Grassroots groups celebrate cash boost for COVID response

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Grassroots volunteer groups which swung into action in the wake of coronavirus look set to get a cash boost.

Thousands of pounds from the Scottish Government is on its way via the Highlands and Islands Enterprise to eight local ‘community anchor’ organisations.

One of those is Oban Communities Trust, which owns and runs The Rockfield Centre, is to receive a fund of £33,672 to share out.

Beneficiaries include Hope Kitchen, North Argyll Carers and Oban Rotary. Others include groups representing Kerrera, Seil and Easdale, Dalavich and Kilchrenan, Dunbeg, Connel and Taynuilt.

The aim is to help dozens of smaller local groups who stepped up to the plate as the crisis hit, from dishing up meals, organising groceries and prescriptions, to providing support to the vulnerable in their areas.

Mull & Iona Community Trust will receive £50,000 to share out and £35,000 is going to Appin Community Development Trust to distribute.

A further £17,000 is heading to Colonsay Community Development Company; £5,009 to Dalvich Improvement Group and £10,000 to Development Coll.

The Isle of Luing Community Trust will receive £5,000 and £4,250 to Kilninver and Kimelford Community Trust.

Lyn Connelly, of The Rockfield Centre, celebrated the win for the Oban area.

She said: ‘The response from Oban and the wider community during this crisis has been and continues to be amazing.

‘The Rockfield Centre are delighted to be playing our part by getting this fund out to the community groups and organisations doing vital work across the area.’

Moray Finch, general manager of Mull and Iona Community Trust, said volunteers and groups had shown inspirational commitment.

‘This fund will, I hope, provide a sense that their efforts are recognised and valued not just on the islands but throughout local and national government.’

Peter McDonald, senior development manager with HIE, said Oban Communities Trust and local community groups had helped deliver lifeline help to the most vulnerable among the 16,000 residents in the greater Oban area.

‘HIE is distributing the Supporting Communities Fund on behalf of the Scottish Government. It’ll help anchor groups to co-ordinate and deliver their responses over the coming weeks and months,’ said Mr McDonald.

The government is making an initial £10 million available to community anchor organisations with a further £10 million pledged.

Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell said the community response to COVID-19 had made a ‘huge difference’.

‘This inspiring work is proving essential to our nation’s resilience. We are working fast to get that support to where it is needed most.’