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Highland Council hails success of Community Regeneration Support for Communities after ore than £10 million pumped into 324 local projects

By Alasdair Fraser

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Highland Council headquarters. Picture: James Mackenzie
Highland Council headquarters. Picture: James Mackenzie

A community regeneration scheme that pumped over £10 million into 324 local projects has been hailed by Highland councillors for “two years of success”.

Members at Thursday’s (May 2) economy and infrastructure committee meeting reviewed the last two years of the funding programme before agreeing changes to its delivery in 2024/25.

They are now examining ways to build on the impact of the Community Regeneration Support for Communities scheme.

Committee chairman 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 £6 million 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 Council’s Community Regeneration Team is set to address the outstanding unclaimed balance of funding sitting with approved projects.

It will also take steps to ensure that projects given grant awards are ready to start work and spend money within the required timeframe.

The Council is currently waiting to get final confirmation on the total amount of funding available for communities to apply for in 2024/25.

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.

“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 on Thursday is available here.

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