Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson is calling on local people to take advantage of the opportunities to make a difference in their communities in the year ahead.
With Renfrewshire’s new Local Partnerships giving local people a louder voice than ever in their community, and a number of brand new funds being launched to invest in community ideas and projects, the new year could transformational for local communities in the year ahead.
Councillor Nicolson said: “We’ve listened to people telling us what they think should happen in their community and we want to tap into the wealth of knowledge that local people possess.
“We’re constantly looking at ways to better support local groups to develop their ideas which will benefit their communities which is why we’ve made it easier for people to access help from the council when they have an idea they want to progress.
“We’ve also allocated millions through a variety of funds which will support a range of local projects and bring positive change to our local communities.
“We want to help you bring your ideas to reality so why not get in touch?”
A £1.5million investment has been made to establish a Community Empowerment Fund which 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.
The fund is designed to assist local people to develop a Business Plan for the takeover of the asset, support the person or group to have the skills and capacity to manage and develop it, or provide the upfront capital investment in an asset.
A significant £1.87million has been invested in a Green Spaces, Parks and Play Areas and Villages Investment Fund, with £370,000 allocated for the Village Investment Fund specifically.
Local community groups and volunteers have the opportunity to apply for funding and support to improve underused or neglected green spaces and take forward projects which will strengthen the character, identity and heritage of their local community.
This could include upgrading or developing play areas or equipment, opening up underused open spaces to create leisure or recreation opportunities, or creating heritage trails or walks which highlight local points of interest.
Councillor Nicolson added: “Our green spaces are so important to our local communities. It’s where you play as young child and it’s where you take your sons, daughters and grandchildren when the time comes.
“The same applies to our community centres or football pitches and we know that local people will have ideas on how to improve them. This is the reason these funds are now in place and it’s important that local people take advantage of them.”
Throughout 2018, Renfrewshire communities showed their desire to make the area a brighter, more attractive place to live, work and visit.
More than 3500 volunteers have taken part in community litter picks as part of the successful Team Up to Clean Up campaign, which has also seen a £2.5million investment in behind the scenes work such as road sweeping and drain clearing.
Our new Local Partnerships were also formed following a consultation period in which hundreds of local people helped shape the direction of the former Local Area Committees.
Members will have the opportunity to drive the direction of the meetings and focus on the key issues that matter to local people. The first meetings of the partnerships are set to take place later this month and new members are still welcome to join.
For more information on the support that the council can offer community groups or volunteers, visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/communityempowerment.