Getting out into the countryside is something that most of us take for granted. But for anyone with mobility issues, the great outdoors can be a challenge.
The Loch Leven Heritage Trail is accessible to almost everyone: 13-miles of uninterrupted, wheelchair-friendly pathway that loops around the whole of the loch, taking in beautiful views, and bringing people closer to nature. There's even a free mobility scooter hire scheme for anyone who needs a bit of extra help to get around.
But, there's a problem. If you set off from Kinross, about halfway round the loch you reach the visitor centre at RSPB Scotland Loch Leven. It's a great place to have a pit stop, meet people and find out more about the area's amazing wildlife. Unfortunately, a busy road separates the Heritage Trail from the visitor centre.
There's an old tunnel under the road to help people cross safely, but it has steep steps at both ends, so if you depend on a wheelchair or mobility scooter, you can't get through. The steps also cause problems for cyclists, and families with pushchairs, as well as anyone who just finds it difficult to get up and down stairs.
We don't think a few steps should block anyone's enjoyment of the outdoors.
So, we're fundraising to help build a new underpass, which will be reached by gentle slopes at both ends. The underpass will also link the Loch Leven Heritage Trail with the Fife core path network, opening up miles of trails, and providing hours of opportunity for enjoying the outdoors.
The underpass will cost over £800,000 to build, but the project has already been very generously supported by Sustrans, Perth & Kinross Council, the RSPB, Scottish Natural Heritage, The Gannochy Trust, The Gillman Trust and The Brown Forbes Memorial Fund.
We’re now very close to our target, so close that we are able to begin construction. However, there is still a funding gap that we need to fill before we can complete the project.
We just need to raise a final £19,000, and that's where we really need your help!