Hundreds of projects across Scotland are sharing £1m to help improve and promote their communities.

In excess of 200 grants from the Scotland Loves Local Fund will benefit 300 towns across the country to help them recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Funded by the Scottish Government, they aim to support small-scale improvements to enhance places while helping motivate people to shop, eat and relax in their community while also promoting places and ensuring public safety.

As well as providing safe shopping information, grants have been awarded to support schemes including local marketing campaigns, street enhancements, community gardens and work to support local producers.

In the Scottish Borders, Coldstream Gateway Association has received £2,000 to replace its current diesel buggy with an electric one which will be used for everything from watering plants to acting as Santa’s sleigh, while in Bishopbriggs, East Dunbartonshire, a residents’ group is receiving £3,500 for an enhancement scheme that will include the installation of “blether benches” to encourage conversation.

Scotland’s Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell said: “I am pleased to see our £1 million Scotland Loves Local Fund has reached hundreds of community projects across Scotland.

“This is a unique chance for our local communities to improve towns and promote them as better places to live – an opportunity to use the funding to unlock some brilliant creativity. This fund will empower communities by supporting local delivery of projects, to help our towns to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Over the festive season and beyond, I want to encourage our communities to ‘love local’ and remind everyone that money spent locally is more likely to stay in the local economy and support local jobs. We all have a part to play in Scotland’s economic recovery and can do so, whilst we look out for one another and follow the FACTS guidance.”

The fund is being administered by Scotland’s Towns Partnership as part of its work to spearhead the Scotland Loves Local campaign, which is leading the charge for people to think local first for all of their needs to help businesses through the pandemic.

Phil Prentice, Chief Officer of Scotland’s Towns Partnership, said: “This funding will bring some brilliant projects to life – making a real difference in communities across Scotland.

“Whether by supporting local businesses in person or online, money that’s spent locally stays local for longer. Each of these schemes will provide another reason for people to embrace local life, supporting the shops, services and attractions around them to create a safe, vibrant and attractive future.

“We hope these grants will be a great Christmas present to all those benefiting as we encourage everyone to safely support their local businesses however they can during the critical festive shopping period.”

People are being encouraged to follow all safety advice when out shopping and to show kindness to shop workers.

For more information about getting involved with the Scotland Loves Local campaign, go to www.lovelocal.scot.

Note: a list of all funded projects can be accessed here.

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