News and events News Bags of Help celebrates the sea during #NationalMarineWeek Banner Image photo credit KirstinMcEwan/CT Productions This National Marine Week we are highlighting the twelve projects which are sharing £28,000 of grants to celebrate, educate, protect and promote our seas and the living things who depend on them. During May and June 2019 Tesco stores in Stornoway, Stranraer, Ayr and Fife all celebrated our amazing coastline with three coastal projects in each of their Bags of Help in-store votes. Coastal Rowing is a growing sport. The Skiffie Worlds 2019 – Coastal Rowing World Championships took place in Loch Ryan, Stranraer during July. Teams competed from all around the world and UK, and the Stranraer Watersports Association used their grant towards a week-long festival of community activities and entertainment. In the waters around Stornoway, the Blue Moon Rowing Club uses their St Ayles Skiff rowing boat as a means to give local people the opportunity to get on the water, learn how to row and enjoy time with others - all in a safe, fun, encouraging environment. They are using their grant to provide free access so as to encourage those that have, or are experiencing difficulties to row through The Embark Project. Photo Credit Saskia Coulson/CT Productions In Pittenweem, the West Braes Project is using their grant to provide the very best optical equipment to encourage people to look and learn about the dolphins and whales that visit their special piece of coastline, believing that education leads to caring for the environment. And if that marine life becomes stranded, the British Divers Marine Life Rescue received a grant towards a specialist rescue trailer for their Ayrshire and Clydeside team. Plastic pollution in our seas needs no introduction. The Fife Coast and Countryside Trust will work with local communities to organise and support four major beach cleans across the ‘Fringe of Gold’, as Fife’s beach coastline is known. The equipment will enable the programme of cleans to continue. Protecting the internationally acclaimed coast and beaches of West Harris from plastic pollution is the aim of The West Harris Trust’s project, which will see education activities, beach cleans and up-cycling collected plastic into art works. Young people in Prestwick will benefit through Prestwick Academy’s seaside themed sensory garden, while in Stornoway youth swimming skills and lifeguard training is being delivered by Swim Western Isles. St Andrews and Troon RNLI lifeguards and lifeboat stations will fund equipment and training. The Stranraer RNLI Park Fest takes place on 16 - 17 August 2019 to raise awareness and funds for the local lifeboat station whilst also providing fun for the local community and volunteers. And finally, are you free on the weekend of 13-15 September 2019? Why not visit the Stranraer Oyster Festival a three-day celebration of the area’s unique coastal heritage, it’s culture, people and fabulous wealth of local produce. A seafood celebration on the shores of Loch Ryan, organised by Stranraer Development Trust – with a contribution from Bags of Help. Across Scotland Bags of Help has supported more than 3,500 community projects with over £10 million of funds. Sign up to our mailing list to keep informed of next steps.