Two Falkirk district projects are to be bolstered by a significant funding boost from The National Lottery Heritage Fund.
Trainee and apprenticeship schemes at Bo’ness and Kinneil Railway which will teach the industrial skills needed to conserve and run Scotland’s largest fleet of historic steam locomotives are to benefit from a £741,500 grant.
These will be delivered in a new purpose-built ‘Steam Shed’ engineering facility, paid for by The National Lottery Heritage Fund.
The facility will include a viewing gallery for visitors to watch and learn about the restoration and maintenance work in progress, while the overall visitor experience will also be improved with a new museum entrance and the creation of an interpretative trail.
Elsewhere, £618,000 is to be given to a Come Forth for Wildlife — Froglife project aimed at raising awareness of Scotland’s reptiles and amphibians which are increasingly under threat from loss of habitat and disease.
The initiative was launched following a 68 per cent decline in the population of the common toad.
Thanks to The National Lottery, habitat conservation and improvements, including the creation of 49 ponds, will take place at 31 sites across Forth Valley.
Ponds are not only vital to the survival of aquatic animals and plants but also act as carbon sinks to combat the negative impacts of climate change.
Communities will be encouraged to take part in the project and organisers are seeking to recruit 1800 volunteers to clear scrub, maintain hedges and identify and record species.
There will also be pop-up gardening workshops to encourage those with gardens to manage them in a wildlife-friendly way, gardening opportunities for those without gardens and training courses for land owners.
The funding decisions are the first to be made following a major devolution of decision-making putting 80 per cent of money distributed by The National Lottery Heritage Fund into the hands of local decision-makers with local expertise.
Riona McMorrow, acting head of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “Making more decisions on funding in Scotland means we can focus on the heritage that really matters to people, creating jobs, bringing economic prosperity and improving people’s lives right across the country.
“The awards we’ve made not only demonstrate how incredibly diverse our heritage is, they celebrate the thousands of volunteers who commit their time to making sure our country’s past is kept safe for future generations.”