Last night there was a lot on the agendas of both the Subbies and Westies Community Council meetings at Nairn Academy. Towards the end of the meeting there was discussion of the current situation concerning town centre regeneration plans.
Michael Green was optimistic and mentioned Highland Council official Scott Delgarno's ongoing role. Graham Kerr of the Westies indicated all was well too from a NICE perspective. There was no mention of a "bolt out of the blue" funding scheme that is now doing the rounds of town centre regeneration players having digitally materialised this morning via Council sources after a being launched by the Scottish Government yesterday
After being alerted by one of our correspondents we have had a wee browse of the information on the Scottish Government Website. There are conditions attached of course but under a heading "How much is available":
"£1.7 million capital funding is available from August 2015 and must be committed by March 2016. Eligible community groups can bid for grants from £20k to a maximum £150k per capital project. Depending on volume and quality of applications, we may also consider offering amounts out-with these limits, by exception."
Time for any community group that might consider itself eligible to quickly go and read the information on the Scottish Government's website! More information here for those interested - Town Centre Communities Capital Fund - all revealed in the Word documents linked in the sidebar on that page.
You'll have to be quick though the deadline for applications is the 29th of September. The sudden appearance of this funding has prompted one of our regular correspondents to have a wee gurn:
"There really seems to be no sensible arrangement for such funding. It seems to be one extreme or the other. Either you get an appallingly complicated, elaborate and laborious process such as the LEADER scheme involving Steering Groups, Local Action Plans and Expressions of Interest which is very daunting to people and takes months, if not years; or you get this rabbit-out-of-hat stuff saying 'bid within four weeks' (just like the Streetscape was a last-minute off the shelf wheeze, and arguably the slide/playpark equipment was also a short-notice "lets's blow some leftover money" plan)."
"This is a crazy way to administer a grant scheme: announce it on 25 August, and expect applications by 29 September! Seems to be typical of Government and Council schemes: short notice invitations, likely kneejerk responses, no time for sensible planning, no opportunity to develop project plans."
Points worthy of serious reflection but important to get the information out there now to organisations in the community who just might have the bare bones of something that would earn Nairn a 20-150K slice of the action.