Cash boost for local communities

Community Empowerment Minister Marco Biagi purchased  'Glee' the board game from volunteer Helen Duff in the community-run charity shop.Pic: Neil Hanna
Community Empowerment Minister Marco Biagi purchased 'Glee' the board game from volunteer Helen Duff in the community-run charity shop.Pic: Neil Hanna
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A programme which is giving people the power to make decisions directly on spending in their areas will be rolled out to even more local communities through a new £2 million investment.

The move follows the success of a project in Cardenden which has already benefited from taking part in the scheme.

The new Community Choices Fund aims to build on the £500,000 invested in participatory budgeting projects in 14 local authority areas in 2015-16 and the further initiatives already taking place across another six areas.

By increasing investment to £2 million over the next financial year the Fund will support this work and open up opportunities for other public bodies and community groups to organise events too. Funding will be prioritised at work in deprived areas.

Marco Biagi, community empowerment minister, announced the details during a recent visit to the Cardenden Community Development Forum in Fife.

The Forum organised an event in 2013 and launched its community-run charity shop earlier this year.

He said: “The roll out of our pilot project will massively expand opportunities for councils, communities and public bodies to get people involved.

“We now want this fund to support a new wave of Community Choices events up and down the country.”

The Cardenden Community Development Forum’s event has been the catalyst for change in the area and they now have their own community minibus, have refurbished the local bowling club and purchased new equipment for activities for a disability group.

Vi Penman, treasurer of Cardenden Community Forum, said: “This is great news for local communities, and I hope it brings them the sort of benefits we have enjoyed. We started the Forum to ensure that we delivered the action plan and now it is involving local people in delivering all sorts of benefits from a bereavement service to the community shop and next year we hope to start refurbishing derelict properties in the village.”