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South Kintyre Development Trust (SKDT), the Isle of Gigha Heritage Trust (IGHT) and Tarbert and Skipness Community Trust (TSCT) are some of more than 120 community groups to benefit from the Scottish Government’s £350 million package of support to address the social and economic impacts of COVID-19.
The £40 million Supporting Communities Fund, which forms part of the Scottish Government’s support package, is being administered across the region by development agency Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).
The fund includes an initial £10 million investment that is being distributed to communities through eligible community organisations that play an active role in providing vital local services. A further allocation of £10 million has been approved to support the second phase of the fund.
Eric Spence, chairman of SKDT, said he was ‘delighted’ that the trust had been awarded £35,000, adding: ‘As a community anchor organisation, SKDT is able to distribute a portion of these funds to other local community groups to support their efforts during this time.
‘We aim to support Kintyre Community Resilience Group, Kintyre Food Bank and Shopper-Aide in their vital work as well as other local initiatives which are helping to keep our community safe and well.
‘If you think your project could benefit from some of this funding, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org’
The IGHT was awarded £11,000 which will support activities that directly support residents and businesses on the island. This will include temporarily employing a COVID-19 volunteer coordinator based on the island and a small fund to support local response efforts.
Ian Wilson, chair of IGHT, said: ‘This is a very worrying time for Gigha, its residents and businesses. None of us can be sure what the long-term impacts for our community will be but this is very welcome support from HIE and the Scottish Government that can help us provide very quick and local help.’
While TSCT secured and will manage its £23,607 funding, it will be distributed through Team Tarbert, the volunteer group set up at the start of the lockdown to help members of the community who are shielding, self-isolating or needing some extra assistance.
As lockdown has continued Team Tarbert has had extra pressure placed on its resources, some of which will be met by this funding. Areas where the money will be spent include: volunteers’ expenses; personal protective equipment for volunteers; insurance; purchase of mobile phones and the establishment of a hardship fund.
TSCT chairwoman Sheila Campbell said: ‘We are delighted TSCT has secured funding from the Scottish Government, via HIE to support the communities of Tarbert and Skipness which are served by the trust.
‘For the past few weeks TSCT and Team Tarbert have been supporting people in our communities with help from Airigh, Cour and RES Freasdail windfarms among others, and this grant will allow us to continue this support for some time to come.’
Fiona McTaggart, Team Tarbert’s coordinator, said: ‘We are extremely thankful to receive these funds, and the ongoing support from TSCT. This will give all those who we’re helping peace of mind that we can continue to provide support over the coming months.
‘We are also grateful to work together with Tarbert Academy, Councillor Anne Horn, as well as the wider community to take care of those who need us most during this time.
‘The amount of support we’ve received from so many individuals and businesses has been phenomenal. That, together with our army of volunteers and wonderful community is what makes Team Tarbert work.’
Other community groups to benefit are Carradale Community Trust which was awarded £10,600, Fyne Futures Limited which was awarded £20,000, the Isle of Jura Development Trust which was awarded £3,320, and South Islay Development which was awarded £50,000.
Kirsten Logue, HIE development manager, said: ‘The trust and other members of Team Tarbert are working together to reach as many people as possible in the area who need help or support as a result of the lockdown.
‘HIE is distributing the Supporting Communities Fund in the region on behalf of the Scottish Government. It’ll help anchor groups to co-ordinate and deliver their responses over the coming weeks and months.’