Communities go into the ‘Dragons Den’ for local projects

Bridge bid one of 30 seeking a share of £60,000 pot
Bridge bid one of 30 seeking a share of £60,000 pot this month

A COMMUNITY FUNDING initiative has proven so popular that it has had to be split into two sessions over the next two months.

The Participatory Budgeting Project ‘Money for Moray’ uses Moray Council and Scottish Government funding, and invited local groups to bid for their project using a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style presentation.

Following their initial application, groups who pass an initial eligibility criteria are invited to make a two-minute presentation, with those taking part voting for the bids that they believe are the most deserving.

An initial sum of £60,000 was allocated to the first session taking place in Rothes later this month, with a second £60,000 being opened up later in the year.

However, such was the volume of eligible applications, the local authority has decided to hold the session in Rothes on May 28 and a further session on June 26 – with each session seeing groups bidding for a share of separate £60,000 pots.

Yesterday the council revealed that a total value of £317,600 had been applied for against the initial £60,000 – although around 20 applications were rejected immediately as they did not meet the required criteria. Because of the volume of eligible bids, it was decided to use the second cash pot, which had been planned for a second round in the Autumn, immediately.

At each of the presentation sessions, 30 community groups will now outline their projects. All participants will be asked to remain for the duration of all presentations, to ensure that the voting system gives every group an equal opportunity of success.

Among the groups bidding for funding is the Lossiemouth Community Development Trust, who will make their pitch at the May 28 session in Rothes. A spokesman for the group said: “It was clear to us from the outset that this was a very fair and equitable method of distributing the funding provided by the Scottish Government and Moray Council.

“We were delighted to be informed that our bid met the criteria and we have been given a slot in which to pitch for funding to pay towards legal fees to establish once and for all the ownership of the iconic Seatown Bridge over the River Lossie.

“Only when that is achieved can our community move forward with plans to take control of the bridge and preserve it for future generations.  Now we hope to convince other bidders that our cause is a worthy one and we are very much looking forward to the challenge.”