Volunteer group wins top national award

L-R: Comedian Fred MacAulay, Catca's Ian Howarth and Christine Bell and category sponsor Sharon Bolton of the University of Stirling Management School
L-R: Comedian Fred MacAulay, Catca's Ian Howarth and Christine Bell and category sponsor Sharon Bolton of the University of Stirling Management School

An environmental group lifted one of the top prizes at this year’s Scottish Rural Awards.

Communities Along the Carron Association (CATCA) was voted the best in the Conservation and the Environment category at the prestigious awards ceremony at Edinburgh’s Dynamic Earth last Thursday.

The event was hosted by Scottish Field and the Scottish Countryside Alliance (SCA) to celebrate the innovation, dedication and enterprise of those living and working in rural Scotland.

CATCA, whose volunteers have shifted over 2000 bags of litter from the river which runs through Falkirk from the Carron Valley Reservoir to the Kelpies, as well as other projects to develop the biodiversity along the stretch of water.

CATCA’s Christine Bell said: “CATCA were both shocked and delighted to win this prestigious award. We did not seek nomination and when we heard we had been nominated and shortlisted we were thrilled.

“As a small volunteer community group, the ability to win such an award is all down to the efforts of the people we reach in the schools and the communities, without their efforts this would not be possible so it is recognition for so many people who share our passion to help make our communities be all they can be.

“We had not for one moment expected to win alongside so many fantastic groups and projects.

“A perfect end to a fantastic year.”

Clearing up the River Carron

Communities Along the Carron Association (CATCA) is a group of local volunteers committed to the regeneration of the River Carron, its communities and adjacent land.

CATCA works in partnership with councils, agencies, other groups, stakeholders and funders to reach its aims which include habitat, water quality, wildlife and biodiversity enhancement; path network development; education, culture and heritage projects.

The group was formed in 2010 following consultation with the 16 Carron communities and identified an initial 31 projects to reflect concerns raised in the communities.

For more information and details on how to get involved visit www.catca.org.uk or call (01324) 501962.