Six groups invited to progress Community Challenge Fund bids (21/02/13)

Community Challenge Fund Information

Six Highland community groups have been selected to progress bids for funding from The Highland Council’s new Community Challenge Fund, which will provide £1 million for community projects exploring new ways of delivering services at a local level. The groups are Nairn Cricket Club, Kinlochleven Community Trust, Lochalsh Sports Association, Kyle and Lochalsh Community Trust, Fort Augustus and Glenmoriston Community Company and Lochaber Sports Association.

Their bids were considered to meet the criteria for funding and the Council will be in touch with them to advise on the next stage of the bidding process. Another 20 community groups which expressed interest have been signposted to other funding streams, such as Business Gateway.

Chairman of the panel of elected members, which considered the expressions of interest, is Councillor David Alston, Depute Leader of the Council. He is delighted with the response to the first round of funding.

He said: “By the 1 February deadline, we received 35 expressions of interest which demonstrates the eagerness of our local communities to become more involved in their communities.  We have invited 6 groups to proceed to the next stage and another 20 will benefit by being signposted to existing funding sources.”

The Community Challenge Fund takes forward the Council’s commitment to local communities.

Councillor Alston added: “We believe community groups are best placed to understand local needs and many have ideas about how services can be better delivered under local control. We are now providing communities with the opportunity to make these ideas a reality – and we are backing our commitment with a substantial budget. I know that the response will demonstrate the creativity and commitment of community organisations across the Highlands.”

Any groups with good ideas that fit the criteria can submit an expression of interest on-line for the next round of the scheme by 1 May. 

Projects should: -

1. Deliver the same level of Council service at a lower cost and be sustainable going forward,
or

2. Provide a higher level of Council service for the same cost and be sustainable going forward,
or

3. Help to reduce the Council’s costs for maintaining premises, by taking on the maintenance and running costs going forward with a one-off fund contribution.

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