Communities receive funding boost to assist with local place-based initiatives

At the recent meeting of East Ayrshire Council’s Cabinet, councillors approved place-based investment funding for 23 local projects, totalling £768,664 in support of community-led regeneration across East Ayrshire.

The Place Based Investment Programme is a five year Scottish Government Investment programme, running from 2021/22 to 2025/26. It aims to support town centre revitalisation and community led regeneration by ensuring that all place based investments are shaped by the needs and aspirations of local communities. It also seeks to tackle inequality and disadvantage and accelerate local ambitions for net zero, wellbeing, community involvement and ownership.

With a confirmed reduced funding allocation for East Ayrshire of £791,577, the 2023/24 programme was open for applications between 23 March and 28 April. A total of 42 applications were received - with a total funding request of £2,048,799, resulting in an over-subscription to the programme of over £1,257,222 million.

The aim of the 2023/24 programme is to target investment towards new groups and projects, strengthen investment alignment with local strategy, target investment at ‘investment ready’ projects and encourage projects to leverage wider investment into local communities.

The evaluation process for applications included a panel of local citizens with previous experience of managing regeneration projects, as well as senior officer panel from East Ayrshire Council.

Following this robust assessment process, a total of 23 projects have been recommended for funding.

Some of the projects successful in securing funding include: the refurbishment of the kitchen at Bonnyton Community Centre; the creation of a children’s play area at Crossroads Hub; energy efficiency improvements at Dalmellington Community Centre; play park improvements at Morton Park, Darvel; all weather tennis courts at Kilmarnock Tennis Club, Howard Park; new roofing for Lugar Bowling club and accessible toilet facilities in Stewarton.

Councillor Douglas Reid, Leader of East Ayrshire Council said: “The Place Based Investment Programme provides valuable funding for community-led regeneration, enabling innovation and collaboration across all of our communities.

“As with previous years, we continue to see significant demand from local communities to lead the regeneration of our towns and villages and this is evidenced by the level of oversubscription this programme continues to attract. And whilst this passion and enthusiasm in our communities is to be celebrated, there will be disappointment too for the unsuccessful applicants. And we must remember too that the amount of funding available for this year is considerably lower than what was available last year.

“I was delighted to see the level of community involvement in evaluation of applications, contributing towards communities having a say in how investment is made locally and holding true to the spirit of community-led regeneration. And once again equity has played a key role in determining these awards. Twelve of these projects are receiving investment for the first time and in terms of geographical spread, I’m delighted that more than half of the projects approved for funding are located in some of our most deprived communities.”

Read the Cabinet report