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Launch of Council Community Challenge Fund

3rd January 2013

Photograph of Launch of Council Community Challenge Fund

In a move aimed at encouraging community empowerment, The Highland Council today (Thursday 3rd January2 013) launched its new Community Challenge Fund, which will provide £1 million each year of recurring spending for community projects exploring new ways of delivering services at a local level.

Community councils, community groups and establish social enterprises are invited to express their interest via a one-page form which is available from the home page of the Councilís web site: www.highland.gov.uk

The Council is open to ideas on how groups could:-

1. Deliver the same level of Council Service at a lower cost and be sustainable going forward or
2. Provide a higher level of Council service for the same cost and be sustainable going forward or
3. Help to reduce the Councilís costs for maintaining premises, by taking on the maintenance and running costs going forward with one-off fund contribution.

No limits on the amount available for each project from the £1 million are set at this stage. Attracting funding from other sources could support an idea but it is not a requirement.

There are three deadlines for expressions of interest, namely 1 February; 1 May and 1 September.

Initially the money will be transferred from the Councilís General Fund (currently standing at £23.5 million). Thereafter the maintenance and replenishment of the Fund will be dependent on the level of savings generated from projects and will be considered as part of the Councilís annual budget process.

A Community Challenge Fund Application Panel will consider the views of the officer groups and make recommendations to the Council or the Finance, Housing and Resources Committee for property-related matters.

The Panel will comprise the Leader, Depute Leader, Convener and the relevant committee chairman, as well as the Leader of the Opposition and one other Opposition member.

Panel Chairman is Councillor David Alston, Depute Leader of the Council. He said: ďThe Community Challenge Fund takes forward our very clear commitment to local communities. We believe that they are best placed to understand local needs and many have ideas about how services can be better delivered under local control. We are now providing communities with the opportunity to make these ideas a reality Ė and we are backing our commitment with a substantial budget. I know that the response will demonstrate the creativity and commitment of community organisations across the Highlands.Ē

For more information about the fund, please visit: http://www.highland.gov.uk/livinghere/communitiesandorganisations/communitychallengefund.htm

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