Paths for All launched the award last year.
Scottish charity Paths for All is celebrating the first awards in its new Ian Findlay Path Fund.
The fund supports active and sustainable travel projects in local communities, with over £200,000 awarded to successful projects in Lanark, Loch Leven, near Kinross and Westhill in Aberdeenshire.
The fund, supported by Transport Scotland, is designed to encourage the improvement of path networks within and between local communities to make it easier and more attractive for local people to walk, wheel, cycle or choose public transport for local everyday journeys.
Funding is allocated to projects which demonstrate planned improvements to usability and accessibility of paths, encouraging more people to use them.
The first successful projects to be awarded funding include Lanark Community Development Trust, The Rural Access Committee for Kinross-shire (TRACKS) and Westhill and Elrick Community Council.
Collectively, these successful funding applications will support improvement works including path creation, refurbishment, accessibility, resurfacing and widening to improve footfall and safety.
Funding will also cover the installation of benches and soft landscaping works to improve usability and appeal.
Once improvement works are completed, it is anticipated that more people will walk, wheel and cycle on these local routes for daily journeys.
It is also hoped that this type of project will act as a catalyst for future development to local active travel networks.
Within this process the Ian Findlay Path Fund team are endeavouring to visit as many prospective applicants as possible to discuss and support for their projects and offer bespoke advice.
Yvonne McLeod, senior development officer of the Ian Findlay Path Fund, said: "We're thrilled to announce our support for the first projects through the Fund.
“After the first few months establishing the fund and its offer, we've enjoyed a wide range of exciting applications which demonstrate the innovation and dedication of community groups to encourage active travel and a connection to nature within their local communities.
“Our team is learning with each new Expression of Interest. We are finding that every single group who gets in touch has their own unique circumstances, and it is interesting to hear from them directly how the Fund will reduce car use and increase active travel within their own communities."
The Ian Findlay Path Fund launched in August 2022, was named after the charity's late Chief Officer, Ian Findlay CBE, who sadly passed away in March 2021.
From the point of award, projects will then have 12 months from the date of offer to complete their works. Community groups looking to improve their local path networks are encouraged to contact the team to discuss their ideas.
Patrick Harvie, Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings, Active Travel and Tenants' Rights who launched the fund at the beginning of August 2022, said: "I’m pleased to see the first grants being made through the Ian Findlay Path Fund. It’s great to see that even in the first few months, a range of communities across Scotland are already applying for support to improve their local paths and make walking, wheeling and cycling more attractive.
"This work is a fitting tribute to Ian’s proud legacy as a champion for active travel and supports the Scottish Government’s ambition to build an Active Nation. Funding is still available, and I would encourage community groups, development trusts, charities and housing associations – all seeking to improve their existing local paths, to get in touch with the team at Paths for All."