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Highland Councillors Agree Community Regeneration Support For Communities To Continue

3rd May 2024

At the meeting of the Economy and Infrastructure Committee members had the opportunity to review the last two years of the Community Regeneration Funding Programme before agreeing changes to how the 2024/25 programme will be delivered.

Committee Chair, Cllr Ken Gowans said: "Following a successful two years, it is a good time to review what has gone well and what can be done better so we can continue to build on success, and seamlessly move the focus onto how best to support the delivery of projects."

"With 279 live projects and over £6million of committed funds still to be claimed, there is no doubt as to the value and impact of the programme's potential. The demand for funding year on year highlights the huge effort from the community and the third sector in striving to achieve positive outcomes for local communities."

Over the last two years of operation the CRF team have been responsible for:-

798 Expressions of interest;

378 full applications (22/23: 136 and 23/24: 242);

324 approved projects;

£10,431,746 funds allocated;

£7m national funds drawn down (RCGF/IIF); and

200 groups supported

The current priority for the Council's Community Regeneration Team is to address the outstanding unclaimed balance of funding sitting with approved projects; and to take steps when setting criteria, at assessment stage and when making grant award decisions to ensure that going forward the projects that receive grant awards are in a position to start and spend money within the required timeframe.

At the current time the Council is waiting to get final confirmation on the total amount of funding that will be available to communities to apply for in 2024/25. The Committee therefore approved that the current Community Regeneration Fund Strategic Sub-Committee, comprising Chair of E&I Committee, Vice Chair of E&I Committee, Chair of each Local Area Committee (with Vice Chairs acting as deputies), have their remit extended.

Councillor Gowans added: "To help ensure that project delivery takes place as approved and in a timely manner, a number of changes will be implemented, including tightening up assessment criteria, and the remit of the Community Regeneration Fund Strategic sub-group will be widened. This will enable a more flexible and responsive approach to be taken over the coming year, especially in relation to changing funding circumstances.

A link to the report discussed today is available at https://www.highland.gov.uk/meetings/meeting/4964/economy_and_infrastructure_committee

 

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