisto. “Communities are really stepping up to show a real passion for making positive change in these uncertain times."