The Scottish Government, supported by the European Social Fund (ESF), has launched a £18.9 million Aspiring Communities Fund to support the most disadvantaged communities across Scotland to tackle poverty and inequality. This challenge fund is expected to run from January 2017 to December 2018. The aim of this funding is to strengthen communities, increase levels of economic activity, stimulate inclusive growth, and support local service provision and inclusion by:
- Enabling communities to design and establish new or enhanced services addressing poverty and inequalities;
- Supporting new staff posts within community organisations to increase levels of economic activity, local service provision and inclusion, and enhance community resilience; and
- Accelerating the implementation of projects and services delivering longer lasting community-led solutions.
The fund will be open to applications from community bodies, including community anchor organisations, third sector and other community organisations that are established to promote or improve the interests of communities in an area. A requirement for applicants to clearly demonstrate alignment with local authority and Community Planning Partnership plans will be fundamental.
The Scottish Government will be holding several stakeholder events in a number of locations throughout Scotland in February 2017 to provide further information to coincide with launch of the fund. The dates and venues for these events will be published on the Scottish Government website.