Dozens of projects are hoping to be in the money as they vie for the votes that would earn them shares in a £208,000 community funding pot.
That’s the amount of cash being made available for deserving causes across the region as part of Scottish Borders Council’s new localities bid fund.
Voting via ballot boxes and online is taking place throughout this month, with the winners to be announced in March.
Altogether, 130 applications will be under consideration, including 11 in Berwickshire battling it out for shares of £45,000, three in Cheviot wanting to split £35,000, 17 in Tweeddale vying for stakes in a £30,000 kitty, 17 in Eildon hoping to share £60,000 and 14 in Teviot and Liddesdale out to split £38,000.
Once votes have been cast and the money handed out, a second allocation of £292,000 will be made available to further bidders later in the year.
Galashiels councillor Sandy Aitchison, the council’s executive member for neighbourhoods and locality services, said: “We’re now getting to the business end of the localities bid fund.
“It’s an exciting new funding stream, and it’s down to the people of the Borders to choose who gets the money.
“I’d encourage as many people as possible to shout loudest for their favourite projects and register their votes.”
Hawick and Denholm councillor Stuart Marshall has also been encouraging groups in Teviot and Liddesdale to throw their hats into the ring for funding support, and he added: “I am delighted that 14 excellent projects have been successful in going through to the next stage of the locality bids project.
“I would urge everyone eligible to vote to do so for whatever projects they think will best serve their community, and with each member of the public receiving four votes for the 14 projects on offer, then I think the results will be very exciting indeed.
“February will be a crunch time as those who have submitted their projects will then hear if they have been successful or not, and with a further £40,000 available here in the spring for the second phase of this initiative, the door may well be open for those who weren’t successful this time around to reapply.”
Bids vying for votes include the Borders Green Team in Teviot and Liddesdale, seeking £4,040, to help people with various disabilities develop skills in woodwork, painting and marketing products.
In Tweeddale, Peebles Men’s Shed is looking for £5,000 to find, open and equip a suitable premises to tackle social isolation and improve health and well-being.
One of the Cheviot applications is for £35,000 from the Kelso-based Borders Search and Rescue Unit towards the cost of a new base.
In Eildon, Melrose’s Trimontium Trust is seeking £35,000 to enhance jobseekers’ skills and employability through a community archaeology project.
Berwickshire’s bids include one from Friends of Duns Primary School for £29,000 to extend its use outside school hours.