1- Freedom of Renfrewshire recipient Corinne Hutton

Five groups will share more than £47,000 following successful applications to Renfrewshire Council’s Community Empowerment Fund.

The £1.5milllion fund aims to empower local organisations to takeover community assets and helps to fund the creation of business plans, as well as the initial investment to ensure buildings are fit for purpose.

Councillors approved funding for five organisations, including:

  • £8,500 for local charity Finding Your Feet to carry out a feasibility study into the creation of a charity hub which would give the charity a permanent home in Renfrewshire;
  • £9,450 for Erskine Music and Media to investigate the development of an activity hub within Erskine Sports Centre;
  • £9,650 to Spateston Tenants and Residents Association to develop a business plan in partnership with Klas Care for a community hub at the former Spateston Nursery;
  • £9,625 for national disability organisation Values into Action Scotland to create a business case for a new HQ at the old nursery site on Mill Street in Linwood.
  • £10,000 to Friends of Howwood Park to carry out surveys and feasibility work on the pavilion in Howwood Park following a number of upgrades to park already.

Council officers will continue to work with each organisation to assist in the development of their plans moving forward.

Corinne Hutton, Founder of Finding Your Feet, said: “”The feasibility study is the first step towards a project we believe could be truly ground-breaking for the third sector in the area.

“Our goal is to have a charity hub where Finding Your Feet and the amputees we support can gather, as well as providing space to other local charities who are committed to helping the community.

“The fact that Renfrewshire Council are backing the idea in its initial stages is extremely encouraging, and only the latest in a series of meaningful gestures we have received since basing ourselves in Paisley.

“We’re here for the local community, and to know the local community is here for us too is a great motivation.”

The £1.5million fund supports community asset transfers by providing up-front investment in the condition of assets prior to transfer, while putting the community at the heart of the design, delivery and sustainability of the projects.

Councillor Marie McGurk, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Communities, Housing and Planning Policy Board, said: “It’s great to see so many local organisations applying successfully to the Community Empowerment Fund and looking to take control of buildings in the local area.

“We want to empower our communities wherever we can, and this fund gives groups the financial support they need to create business plans – with the aim of taking over and then managing an asset.

“It also allows them to invest in the property to ensure it’s a viable proposition for both themselves and the council.

“I’d encourage anyone who has an idea to get in touch with us and we’ll support them to create an application.”

For more information, visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/CommunityEmpowermentFund.