Projects braced for cash cuts after Brexit

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As the Borders navigates the aftermath of the recent European Union referendum, there is mixed news for projects reliant on funding from Brussels.

One such project is a pop-up shop scheme designed to make use of empty units in Selkirk.

The scheme recently received £15,000 in LEADER funding, an EU and Scottish Government programme to support innovative rural development projects. It is delivered here by a local action group with support from Scottish Borders Council.

A council spokesperson said: “Applications for the next round of funding are open until August 31.

“Following community consultation, the Scottish Borders Leader local development strategy has been devised with the key objective of focusing on enterprising communities.

“The aim is to develop people and jobs, improve community networks, foster leadership and expand skills and training opportunities.”

Users of the town’s pop up shops such as Joyce Wright say they have been a great success, and she hopes their funding continues.

“There were a lot of empty units in the town, and they have been used for so many things, from events raising money for Christmas lights, youth hockey teams or cancer research, to celebrating the Queen’s birthday,” she said.

“The whole town makes use of them, and they are usually booked far ahead.”

Regarding future Leader funding, the council’s spokesperson added: “Following the result of the EU referendum at the end of last month, officers are continuing to liaise with partners to understand what the impact will be on European funding programmes, such as LEADER.

“In the meantime, the Leader team continues to work with business and community groups to develop projects and deliver the programme as planned.”

Meanwhile, a bid for EU funding to improve the River Tweed’s natural defences against extreme weather events and flooding is now unlikely to go ahead, it is feared.

Tweed Forum director Luke Comins voiced his concerns this week while considering the potential impact on the organisation, of last month’s referendum.

He revealed the forum had been preparing to submit a funding application to Horizon 2020, the EU’s biggest research and innovation programme.

“The bid, which was in its early stages, related to how we can build resilience against more extreme climatic events,” said Mr Comins. “Because the application has yet to be submitted, it will almost certainly not go ahead now.”