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£25 million for Scotland’s Living Landmark

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Living Landmarks
Release date:
14 11 2007
Environmental transformation planned for Forth Valley

AN industrial landscape between Falkirk and Grangemouth is set to be transformed into an inspirational green space which will be open and accessible to all, thanks to a massive £25 million grant from the Big Lottery Fund to the innovative Helix project in Falkirk.

This massive injection of funding, planned to take place over the next six years, will allow the Helix project to radically transform the environment in the Forth Valley as part of the BIG Lottery Fund’s Living Landmarks programme.  This award is the first of its kind in Scotland through this programme, and the largest ever awarded by BIG to individual projects so far.

The Helix is one of only three UK projects sharing in awards, which between them total over £70 million. The other Living Landmarks announced today are the Connswater Community Greenway planned by the Greater East Belfast Partnership and Kerrier District Council’s Cornwall’s Heartlands, which will receive £23.5 million and £22.3 million respectively.

The Helix project will transform over 300 hectares of unused urban scrub into an environmental resource for thousands of people living in Falkirk and across Central Scotland. The finished project will see:

  • Over a quarter of a million new trees on the site
  • 34 kilometres of paths and cycle tracks
  • A new section of canal linking and extending the Forth and Clyde Canal into the Forth Estuary
  • The creation of the outstanding 30 metre high sculpture, ‘Kelpie’

Designed by world renowned equine sculptor Andy Scott and based on the mythical Scots legend of water based spirits, the Kelpie, resembling two huge horses heads, will be the largest equine sculpture in the world. Kelpie will also have a working role as a part of the canal’s new boat lift.

Falkirk Council has led the successful bid for this massive lottery grant in partnership with British Waterways and Central Scotland Forest Trust. The Helix is a key project in the ‘My Future’s In Falkirk’ economic regeneration initiative for the Falkirk Council area.

Council Leader Councillor Linda Gow is delighted that the plans can now begin to be turned into reality. Welcoming the grant she said, “The Helix is a creation of our communities – their thoughts and ideas as well as their aspirations were all included in the project plans and we will continue to consult our communities as the Helix takes shape in the coming years.                           

“The bid couldn’t have succeeded without the amazing vision of the Falkirk people and we wish to thank the many individuals, groups and organisations who have supported us over the past few years and helped to make the Helix one of the most exciting environmental developments in the UK.

“The project will transform the site and help us to achieve our long term aims to improve the area for residents and visitors alike under our ‘My Future’s In Falkirk’ economic development initiative.

“The award of £25 million is recognition that The Helix is an inspirational and sustainable project. For many years to come, as the project develops, the benefits will be felt by local people, businesses and the environment alike.”

And Simon Rennie, Chief Executive of Central Scotland Forest Trust (CSFT) said: “The Helix project is an excellent example of partnership working at its very best, from partners to the community and businesses. CSFT congratulates all of those involved in delivering a successful bid to the heart of Scotland.”

The aim of the Living Landmarks programme is to provide funding of up to £25 million to create major new capital projects that transform, revitalise and regenerate their communities. In August 2006, 23 projects made it onto the final Living Landmarks shortlist and were each awarded up to £250,000 to develop their proposals, leaving them much better placed to take their schemes further.

313 Projects applied for the lottery millions and all were given extensive scrutiny by the Living Landmarks Committee, which included experts in the areas of architecture and regeneration.

Steve Dunlop, Director Scotland at British Waterways said: “This is great news not just for the many local communities in and around Falkirk and Grangemouth but for Scotland as a whole. The Helix has captured the imagination of the public both locally and nationally and I have no doubt that this groundbreaking environmental project will become a great source of pride for everyone.

“The Helix includes a number of innovative elements, all of which combine to create a truly landmark project. The breathtaking Kelpie boatlift is quite simply an engineering marvel which is set to become a major tourism asset for Scotland, attracting visitors from across the globe.’

“Independent research has shown clearly that the rebirth and investment in Scotland's lowland canals has resulted in a range of social and economic benefits to canalside communities across the country, and I firmly believe that The Helix project will have a similar impact across central Scotland and beyond.“

Alison Magee, Chair of the Big Lottery Fund Scotland Committee added: “This award follows an enormous amount of hard work from the projects involved, which led to some extremely tough decisions for the Big Lottery Fund. This was a hugely competitive UK wide process, and so I’m delighted that The Helix project has been ultimately successful against stiff competition. I’m very much looking forward to watching this innovative and ground-breaking project come to life over the next few years.

“The dedication and effort of the partnership here in Falkirk has paid off so that this wonderful regeneration project, which has truly captured the imagination of the Falkirk and Grangemouth communities can now take shape. This is the largest grant the Big Lottery Fund has ever awarded in Scotland and we believe it will create a truly Living Landmark that will be used and enjoyed for generations to come.”

An even bigger grant from the Big Lottery Fund of up to £50 million is to be decided in December as part of The People’s £50 Million contest. Four projects will be screened on ITV1 during the week commencing 3rd December, before being put to the public vote to decide which project wins the cash. In the running are Black Country as Urban Park; The Edge at the Eden Project; Sherwood: The Living Legend; and Sustrans' Connect2. Further details can be found at www.thepeoples50million.org.uk [ITV always reserves the right to change its programme schedules].

Watch videos showcasing the successful Living Landmarks projects

Further information

Emma Whitfield Big Lottery Fund Press Office Scotland 0141 242 1415 / 07880 737157
Big Lottery Fund Scotland Information Line 0870 240 2391
Full details of the Big Lottery Fund programmes and grant awards are available on the website at www.biglotteryfund.org.uk.

Notes to Editors

  • The Big Lottery Fund rolls out close to £2 million in Lottery good cause money every 24 hours which together with other Lottery distributors means that across the UK most people are within a few miles of a Lottery-funded project.
  • The Big Lottery Fund, the largest of the National Lottery good cause distributors, has been rolling out grants to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK since its inception in June 2004. It was established by Parliament on 1 December 2006.
  • Since the National Lottery began in 1994, 28p from every pound spent by the public has gone to Good Causes. As a result, over £20 billion has now been raised and more than 280,000 grants given out across the arts, sport, heritage, charities, health, education and the environment.