Year-long project identifies Caithness inequalities

Transport, mental health and access to childcare have emerged as some of the key themes in a project aimed at identifying inequalities in Caithness.

Over the past 12 months Caithness Voluntary Group (CVG), working in partnership with Thurso Community Development Trust and Pulteneytown People’s Project, carried out extensive consultation across the county, supported by the Scottish Government’s Aspiring Communities Fund.

Details reports based on the consultation have now been completed and made publicly available.

The findings will feed in to the Caithness Community Partnership, whose main role is to work with communities to help local people live full, healthy lives with opportunity and diversity.

The consultation covered the three geographical areas of Thurso, Wick and rural Caithness.

In Thurso, common concerns included food and fuel poverty, the lack of a community space and the need to have a community hub.

In Wick, topics ranged from the need to improve health services for people with drug and alcohol dependency to the provision of a job club to help with CVs and job searches to support people into employment.

Issues reported in rural areas included social isolation and a lack of opportunities for young people.

Other areas of concern across the three areas included internet connectivity, childcare costs, access to healthy, inexpensive food and difficulties in getting to Inverness for appointments at Raigmore Hospital.

CVG development officer Yvonne Hendry co-ordinated the year-long project. 

She said: “Communities and statutory bodies will be able to use this piece of work as a way to find solutions to some of these issues.

“In my experience, communities are always very good at coming up with projects and ideas in their local areas.

“There is always going to be the issue of funding any new initiatives. But this consultation shows the evidence of need and will perhaps support any organisation looking for funding going forward.”

Anyone who would like copies of the reports should contact CVG to have them emailed, or they can pick up paper copies. The reports are also available to access on the Caithness Community Planning website: www.highlandcpp.org.uk/locality-plans-caithness.html

For further information contact Yvonne Hendry (01955 609960; yvonne@cvg.org.uk).