by Jamie Buchan, The Courier, March 23 2019
More than 100 community groups will benefit from a new £1.2 million award scheme announced by Perth and Kinross Council.
Sports clubs, musicians, public halls and mental health services are among the first to benefit from the authority’s new Community Investment Fund.
The scheme, which was originally approved at last year’s budget talks, gives five “local action partnerships – made up of residents and community council members – the power to decide how the money is distributed.
The first round of funding, worth £600,000, has now been approved for 105 groups and projects across the region.
Money was sub-divided into 12 local authority wards, meaning £50,000 was made available for each area.
The cash will go towards, among other schemes, a redevelopment of Kettins Parish Hall, new equipment and uniforms for Blair Atholl Pipe Band and improvements to the Letham Community Hub.
Perth charity PKAVS, the Men’s Shed group in Stanley, the Perth and District YMCA, Perthshire Pride and the West Stormont Woodland Group have also been successful.
Council leader Murray Lyle said: “I am absolutely delighted to announce that the first £600,000 of awards have been agreed.”
He said: “The administration is determined to shift the balance from the council deciding what is best for communities, to trusting communities to come forward with worthwhile projects that need financial support, that they would find difficult to raise by themselves.
“It is a further demonstration of the council’s commitment to investing in communities and giving local people a greater say on how public money is spent in their communities.
“Importantly, the applications were sifted and agreed not by councillors, but by members of local communities across Perth and Kinross.”
In the first round, 149 applications totalling £1.59m were received. Mr Lyle said: “For the projects that didn’t make it this year, there is more to come.”
Local MSP Liz Smith welcomed the initiative: “The community investment fund is important for not only providing additional funding for people, but it encourages local community groups and projects to apply for the money.
“Scores of groups will benefit from this funding across Perth and Kinross. New projects and initiatives were prioritised.”