A wide range of projects across Aberdeenshire, Moray and the Highlands and Islands have just been granted awards totalling £40,000.

In 2017, grants ranged from £100 up to £60,000 and totalled more than £150,000, benefiting around 60 worthy causes.

Among recipients just announced is Moray Reach Out, which will use its award of up to £10,000 to buy specialist equipment to turn recycled plastics into PET flakes which can then be sold on to companies to give the material a second life. Up until now, the social enterprise has simply baled and passed on its recyclable plastics, but this will enable the organisation to make up a saleable commodity, helping with its sustainability.

Holiday schemes for young people at Elgin Youth Cafe and the Keith Holibob Club, run by MFR Cash for Kids, will benefit from £5000, while the Fochabers Scouts have been granted up to £3500 towards the purchase of a second minibus for use by the group and wider community.

Moravian orienteering, which is the largest club in Scotland with around 200 members, will use its award of £3000 towards the purchase of new electronic timing equipment. The devices can be programmed for ‘touch free’ punching, which is in demand in high end sprint races and would enable the club to host even more high profile events.

The Spey Bay based Scottish Dolphin Centre has been awarded £2400 to help provide new information panels as it moves towards winter opening from November. Up until now, the centre has been open from March to October but is now moving to an 11-month season. New interpretation boards will be created to educate visitors on how the local wildlife and ecosystems adapt to winter conditions.

Keith KERBS skate park has been awarded £1000 towards its fourth phase of development at the Cuthil Park facility, while Screen Memories Scotland will use its £800 to help buy technical equipment to play films from the golden age of cinema to trigger memories in people living with dementia. A Moray pilot of the project is underway and residents at Andersons care home, as well as members of the wider community, were among the first to benefit from the cinema-like experience.

Rosehearty Community Boat Club has been pledged £5000 towards the creation of a new clubhouse with boat building facilities and a classroom area. The club is transforming a former 40-year-old toilet block at the coastal site into a seafaring facility under the £97,000 project.

An award of £3290 has been made to the Inverness Loch Ness Rotary Club to help roll out a music initiative for people with dementia in the Inverness and wider Highland area. Playlist for Life,  founded by Sally Magnusson, enables people to create a playlist of personally meaningful music from their lives. The songs not only rekindle memories and promote connections with loved ones, but also alleviate dementia symptoms such as stress and anxiety. The money will be used to train care home staff, NHS Highland employees and Rotatians to help dementia sufferers create their own playlists.

Ness Historical Society, based in the north of Lewis, has been awarded £5000 towards it ambitious project to bring new life to a former schoolhouse and canteen. Comunn Eachdraidh Nis operates from the former Cross Primary School and is transforming the nearby buildings, which are currently derelict, into a local history archive, conservation workshop, expanded museum, cafe, function and meeting rooms and exhibition area. The society has already secured around £600,000 towards the £640,000 project and the £5000 pledged will be used towards new kitchen facilities at the community hub.

Elsewhere, the community-owned Isle of Eigg have been awarded £3000 towards the creation of a community tree nursery, which will grow native species for reforestation purposes across the island and surrounding isles. Volunteers of all ages will be involved in running the nursery, which will be built up to produce around 20,000 trees every year.

Now, the Foundation is looking for further innovative projects to back as it looks to its next funding round.

The Foundation manages personal legacies left by Gordon and Ena Baxter of the Moray-based Baxters Food Group, and awards funds five times each year to charities and community organisations seeking to benefit their local community.

They can be working in education, health, social welfare, sport, arts, heritage, conservation and the environment.

In early 2017, the Foundation held a celebratory exhibition to mark the award of £500,000 to a wide range of well-managed projects. At the time, trustees set the ambitious goal of reaching the £1 million mark by the end of 2018.

The next funding round will take place in April and anyone interested in applying should contact Foundation manager Kay Jackson for an informal chat on 01343 822599 or by email at kay@gebfoundation.com. Trustees will also meet to consider applications in June, August and October and you can visit www.gebfoundation.com for further information.