Now You SEA It! Project gains vital funding

We are thrilled to announce funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, made possible by National Lottery players, for an exciting new Project: “Now you SEA It”. We are also grateful for support from the Highlands and Islands Environment Foundation, and The Helvellyn Foundation. This support will propel COAST towards expanding our engagement with young people across North Ayrshire, as well as allowing us to carry out the scoping stage for the potential re-development of our Discovery Centre and grounds. 

For the last 25 years, we have been at the forefront of community-led marine conservation in Scotland, largely powered by sheer determination and community support. This vital funding will allow us to invest the time in capacity building for the future, to ensure the longevity of the organisation. 

These recent grants represent a significant milestone for COAST, enabling us to reach more young individuals and make an even greater impact on their lives, whilst also supporting internal organisational development of the charity. The funds will be used on strategic priorities to enhance and expand COAST’s work, including: 

  1. Young People’s Outreach: We will explore the potential to involve more young people in all areas of the Trust’s work, with a particular aim of attracting young people from both Arran and disadvantaged communities in North Ayrshire to input to the development of a Young People’s Plan. The grants will allow the us to develop mentorship programs, connecting youth with experienced professionals who can provide guidance and inspiration as they navigate their educational and career paths.


  2. Organisational Development: Funding will allow us to strengthen our existing Governance to ensure that it is not only robust, but also aligned with best practice, with new policies informing everyday working operations.


  3. Volunteering Programmes: The grant will allow us to reinvigorate how we work with volunteers, through working towards the Investing in Volunteers (Scotland) quality standard. This work will be delivered for us by a consultant with significant experience of organisational development, who will work closely with existing volunteers, and staff, to assess priorities and scope ideas.


  4. Site Development: We will work with a small number of specialist advisors to develop ideas for future infrastructure development, championed by meaningful community consultation from the outset thus resulting in exciting proposals for the redevelopment of their building and grounds. 

Áine Purcell-Milton, Executive Director for COAST, expressed gratitude for the support stating: “This generous grant from the The National Lottery Heritage Fund, match-funded by the Highlands and Islands Environment Foundation and The Helvellyn Foundation is a testament to their commitment to investing in the future of Arran and North Ayrshire’s community. With these funds we will be able to reach more young individuals, provide them with the resources they need to thrive, and empower them to achieve their full potential. Additionally, we are excited that this fund will allow us to initiate the scoping of future development to protect and celebrate the rich marine heritage of the region.” 

As David Attenborough once said: “No one will protect what they don’t care about, and no one will care about what they have never experienced”; this is more true of the sea than any other habitat on our planet. This project is the first step in exploring the potential creation of activities and facilities that will allow local residents and visitors to Arran to see and understand the beauty of the marine environment, while fostering a generation of empowered and skilled individuals.