£8.6m community funding to be announced in Inverness

The People and Communities Fund gives cash to projects including training, activities for young people and healthy eating initiatives.

Housing Minister Kevin Stewart will announce the funding at the Kyle of Sutherland Development Trust, which will be one of the first to benefit.

Mr Stewart said: “Projects like the Kyle of Sutherland Development Trust, focused on strengthening and uniting the local community through a range of activities, are a great example of strong partnerships working together.

“Supporting community-led projects that put people first and directly tackle poverty and inequality is at the heart of what we do.

“I’m delighted this fund will help hundreds of projects across Scotland and provide positive impacts for people living in poverty.”

The Kyle of Sutherland Development Trust, covering the districts of Ardgay and Creich, runs a Keep Active Together scheme.

The project officer Beverley Hill welcomed the boost to her organisation.

She said: “The funding from the Scottish Government will allow the Trust to continue to deliver a wide range of activities, to increase physical health and  mental well-being, as well as promote social inclusion and overcome isolation in our remote rural community.”

The People and Communities Fund is part of the Scottish Government’s £20m Empowering Communities Fund, which helps to ensure communities have a stronger voice in the decisions that matter to them.

The People and Communities Fund, Strengthening Communities Programmes and the Community Choices Fund are the three main programmes supporting this overarching fund.

The range of people who will benefit is equally diverse and includes families, lone parents, children, people suffering from a range of health issues and disabilities, older people, ethnic minorities and rural or fragile communities.

Kyle of Sutherland Development Trust development manager Helen Houston said the group was “chuffed” the minister had chosen to make his announcement with them.

She said: “We’re very proud to have someone as senior as Kevin Stewart acknowledging the work we’re doing here.

“The money will go to our Keep Active Together scheme, where we hold weekly activities for everyone to join in.

“Sometimes it’s dancing, sometimes it’s badminton or more family-based activities. We’ve also done a wheelchair marathon.

“Our work is really important for the regeneration of the community and, if we didn’t do it, people just wouldn’t have access to these things.”