AFTER much criticism, smaller community groups are now able to benefit from the Whitelee fund.
Previously, the level of grants from the windfarm was set at £20,000 (with 10 per cent match funding) meaning many smaller groups were priced out.
Now, funding will spread further and wider thanks to £10,000 being dedicated to smaller community groups. .
The Whitelee fund, which will last for the lifetime of the windfarm, delivers around £140,000 annually for community groups, activities and initiatives.
The annual sum is paid by Scottish Power Renewables to East Renfrewshire Council .
Groups with the five kilometre priority zone surrounding the windfarm, of Eaglesham and Waterfoot, will now be able to apply and benefit.
The decision was made at a cabinet meeting for the Eaglesham and Waterfoot community development trust to manage the grants. Jim Maclean, who sits on the Whitelee Panel and is involved with both E+WCDT and the local community council is pleased with the progress.
He told The Extra: “Previously it felt like the council had hijacked the windfarm fund but now everybody can benefit.
“Most groups do not need £20,000 so it is much more practical that these groups are no longer excluded from the benefits.
“The small projects fund of £10,000 will help many groups in our community”.
A council spokesman said: “This decision is largely in response to some criticism that the main fund was set at too high a level — circa £20,000 — and was not being responsive to local needs for small grants”.
“The fund will be advertised and managed by the trust although the council will retain and release the money”.
Among its previous projects, the fund has already contributed £20,000 towards a new playpark in Eaglesham.
Also, age concern have been granted funds for a new mini-bus and Eaglesham Parish Church for renovations to mid-hall.
For information about obtaining grant funding, visit www.ewcdt.co.uk.