Scottish Borders Council agrees proposals for recovery fund

Scottish Borders Council has approved proposals for the administration of the Build Back a Better Borders Recovery Fund which was agreed within the council’s Financial Plan on March 19.

The £500,000 fund has been established as part of the council’s response and recovery efforts relating to the Covid-19 pandemic. The intention is to provide support for initiatives, projects or events that will ‘re-boot’ or ‘kick start’ activities relating to sport, culture, volunteering or tackling environment and climate change issues with the overall aim of strengthening community capacity, resilience and engagement.

It will also be open to events and projects that recognise the significant contribution made by individuals and groups throughout the pandemic by way of increased volunteer activity and service to their communities.

The fund will be available for one-off projects and will be divided between the five localities of Berwickshire, Cheviot, Eildon, Teviot & Liddesdale and Tweeddale on the basis of an 80%/20% split of population and the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD).

This is in acknowledgement of recent research findings that show that areas with a higher percentage of residents in need are known to have been disproportionally impacted by Covid-19, and the risk of falling into poverty and extreme poverty is considerably higher for those who are already vulnerable.

Co-ordination of the fund and assessment of applications will be done by the council’s communities & partnership team. Applications will then be passed to the relevant Area Partnership for decision making.

The fund will be open from 1 June 2021 to 31 May 2022 and be available to both constituted groups (maximum £15k) and non-constituted groups (maximum £5k, with payment through an umbrella body). A fast track process will also be available for applications of up to £1.5k. Funding will be allocated on a one-off basis only.

Applications must be for new initiatives that aim to support the region’s recovery from the pandemic. These should be accessible to all within the community and be provided free of charge.

They will also need to demonstrate how they will meet at least one of the following outcomes: improved access to sport; improved access to arts and culture; increased volunteering capacity; improved or enhanced community capacity, resilience and engagement; support for local environment enhanced in a sustainable way; greater intergenerational work.

Councillor Robin Tatler, SBC’s executive member for community development and localities, said: “The impact of Covid-19 on communities and local community groups within the Borders cannot be underestimated, but the Build Back a Better Borders Recovery fund is strong evidence of our commitment to doing all we can to work together and support the recovery effort.

“I would encourage local community groups to start thinking about how they could potentially benefit from the fund so they can get their applications in once it opens. There is considerable scope for a range of ideas and initiatives to be put forward and we will be keen to support as many as we can that meet the required criteria.”

More information about the application process and eligibility criteria will be available from the council’s website and social media channels ahead of the fund opening in June.

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