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Local groups urged to apply for OIC funding

OIC are urging local groups to take advantage of their latest round of funding packages. One of the projects to benefit in recent years has been the installation of an all-weather bowling green by Kirkwall Bowling Club.

Groups in Orkney who are looking to carry out a community based project are being urged to consider applying for Orkney Islands Council’s LEADER fund and the Community Development Fund.

LEADER is part of the Scotland Rural Development Programme which funds economic, environmental and social measures for the benefit of rural Scotland. Orkney’s £2.5m LEADER funding offers funding for small-scale, pilot projects led by the local community or that are in the local community interest, with the aim to promote economic and community development within Orkney. LEADER can provide up to 50 per cent of project costs.

OIC’s £1m Community Development Fund, which comes via their Strategic Reserve Fund, also provides grant assistance of up to 50 per cent of project costs. It supports a wide range of community projects for example community halls, play parks and football pitches.

According to OIC, nearly a third of the LEADER projects that have been approved in the current programme of funding also received Community Development Fund monies. One recent project to secure support from both funds was the upgrade of the Burray Community Hall.

Groups considering applying for funding, need to get in touch as soon as possible, as there are a limited number of LEADER funding rounds left in which projects will be able to gain approval and all funds need to be committed by March 2019.  The application process requires projects to be well thought through and worked up prior to submitting their final application, which does take time.

“The Community Development Fund and LEADER funds make a huge difference to people in Orkney, supporting projects across the county that change lives, no matter how big or small that project is,” said Harvey Johnston, civic leader of Orkney Islands Council.

“I’d encourage any community groups who’ve got a project in mind to get their skates on and get in touch with our funding teams at the Council.”

For further information on LEADER, you can contact amy.esslemont@orkney.gov.uk or phone (01856) 873535 ext. 2855. For information on the Community Development Fund, you can contact Jordan Low by calling on ext. 2538 or by e-mail on jordan.low@orkney.gov.uk.