Bids sought for £500,000 kitty

Hawick and Denholm councillor Stuart Marshall.
Hawick and Denholm councillor Stuart Marshall.

Borderers wanting to improve their communities are being urged to bid for shares in a new £500,000 kitty.

The first phase of Scottish Borders Council’s new localities bid fund has now opened, with applications being sought for each of the region’s five localities, with the amounts allocated being based on population.

Berwickshire has been allotted £91,300, Cheviot £85,500, Eildon £153,600, Teviot and Liddesdale £78,000 and Tweeddale £91,400.

Once applications have been submitted, they will be reviewed by panels of councillors and council staff before going to public votes early next year.

The council set up the fund in response to the 2015 Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act, and applications are now open until Friday, December 1.

Selkirkshire councillor Gordon Edgar, chairman of the authority’s Eildon locality committee, the old area forum given the biggest budget, said: “We are wanting folk to come up with ideas, and it has to be community-based.

“We are looking for as many people as possible in our communities to send their ideas in to the council between now and December 1.

“Applications will be voted on by members of the public in the locality itself so they can have a real say on how that money is spent.”

Applicants must match their ideas to one of the themes in the council’s community plan, and they include economy and skills, children and young people and health and wellbeing.

Galashiels councillor Sandy Aitchison, also the council’s executive member for neighbourhoods and locality services, said: “We are urging people to come forward with ideas to improve community life in the Scottish Borders.

“This is an opportunity for them to have a real say on how money is spent in their area and what the priorities in their community should be.”

Hawick and Denholm councillor Stuart Marshall, chairman of the Teviot and Liddesdale locality committee, says there has already been strong interest in the funding there.

He said: “I’m delighted that this fund is now open, and we are now seeking local people and groups to come forward with their ideas on improving our communities between now and the start of December.

“This new funding stream will give groups and individuals a real opportunity to support whatever projects that will make a difference to their communities.

“As chairman of the Teviot and Liddesdale locality committee, I know that there has already been great interest on accessing the £78,000 available, and I personally can’t wait to see this money spent on good causes.

“Projects can be as big or as small as they wish, and once approved by the assessment panel, it is then over to the public to have the final say by way of a voting procedure.

“I am also quite pleased that the application form is quite straightforward, and council officials will be on hand to give guidance and support through this particular process.”

The plans were approved for the council to create the fund at the start of the month.

Anyone aged 16 and over who lives, works, volunteers or studies in the Borders, as well as community groups, is eligible to apply.

To find out more visit www.scotborders.gov.uk/localitiesbidfund