Council’s communities fund accused of ‘discriminating against rural areas’

Claims that a new system of grants for community projects discriminates against rural areas have been denied by Argyll and Bute Council.

The Supporting Communities Fund makes up to £2,500 available for local groups, and in a new departure the public will be able to vote on who should receive the cash.

But last week Lomond North councillor George Freeman told Cove and Kilcreggan Community Council that this would be unfair.

“If we get one application from Cove with a population of say 1,000 and an application from Helensburgh with say 17,000, who is going to win?” he said.

“All the rural areas are going to be disadvantaged.

“I find it amazing that the council can go for a system that discriminates against small communities.”

The deadline for ideas to be submitted is this Friday, December 22, and council spokesperson denied that larger towns would have an advantage.

“We carried out a similar project earlier this year and the results show that people didn’t just vote for projects in their own, but voted for the projects they thought would be of most value,” she said.

“Funding will be split across the different administrative areas, therefore guaranteeing that each area will benefit.

“The fund is all about working with local people to make the differences they’d like to see in their area.

“The Supporting Communities Fund gives people the opportunity to vote for projects which are important to them, and enables communities to have the final say on which projects receive funding.

“We would like to invite as many people as possible to make the most of this opportunity.”

A website has been created specifically for the fund – www.abpb.co.uk – where groups can post their ideas of how they could use potential funding of up to £2,500,

Group who have applied by Friday’s deadline will have until January 22 to complete and return a grant application form providing more detail on their idea, including costs involved,

Members of the public will then have the opportunity to vote for which ideas they like the best when voting opens in April.

Help to submit an idea and get an application form for funding is available for groups from the council’s community development team on 01369 708669 or Argyll TSI on 01436 671613.

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