Funding pilot to run at Arbroath church

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An Arbroath church has been chosen as part of a Holyrood pilot to develop better ways to disperse funding at a grass-roots level.

St Andrew’s Church has been selected as one of four bodies across Scotland to administer a Scottish Government pilot scheme whereby grants will be awarded to community groups intent on putting good ideas into practice to make things better in their local communities.

Rev. Martin Fair, minister at St Andrew’s Church said: “Participatory Budgeting is common in other parts of the world and is essentially concerned with putting decision-making about how money should be spent in the hands of local people rather than with bureaucrats who lack local knowledge.

“To that end, a pilot scheme has been launched. In our case, any Arbroath-based community group, however well-established or informal, can lodge an application for a grant of up to £1000, with such a grant allowing them to put a great idea into practice.

“All ideas are valid as long as they are about benefitting the people of Arbroath.

“There is a very simple application form and the deadline for the submission of applications is March 17, 2017.”

A public meeting has been scheduled for March 28 to showcase the funding bids received.

Mr Fair explained: “A public meeting will take place at which each group will have a brief opportunity to explain their idea.

“This is followed by a ballot after which those projects which gathered the most support are announced as having been successful.

“Each is awarded a grant of up to £1000. The money must be properly accounted for and spent within a year of award.”

Mr Fair is now urging all community organisations throughout the town to make their applications and hopefully they will receive funding to bring their ideas to fruition.

He continued: “So it’s time for local groups to get their thinking caps on and to come up with creative ideas for how such grants can be spent.

“Information sheets and application forms can be downloaded from the Arbroath Online Facebook page or obtained from the steering group secretary, Susan Macfarlane - or call 01241 879694.”