The Scottish executive has unveiled £18m of funding for
regenerating the country’s most deprived communities, but voluntary
and community organisations will only be allowed to bid for a share
of the cash if they are commercially competitive.
The executive wants voluntary organisations to become
“self-sufficient businesses”, where they are able to make a profit
that will be reinvested back into the communities.
Priority will be given to projects for and run by young
It hopes to help 500 organisations develop their services over a
two-year period with an emphasis on allowing the sector to gain
equal access to service delivery contracts.
The communities minister Margaret Curran said: “This is not about
handouts for failing businesses, or giving one sector preference
over another. It’s about laying out a structure of support to drive
forward progress and supporting those who really deliver on the
The funding will be managed by a new Social Economy Unit, located
in the executive’s regeneration agency Communities Scotland. It is
expected to be available from October.
It includes a £12m fund that will allocate cash to
medium-sized and large organisations. Around 70 per cent of this
fund will go to capital investment projects, which will allow
organisations to access alternative sources of funding.
Another £4m fund will allow smaller, community-focused
organisations to develop their services. It will also provide
grants of up to £5,000 to enable individual entrepreneurs to
turn ideas into live projects.
An additional £1m has also been allocated for training and
£1m to fund a support programme.
A spokesperson for the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations
said: “The announcement is good news for Scotland’s communities
because the funding means the sector should find itself in an
enhanced position when competing with for-profit organisations to
deliver public services.”
– Futurebuilders Scotland report from www.communitiescotland.gov.uk