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November 18, 2009

Scottish villages fight for £400,000 lottery windfall and star role on TV

Five Scottish villages have won through to the final stages of a competition and the chance to be picked to appear in a new reality TV show – Village SOS – to be screened on BBC next year.  A  joint initiative with the Lottery, the winners will get funding and a team of experts to turn their ideas into reality.

FIVE Scottish communities  -Assynt, Catrine, Upper Eskdale, Isle of Kerrera and West Wemyss – are competing to win a £400,000 lottery windfall and become the stars of a new TV reality show.
They are among 28 UK villages shortlisted today to take part in the National Lottery and BBC-backed project to regenerate rural areas and create jobs.

Each will receive a grant of up to £10,000 to develop ideas.

Next May the final six communities will be chosen to receive the lottery funding and “village champions” will move into each area for a year to help turn their business plans into reality.

Their stories will be followed in BBC1 series Village SOS.

Alison Magee, chair of the Big Lottery Fund Scotland, said: “All five of these groups have made it this far on merit, and it is now the competition really starts.”

Assynt Community Association, in Sutherland, aims to convert a fishermen’s mission in Lochinver into a community hub, including a sea life centre. Spokesman Roger Glover said: “We intend to push ahead with this project regardless of the final result, and this development money will allow us to edge closer to our ambition.”

Catrine Community Renewables, in East Ayrshire, plans to set up a recycling facility to convert waste cooking oil into fuel. It also wants to build a hydro-electric plant and visitor centre, with profit used to buy electric cars.