Assynt Community Council, Community Care Assynt, Connect Assynt and Assynt Development Trust working together
The Supporting Communities Fund – Funding to support a community response to Covid-19
On 18th March, the Scottish Government announced an investment of £350 million to support local communities and households across Scotland in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic. These funds include the Supporting Communities Fund which has been established with an initial £10 million investment and is being targeted through community anchor organisations. Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) is distributing the funds on behalf of the Scottish Government to anchor organisations within the Highlands and Islands. HIE is utilising a targeted approach and worked closely with partners and communities to identify key anchor organisations that have the ability to deliver and distribute funds to grass roots level.
On 24th March HIE approached Assynt Development Trust to see if the Trust was willing to act as Assynt’s community anchor organisation for this purpose, and to invite the Trust to develop an application to the fund to support the Assynt community. Working together with Assynt Community Council (ACC), Community Care Assynt (CCA) and Connect Assynt (CA), an expression of interest was submitted on 29th March. There were further discussions in the two weeks following this between the organisations and the final costed application was submitted to HIE on 16th April. On 29th April HIE informed ADT that the application for £29,008 had been accepted in full, and the first payment of £14,504 (half the grant amount) was received by ADT on 1st May. The grant is for the period 20th April 2020 to 31st July 2020 although the fund may be extended beyond this date and further funding made available.
The Fund includes provision of the following activities and outputs across Assynt:
- Assessing and managing risk and provision of information resources
- Hot daily meal deliveries to isolated and high risk individuals
- Local food bank establishment and operation
- Provision of consumables and equipment including PPE
- Contingency fund including support to enable working with other groups
- Supplies collection from outside Assynt
ACC and CCA initiated the Assynt response to the threat of Covid-19, and both bodies are now working alongside ADT to develop and take forward the SCF project.
The task is now to develop an action plan detailing how and who to deliver these outputs and carry out these activities. The role of the ADT is to act as the community anchor organisation with the legal powers to receive the funding which it can then distribute, and to be accountable to the Scottish Government for the expenditure. The second half of the grant will be paid to ADT by HIE subject to satisfactory review of the interim report of activities and outcomes during the period to mid June. If any funds remain unspent by the end of the grant period they will need to be returned to HIE and the Scottish Government.
There will be a phasing of activities to reflect the pressures and needs of people in Assynt, the changing nature of the threat posed by Covid-19, and how this impacts on the health and wellbeing of our community. The funding available can only address some of the impact of Covid-19 and the Assynt Resilience Group is planning to set out how the aimed for outcomes will be achieved over the next three months.
It is realised that there may be other needs in Assynt that could be funded so we would ask individuals and organisations to contact us if they know of any needs that could be addressed by this funding. Please come forward and make yourself known!
The actual delivery of these activities can be undertaken by a range of other community groups and bodies with ADT passing on the necessary funds to enable these to happen. It will generally be possible to move funds and expenditure from one project to another, although we need to keep HIE informed if we do this. It is our aim to work with people in Assynt already supporting and assisting neighbours and others. This could be by reimbursing them for travel or associated costs, or the provision of items of equipment or aids to improve quality of life of families and others on their own, experiencing the deprivations of social isolation. We cannot use these funds to provide a direct income, but we can support a food bank, the delivery of hot meals and other necessities.
If there are any queries about the Assynt Resilience Group and the Assynt Supporting Communities Fund, then please contact us on our emails below: