MSP Tom Arthur has urged projects in Renfrewshire South to apply for the newly launched Scotland Loves Local Fund.

The Scotland Loves Local Fund aims to encourage people to think local first, and support businesses and enterprises in their community. The fund will provide match funding of between £5,000 and £25,000 for projects run by groups like town centre partnerships, chambers of commerce or community and charity trusts.

Eligible projects could include community shops, marketing and digital schemes, refurbishment of vacant or derelict sites, making minor adaptations to improve the local environment or creating events and performance spaces.

Tom Arthur, who is the Scottish Government Minister for Community Wealth, said: “The Scotland Loves Local Fund has been launched by the SNP Scottish Government as a way to help our town centres such as Johnstone and Barrhead recover from the devastating impact of the pandemic.

“Renfrewshire South has a number of fantastic local community projects to stimulate growth and footfall into the area and this funding will allow them to continue to make our town centres a more vibrant place and stimulate the local economy.

“Not only is the funding important but when people shop locally and support local businesses it also boosts the economy here and ensure that money spent in the local area stays in the local area.

“I would urge local projects to apply for the Scotland Loves Local Fund and encourage people in Renfrewshire South to continue to support local business at every opportunity.”

Scotland’s Towns Partnership Chief Officer Phil Prentice said: “Over the coming years, this significant commitment from the Scottish Government will make a real difference – empowering communities to take action that will make their areas fairer, greener and more successful. We are delighted to be working with ministers to deliver this.

“This funding will unlock the great potential of our towns and neighbourhoods, allowing them not just to recover from the impact of Covid-19, but to create a stronger, more sustainable future which has localism at its heart. I would encourage interested organisations across Scotland to get their applications in.”

Neighbouring MSP for Renfrewshire North and West, Natalie Don, also encouraged her constituents to apply, she said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has been very challenging for many businesses across Renfrewshire North and West which were not able to operate or required to implement restrictions to reduce the risk of the virus spreading.

“As we recover with protective restrictions having further eased on Monday, I am pleased that the SNP Government is making money available via the Scotland Loves Local Fund to invest in our communities to encourage greater footfall into our town and village centres and help stimulate growth in the local economy.

“I strongly encourage eligible projects to apply for funding and urge people in Renfrewshire to continue supporting our local businesses at every opportunity.”

Applications for funding opened on 9th August and will close at 5pm on Friday 1st October. Funding for projects worth between £5,000 and £25,000 will come from the £2 million committed to the Scotland Loves Local Fund for this financial year.

Around 100 projects are likely to receive funding this year, with a further call for applications next year. Funding for projects in areas with a higher level of deprivation may be prioritised.

Main photo: Scotland’s Towns Partnership Chief Officer Phil Prentice (left) and Community Wealth Minister Tom Arthur at the fund launch in Milngavie. Image Credit: Scotland’s Town Centre Recovery Campaign / Scotland Loves Local