First Community Empowerment funds being considered

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Converting the former Johnstone Police Station into a health and wellbeing hub is one of the first projects applying for support from a new community fund being considered next week.

The £1.5million Community Empowerment fund, announced in March, is open to all community groups who want to take over ownership and running of a building or piece or land in their local area.
“We know there are so many people in our communities with innovative and imaginative ideas and we are excited to hear from them,” said Councillor Marie McGurk, Communities Housing and Planning Policy Board convener.
“This fund is open to all community groups and we want to hear from a diverse range of community voices, from those we have worked with previously to new groups who may be nurturing an idea and need help and support to get it off the ground.”
Councillors will examine the first round of applications at the Communities Housing and Planning Policy Board on Tuesday 21 August 2018.
Funding support can be put towards development of the business plan behind the idea or investment in the facilities to prepare them for community ownership.
Four applications were received for the first round of funding and have been assessed against the fund’s objectives including demonstrating the positive impact on local communities and involving the local community in the design and delivery of each project.
Councillors will next week be asked to consider accepting an application from local charity Active Communities, providing £10,000 funding for a feasibility study and development of the business case towards taking ownership of and transforming the former Johnstone Police Station into a community health hub.
The hub would also provide accommodation for KAIROS (Kind, Accepting, Inspiring, Renfrewshire’s Open Space), a new initiative supported by The Robertson Trust. Led by 15 local women, KAIROS offers free activities and support to Renfrewshire women, with a focus on tackling the social challenges they may face.
Plans for a cinema, arts venue and theatre at the former Arnott’s site being developed by Paisley Community Trust could also be boosted by £10,000 to progress its business case.
West End Growing Grounds Association are recommended to receive £20,000 towards relocation of raised beds and polytunnels to Underwood Road, while further assessment and development continue over a planned community garden project for Carbrook Street.
Linwood Community Development Trust received one of Renfrewshire’s largest ever land asset transfers and their plans to upgrade the Janitor’s House at the former Clippens School into a nursery are also recommended for further assessment and development.
Councillor McGurk added: “It is clear from the quality of initial applications that there are passionate people across Renfrewshire keen to lead on ambitious projects of real benefit to their communities and our fund is there to support these groups and realise their innovative ideas.
“We will consider every application in full and work closely with applicants towards achieving their goals. I would encourage all community groups to get in touch with us and find out more about all the available support on offer.
“This fund is one of a series of key investments in our communities, and we also be rolling out additional funds for our villages and for green spaces later this year.
“It is all part of our commitment to give communities a greater say and control than ever before over local decision making, empowering them to shape the future success of their towns and villages.”
The next deadline for Community Empowerment Fund applications is Friday 14 September.
To find out more, visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/CommunityEmpowermentFund, call 0141 618 7408 or email communityplanning@renfrewshire.gov.uk.
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