Enterprising community groups who are delivering economic and regeneration benefits to their areas by refurbishing disused buildings, developing renewable energy projects and creating jobs opportunities, will receive a share of an additional £668,000 investment.
A boost to the Strengthening Communities Programme (SCP) will see an extra 26 projects drive forward community-led regeneration in their areas. This comes on top of the £3 million which was allocated to around 50 projects in April 2014.
The additional funding will help build the capacity of local organisations and allow communities to deliver initiatives which respond to their aspirations. It is part of the extra £10 million announced in the Programme for Government, to give people and communities the powers to address inequalities.
Community Empowerment Minister Marco Biagi revealed the successful community groups on a visit to Mac Arts in Galashiels which will receive support towards its long-term aim of converting a former council building into a multi-purpose arts facility. He said:
“I am delighted that 26 innovative projects across Scotland will be able to benefit from £668,000 of funding from the Strengthening Communities Programme. Very often, it is the people within their own communities who can best identify how their areas should be improved, which is why this increased investment and support for these local projects is so crucial.
“This funding will help communities breathe life into disused buildings, produce opportunities for renewables generation, establish community transport and tourism initiatives and create new jobs.
“People living in rural areas clearly have different priorities to communities in the central belt and the wide range of projects reflects Scotland’s diversity.
“This investment shows exactly what we want our Community Empowerment (Scotland) Bill to achieve. The Bill, which reaches its final stage next month, will support and make it easier for groups to tackle inequalities in their areas, it will give communities more powers to take over assets and will strengthen their voices in the decisions that matter to them.”
Other new projects to benefit from SCP include the Crossroads Community Hub in Ayrshire which is working to redevelop an old school site into a food and education hub, Balornock East Residents Association in Glasgow’s new community centre plans and the Unst Partnership in Shetland’s community renewables and waste recycling schemes.
After lying empty for four years, the St Andrews Arts Centre in Galashiels was transformed into Mac Arts, which is run by the Duncan MacKinnon Music and Arts Trust (DMMAT). The Trust took over the former Borders Council building in 2012 with the goal of transforming it into a cultural and recreational venue for the local area.
Dave Angus from Mac Arts said:
‘This award from the Strengthening Communities Programme will allow the Duncan MacKinnon Music and Arts Trust to further develop Mac Arts into the Borders’ leading music and arts venue.
“As a charitable organisation that relies on volunteers, this is a fantastic boost that will help us ensure that Mac Arts is able to provide top quality entertainment and arts space for everyone in our local community.”