Funding worth £75,000 over three years has been secured for Beach Buddies to help maintain some of the island’s public footpaths and public rights of way.

The charity has teamed up with the Department of Infrastructure for the scheme.

It follows on from a pilot scheme last year, which saw people under community service and probation orders carrying out beach cleaning with Beach Buddies.

Infrastructure Minister Ray Harmer MHK said: ’I’m delighted that this project is now underway and that more of our footpaths can be given the attention they deserve.

’The Year of Our Island initiative encourages people to get out and explore more and the work of Beach Buddies and the Department of Infrastructure will support this.’

The department has a 10-year improvement plan for public rights of way to ensure the most popular routes - namely the Raad ny Foillan coastal footpath, Millennium Way, Heritage Trail and Bayr ny Skeddan - are maintained to a high standard.

Beach Buddies will be concentrating on keeping other routes, which are also regularly used, trim and tidy.

Beach Buddies will work with volunteers and local authorities from across the island to organise work in their area.

In addition, people under community service and probation orders will be called upon by Beach Buddies to carry out work.

Beach Buddies founder Bill Dale said: ’Teams from community service and probation have been regularly joining Beach Buddies events for some years.

’It was good to have these people take part in beach cleaning, but it was also clear they had more to offer and could be put to an even better use.

’We asked whether, over a couple of weekends, they could help repair a footpath at Niarbyl, which had been badly damaged in storms, and they did a really great job.

’These were people with all sorts of different skills and it just seemed logical that they could take on other projects.’

Local authorities, walking groups and interested parties are invited to submit applications for specific footpaths to be attended to through its website or email [email protected]

The charity also welcomes contact from people interested in volunteering their time.